The Sun Shines Anew on Solage Resort’s Solbar
There is no question that stunning Solage, an Auberge Resort, elevates Calistoga’s rustic vibe without compromising the town’s unofficial motto, ‘Relax…it’s Calistoga.’ In fact, Solage, with its geothermal pools, yoga and wellness studio, sumptuous spa, and bocce courts, has succeeded in amplifying the town maxim. Casually elegant studios and suites are sprinkled throughout the resort’s 22 beautifully and sustainably landscaped gardens, the center of which is the out- standing Michelin-rated restaurant Solbar. Always a popular and congenial gathering spot for both locals and visitors, Solbar’s recent stunning renovation further elevates its welcoming ambiance.
Long a signature aspect of the resort and the restaurant, the Solbar patio is favored for its twinkling string lights, flowing fountain, and leafy canopy. This urbane veranda has expanded toward the resort’s iconic swimming pool, offering more space for al fresco gatherings. New, plush furnishings, textiles, and rugs lend to the California-cool vibe, as do the weekly live music performances by local artists. Guests will also notice a redesigned pool deck with new chaise lounges and cabanas in which guests can enjoy private candle-lit dining with a special Solbar four-course tasting menu.
In concert with the new design, Solbar’s menu offerings have also been revamped. A new summer menu focuses on California and Napa seasonal ingredients, as does a new cocktail menu that features ‘sober curious,’ super food-infused selections. Chef Gustavo Rios oversees the kitchen; his elevated comfort food dishes celebrate bold flavors that reflect the vitality of the resort. His soulful cuisine is influenced by his Latin background, and his innovative methods showcase his experience with European techniques. Signature dishes include crispy petrale sole tacos, Nantucket Bay scallop green ceviche, and a Maine lobster roll on a home-baked brioche.
Solbar guests can also enjoy prix-fixe tasting menus that include wine pairings with top local and world-renowned wineries such as Chateau Montelena, Eisele Vineyard, and Knights Bridge. And for those seeking a bit of privacy, Solbar features ‘the Atrium,’ a private, glass-walled dining space within the restaurant’s interior.
Rios’ return to the Solbar kitchen is a homecoming of sorts. He initially served seven years in the kitchen, helping to put the restaurant on the map, before venturing to nearby Evangeline. “Solbar is home for me, and when this opportunity presented itself, it was an easy decision to return and re-establish the restaurant as one of the very best,” said Rios. “It is an honor to work with such an incredible team of culinary experts, and I am excited to get back into the kitchen that taught me so much about creating thoughtful dishes that bring guests and neighbors together at our table.”
SOLBAR FISH TACOS
- 1 head green cabbage sliced thin
- 1 head red cabbage sliced thin
- 2 whole canned chipotle peppers
- 1/2 – 1 cup vegetable oil (will vary depending on size of pan)
- Handful of cilantro, chopped
- 2 white onions sliced thin
- 1 lb of Petrale sole
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 2 limes
- 2 TB Olive Oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 6 soft corn tortillas
- 2 limes, quartered
INSTRUCTIONS: Slaw: Mix cabbages and onion together in a bowl with olive oil and salt. Set aside. Aioli: Blend mayonnaise and chipotle peppers in a food processor or blender and set aside Fish: Mix the cornmeal and flour in a bowl or ziplock bag. Soak the fish in buttermilk for an hour and then toss it in the flour/cornmeal mixture. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet until it reaches 350 degrees. Fry the fish in batches until golden brown being careful not crowd the pan. After frying, remove to plate and season with salt. Assembly: Heat up corn tortillas on the stove top, place cabbage first on the tortilla, add the aioli then the fried fish. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.
755 Silverado Trail N., Calistoga, CA 94515 707-226-0860 • solage.aubergeresorts.com
Article By: Fran Miller // Photos By: Alexander Rubin