While the rest of the world was out shopping for bargains on Black Friday, our party of four had a leisurely lunch at Solano Grill & Bar (1133 Solano Avenue in Albany). Because it was a work holiday for George’s wife, Lucy, she was able to join us as well.
Solano Grill & Bar is a lovely sit-down restaurant with white tablecloths, water glasses rather than plastic cups, and an elegant atmosphere. Sinatra and Christmas music played quietly in the background. Our maître d allowed us to choose whatever table we wanted, and our waiter immediately asked if we wanted water and bread. (Yes on both!) The bread is baked on the premises and served warm.
Although the grill features seafood and has an Asian influence, there is a wide range of food available. I ordered the chicken sandwich with spinach, pepperoncini, and bacon on a focaccia roll, which came with my choice of fries or a green salad. The sandwich was delicious and was the perfect size for lunch. My salad had cranberries and tomatoes and was tossed in a tasty vinaigrette. At $9 this was a very satisfying meal. I appreciated that the lunch menu had larger options as well, such as New Zealand king salmon with two sides and your choice of sauce for $16. And the sides were not just the standard green salad and potatoes. They included mustard green fried rice and mushroom succotash.
Dave ordered Mary’s fried chicken a la Solano, which came with Asian slaw and garlic mashed potatoes. (Note: the menu warns that the fried chicken takes 15 minutes, and indeed it did.) The chicken was good, but the mashed potatoes were too salty.
Lucy got the house specialty, which was fish and chips. I snatched a few fries, and they were good. Lucy seemed happy with her selection, but because she was still feeling full from the day before, she didn’t clean her plate.
George got the most interesting dish, the Solano Seafood fry—a platter of cod, calamari, shrimp, scallops, and lemon. I don’t mean that it had a lemon wedge on the side; there were slices of deep-fried lemon—a tangy taste treat. It came with homemade potato chips (called Yukon chips) and aioli, and the whole dish was only $10, which George dubbed “a bargain.”
The staff is attentive and friendly but not obtrusive. Our waiter checked on us and refilled our water without any hounding on my part.
The menu was quite extensive, with so many delicious-looking choices that I intend to return soon to try some of their other dishes. The wild mushroom ravioli with sage brown butter and pecorino looked enticing…