High And Eating Right At Solo
By Andrea Samacicia/ email@example.com
At first sight, Solo is an enigma.
Its width—or lack thereof—creates
an optical illusion; first time visitors question just how
accommodating a venue that looks that cramped can be. Return
visitors have to remind themselves and their company not to
judge a book by its cover. Questions flood diners’ minds;
Is it a seafood joint? Or a steakhouse? A bar or a restaurant?
Maybe a place where Huntington’s young and hip gather
or a mature retreat?
In this case—and despite its name—Solo
is a bit of everything. It is a New American restaurant that
fuses just enough of the unordinary with the classic to excite
a seasoned foodie, while serving up dishes that cater to a
conservative eater. Chef Jeffrey Wang seems to have mastered
the art of leaving well enough alone as in the case of the
well-dressed Caesar Salad ($8), as well as the more elusive
art of enhancing the popular with innovative embellishments.
Solo’s menu juxtaposes traditional
favorites like Caesar Salad with an unusual and exotic sounding
Haricotvert and Yukon Potato Salad ($10) and it successfully
pairs eccentric frizzled leeks to the much beloved Crab Cakes
($12). To boot, owner Matt Friemann acknowledges his customers’
desire for comfortable settings with private and cushy pod-like
booths and comfort food. Each meal starts off with an array
of warm breads and creamy herbed butter.
A staple on the menu is the Grilled Double
Cut Australian Lamb ($30). Prepared rare as per Wang’s
suggestion, it is delectable. The meat is savory, and the
homemade gnocchi, seared wild forest mushrooms, port wine
lamb demi, and the haricotverts (which are found in quite
a few of Solo’s offerings) accentuate the meat.
The specials change weekly and they are not
to be underestimated. The Potato Crusted Salmon ($25) consisted
of a generous portion of perfectly cooked salmon doused in
sweet chive butter and sprinkled with fennel leek compote
that added a pleasant crunch to the soft fish.
Following the very welcome trend, another
special item, the Pan Seared NY Strip Loin ($36) is also comprised
of a substantial portion. Like the lamb, this meat was served
on the rare side, again as per Wang’s advice, and it
filled the vast majority of a plate so large that if it was
not occupied by this cut of meat, it would have been cumbersome.
It was accompanied by excellent porcini whipped potatoes and
brunello reduction. Both items are perhaps more widely known
by their street names; velvety mashed potatoes and a flavorful
Those who are too full from their indulgent
dinner or who are conscious of their caloric intake often
disregard desserts. To bypass dessert is a poor choice at
Solo as Sous Chef Jeffrey Katz crafts each one from scratch.
The Silky Vanilla Crème Brulee, Chocolate Caramel Tart,
and Peach Upside Down Cake ($9 each) are all rewarding choices
and well worth the calories.
Solo’s first floor dining room has
its own well stocked bar but it is the second floor lounge
that attracts the night life crowd. The two components are
kept isolated from each other but are somehow conscious of
one another. During a night out at the lounge, conversation
also turns to the restaurant and vice versa cementing the
amalgamation that is Solo.
Despite its fancy offerings and trendy look,
Solo is a place where even the most understated patron feels
welcome. Our server, Jon, a Cold Spring Harbor High School
graduate, knowledgably answered questions about the dishes.
Manager John shared Solo’s brief history—it was
established in May 2005—and a surprisingly young Friemann
interrupted his own dinner with his fiancée’s
family to chat.
On second glance, Solo remains an enigma.
I still don’t know exactly what haricotverts are, or
just how they managed to pack so much ambiance and, well,
space into such a seemingly tiny building, but that mystique
only stands to enhance Solo’s charm.
69 Wall Street
Cuisine: New American
Price Range: Moderately
Hours: Tue, Wed, Sun: 5p.m.
Thu, Fri, Sat: 5p.m. - 11p.m.