Thursday, March 28, 2013

Solay Bistro

Lets say you had 2 good meals – One, your favorite aunt who is a kick-ass cook invited you to try one of her new recipes. And two – you went to some good Italian eatery for dinner. Both might have had good food. But the first meal also had an unpretentious, homey and welcoming feeling. Something that is very hard to find these days- with all the chain restaurants in business. But that’s exactly how I felt at Solay Bistro.

I was searching for some new unique eats and I found this listed as “Somalian” cuisine. I was pretty excited to try new food! First of all – its in the corner of a strip mall…so I was little hesitant while entering. But to my relief, it had a very simple and clean d├ęcor. Then a lady welcomed us who we later found out is the owner as well as the cook too. The menu is a combination of Ethiopian + Indian +Mediterranean+ Arabic (sounding?) dishes. The owner/ cook/ waitress/ awesome lady patiently explained to us the dishes and helped us finalize the order. 

For the appetizer, we had “Potato Cutlets”. Conceptually, this is very similar to Indian “Vada” or American “Hush Puppies” but taste wise, this is the “lightest” Potato appetizer I ever had in my life. I will crave for these whenever I get hungry for the next 6 months! Simple and Delicious! I did not care for chutney or sauce though.

We ordered 2 traditional Somali entrees – “Hilib Arii” (Goat meat) and “KK with Chicken”. Both were pretty good. KK came with lots of veggies – it was pretty close to Arabic while Goat meat was pretty close to Indian flavors. KK was served with “Anjeero” – traditional Somali naan/bread/pita. The awesome lady came to ask us about our dinner and we ended up chatting for 10 mins!

She explained to us about the origin of our dishes, told us about how she runs the restaurant etc etc. I really loved the way she connects to and cares about her customers. Actually, I must say she treats them as if they are guests who have been invited to  her house to try new dishes!

I would highly recommend this – for the experience. I am not going to say that food is “astonishing” – but the “meal” is!
Solay Bistro on Urbanspoon

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