Sunday, September 10, 2017

Meals @ Solbar in Calistoga, CA

I recently stayed in Solage in Calistoga, CA. Solage is home to Solbar, a 1 Michelin star restaurant they have on site that serves high quality California cuisine.

I came here once before for lunch, but this time I had items from their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, I decided to cover everything I ate in one post.  So here's an overview of everything we ate.


Over two days, we ordered four different breakfast dishes from Solbar via room service.

1) smoked monterey salmon - “everything” golden bagel, pickled veggies bellweather farms, fromage blanc

The first thing I noticed was how much food there was.  I actually wasn't expecting too much, just at typical bagel with some cream cheese and salmon lox.  But as you can see on the right, it's *alot* of salmon lox.  They even threw in a hard boiled egg for good measure.  The pickled cucumber slices were delicious with some chili kick.  Overall, quite good and a good value.

2) morning in california fresh blue crab and avocado - open-face on a toasted english muffin, with ruby red grapefruit and mint

This was delicious.  The crab had a salty brininess to it.  Perfect combination with the avocado and English muffin.  Favorite breakfast item we tried.

3) three-seed sourdough french toast - with vanilla poached strawberries

When this came out, my first thought was "this is a lot of french toast".  I'd never had french toast with sourdough before.  Strawberries were delicious, overall quite good.

4) chia seed pudding - house made almond milk, tahitian vanilla crème fraiche, valrhona manjari 64% cacao, gipson’s honey, fresh berries, medjool dates

On the left you'll find a couscous asian salad with some pickled cucumber, which I believe was the same pickled cucumber that I had with the salmon lox above.  I loved the salad, the pickles with the couscous was a great combo.

On the right you'll find the chia seed pudding.  To my recollection, I have never tried chia before, so I can just assume that whatever flavor I tasted is simply chia flavor.  It reminded me a bit of oatmeal, having a "grain" type of taste to it.  A bit hard to judge because of the new flavor to me, but I will say it tasted very healthy to me.


Four of us had lunch at Solbar, so we grabbed four plates to share.  It's worth noting that the tacos/wraps below normally come in threes, but they were able to portion add an additional taco/wrap for us.

1) prosciutto e melone - summer melon, parma ham, chargrilled onions, shaved santa rosa feta, honey lavender vinaigrette

This dish reminded me of a salad we had at Ad Hoc.  Just like that dish, the melon was sous vided or vacuumed in some way to give it a translucent look.

Overall a refreshing salad.  I did find it interesting that the prosciutto was placed into the onion "rings" instead of being wrapped around the melon or sprinkled around the salad.  It sort of made it hard to mix slices of prosciutto with the melon.

2) spicy shrimp lettuce wraps - rice noodles, tamarind dressing, avocado, nam pla dipping sauce

This was my favorite item for lunch.  A lot of good flavors mixed together.  Really good.

3) yellowfin tuna sliders - with black garlic sauce and kohlrabi slaw on a pain au lait bread

The restaurant kindly cut these in half so everyone would get a half of a slider.  The tuna was cooked rare-ish, so it was definitely raw in the middle of the patty.  I'm not a fan of sashimi for burgers, so overall I thought this was pretty good, but not my favorite.  Others will probably enjoy it more than me.

4) crispy petrale sole tacos - sweet and sour cabbage, cilantro and spicy aioli on warm tortillas

Not much to say about this dish other than these were pretty good fish tacos.  The fish the flaky and not overcooked like you'd find at a lot of places.


We ate as a large group at Solbar, so we had a shortened menu compared to the normal one served at restaurant.  But all the items were from the main menu.

1) amuse bouche

First up, the table was given this amuse dish.  I remember cucumber, octopus, and togarashi as ingredients.  Overall quite tasty, with a bit of a spicy kick.

2A) charred spanish octopus - wildflower honey, yukon gold, niçoise olive

Overall a really good dish.  Octopus was cooked perfectly.  Underneath the large octopus chunk was a salad with olives, some nuts, and some greens, which I didn't get the ingredients of.  I'm not a fan of olives, so I didn't eat all of it.  But the fact I could even eat half of the salad was testament to the fact it was pretty good.

2B)  little gem rosaine, wild mustard, fennel - radish, gravenstein apple pistachio vinaigrette

My +1 got this little gem salad.  Of the few bites I tried, it seemed pretty good.

3A) black cod and venere rice - uni butter, squash, coconut-turmeric broth

This was delicious.  Fish was cooked perfectly, perfectly flaky, lots of flavors.  There were multiple types of squash in this dish.

3B) sautéed halibut and mussels - roasted corn nage, toybox tomato, shishitos

I'm not a big fan of "meaty" fish (halibut, salmon, tuna), but of the few bites of this dish I tasted, the fish was a bit flakier than what I'm used to with halibut.  The sauce was a cream and corn type of sauce from my recollection.   Overall quite good, although I enjoyed the cod a lot more.

Overall, I was really pleased with the food at Solbar.  It's clearly a notch above a number of other restaurants in the Napa area and highly recommend it.  The prices are also not that unreasonable compared to many places.

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