When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: SOL Cocina Location: 15323 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale Open: Since March of this year. Brunch started June 23. Eats: Baja-style Mexican Price Point: $11 to $30
SOL Cocina, executive chef Deborah Schneider's spacious "Baja-style" Mexican restaurant in the Scottsdale Quarter shopping complex, may have opened in March, but it wasn't until last weekend that it started serving up its new weekend brunch.
Served every from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, SOL's brunch menu features just over 10 dishes to choose from (think huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos, and a crab and shrimp cakes egg Benedict) along with weekend drink specials like mango mimosas and a margarita bar.
With dishes that range anywhere from $11 to $17.50, your first inclination may be to take a pass in lieu of cheaper Mexican fare found elsewhere in the Valley. But there's tasty brunch-time eats to be found here -- and with portion sizes that nearly rival SOL's ginormous hanging lamps, bringing a friend (or two) along can result in satisfaction for your taste buds as well as your wallet.
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You could start (and stop) with SOL's machaca wrap ahogado. Featuring lovely and well-seasoned shredded beef cooked with ancho chile, onion, cumin and oregano, Huevos Mexicanos, cheese, and refried black beans packed into a large flour tortilla and "drowned," or covered, in red salsa with pico de gallo and avocado, it delivers a wonderful mix of flavors with the delectable meat never getting lost due to too much of anything else. And because it's the size of a small football, this $12.50 dish could easily be shared by one, if not two, additional brunch buddies.
And although I would have enjoyed more of the mildly spicy tomatillo salsa on my SOL Chilaquiles Verde, this dish was still a winner. This plateful of crispy corn tortillas topped with the sauce in addition to Huevos Mexicanos, crema, cotixa cheese, and onions comes in a portion size more fit for a small family than a single diner. Bring some friends along and this $14.75 affair can be cut into halves (or thirds) with enough green left over for a stellar and spicy Bloody Mary. Bonus.
Service at SOL was friendly and helpful and its sprawling yet comfortable space makes for a pleasant spot to meet friends for brunch before taking on the rest of the afternoon.