“Sol y Luna” (Sun & Moon) serves gourmet Mexican cuisine, specializing in Mexican-style tapas and tequilas. It is located in the heart of the Lakeview District, and it was my dinner spot on Thursday night. I enjoyed the company of two friends, Chuck and Kathy. They are awesome people and we had a wonderful time together.
The ambiance of “Sol y Luna” is quaint, casual and reminds me a restaurant in Spain. In my opinion, there is nothing Mexican about this place. The theme, decorations, and the waiters all reflect the Spanish culture. Even the idea of “tapas” originated in Spain. “Tapas” are appetizers or small plates.
I didn’t discover the outdoor patio until later in the night; I thought it was just another dining room. The feel and decor, of the patio, allowed me to feel like I was inside, yet outside. It’s hard to describe, but I enjoyed the elegant and authentic Spanish feel.
I arrived at “Sol y Luna” and my friends were waiting for me at a small quaint table, which was in the front window of the restaurant. It was a nice table located near the bar, and allowed us to see everyone as they walked or drove by. While sitting here, we ordered drinks. Chuck and Kathy had Corona beers, and I had the “Tamarind Margarita”. Tamarind is a fruit that is native to Africa and Asia, but is currently grown throughout Mexico and South America; it is unlike any fruit in the United States. Most importantly, this drink was relaxing, tasty, sophisticated and had somewhat of an exotic flavor.
Eventually, we moved to a larger table, in the back, for dinner. Our waitress was a woman from Venezuela, who knew the menu well and offered her opinions on what we should order. I’m glad she did that, because I had no idea where to start! For an appetizer we had the “Sol y Luna Sampler” which was a combination of plantain chips, nachos, sweet potato fries and homemade fresh guacamole. Can I just say “delicious” and “simple”! One of the reasons I really enjoyed the guacamole was because of its consistency. All of the chips were made in-house, and each chip complimented the guacamole well.
After we finished the appetizer, we decided to order our entrees. Kathy got the “Salmon Roulage” seared with sesame seeds with julianne cucumber and poblano sauce.
However, she didn’t like the “fishy taste” of this dish. So she sent it back and got the “Shrimp Cocktail”. The presentation was the first thing we noticed, once it arrived; it was served in a tall martini glass. At the bottom of the glass was lettuce, in the middle was a homemade cocktail sauce (reminded me of cocktail sauce and salsa), and the shrimp were on top and on the side of the glass. On the plate, surrounding the martini glass was a colorful array of nachos. Kathy really enjoyed the shrimp cocktail. I sampled this dish, and couldn’t resist the taste of the homemade cocktail sauce; it was unique and had somewhat of a sweet flavor. It was unlike any cocktail sauce that I’ve ever had.
Chuck had the “Beef Tenderloin Medallions” served with Chimichurri sauce and Yucca strings. He also got a side of the refried beans. He enjoyed this entree, but he really kept talking about how good those beans were.
I had the Jumbo shrimp “diabla”, chipotle pepper and grand marniere sauteed over roasted garlic sweet mashed potatoes. My initial reaction was, “This is too spicy”; however, I got used to the taste and started to enjoy it. It tasted and seemed like everything had been prepared earlier in the night, and the cooks just put everything together when it was time for the food to go out. Furthermore, I wasn’t crazy about this particular entree; it was satisfactory. But I will commend the cooks on presentation.
For those of us who are price-conscious, the appetizers range from $8-$10; tapas range from $10-$17.
Our experience at “Sol y Luna” was festive and fun! I enjoyed the company, conversation, and most of the food. This is a wonderful place to relax and catch up with friends. Also, don’t forget to checkout “Sol y Luna’s” special menu for “Birmingham Restaurant Week”!
One more thing, check this weeks Birmingham City Scene, for a special article about “Birmingham Restaurant Week”!