Address: 406 E. 64th Street, at 1st Ave.
Cuisine: American Nouveau
Scene: Upper Eastsiders
Hours: Dinner, Mon-Sun, 5:30pm-11pm; Lunch, Mon-Fri, 11am-3pm; Brunch, Sun 11am-3pm.
First Bite Impressions: Simply inconsistent
Don’t Miss Dish: Salt Cod and Gnocchi Ragout
Don’t Bother Dish: Bay Shrimp and
Chorizo Risotto, Proscuitto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
Price: Appetizers, $11; Entrees, $25.
Restaurant Girl Rates:
6 for food, 6 for atmosphere
Reservations: Accepted & recommended for prime-time.
Tucked into a quiet railroad-style nook on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, modestly emerges the modern American Solace. Unlike most restaurants that razzle dazzle us to garner attention, husband-and-wife duo, David & Mary Regueiro have instead set out to lull their “suburban” clientele.
The space is simple, perhaps to a fault: creamy leather banquettes wind their way around the edges of the dark wood beam-accented minimalistic dining room, all washed in a subdued glow. And then there’s the view to the back garden, which drastically contrasts with the all too grown-up interior. Beyond French doors leading out to a back garden, lay a flurry of Pellegrino-branded umbrellas that hover over your basic beer garden-type furniture, and left me wondering if Solace was in cahoots with the sparkling water brand. Unfortunately, it was raining so we were relinquished to the indoors, where we sat among grown-ups to dine on an eclectic menu that spanned the continents.
An eclectic hodgepodge of Italian, French, American and raw bar offerings, the menu is diverse and somewhat random: poached pacific coast oysters, an eggplant , goat cheese and tomato terrine, And of course, there are the standard-issued, featuring seared salmon, roasted chicken, sirloin and grilled fishes.
The menu is unequivocally & unfortunately, hit or miss. We landed on some well-executed dishes; a chunky tuna tartare finished with mango, chile, and a faintly sweet soy sauce; properly briny Rhode Island oysters, excellently matched with an inventive cucumber & apple mignonette. Better still, was a sea cod & gnocchi ragout – a truly transporting dish that jetted us off to Provence with an impeccably doughy gnocchi, bathed in a fresh bath of salty capers, olives and just-plucked san marzano tomatoes. Don’t get me wrong: there are some excellent dishes to be had, they’re just scattered amidst too many mediocre ones.
The bay shrimp in a chorizo risotto were outright fishy and its supposed lobster butter saucing untraceable. Then there was the wildly unremarkable & dried-out pork tenderloin, cloaked in an even drier prosciutto alongside overcooked mission figs. Warm apples sandwiched between a thick pastry sandwich disturbingly evoked visions of McDonald’s baked “apple pie” pocket- not in a good way.
Solace results in a simultaneously serene & yet dull dining experience with too few notables and not enough ambiance to constitute a dining draw. But if you live in the neighborhood and have gotten your hands on a babysitter, it’s nothing to turn your nose up at. Hey, the al fresco Sunday brunch is worthwhile. If nothing else, the pleasant resurfacing of Joseph Scalice, once March (most recently Nish’s) wine director, is a plesant & ironic one at a BYO. Still, it’s not bad for the ‘burbs.
Until we eat again,
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