Tuesday, December 21, 2010


For the second time this month the Food Junkies have been invited to dine at special events at the new restaurant Soleil. Before we start this write up, I wanted to be sure to thank Paula and Cat over at Crave Communications. They organized these two events and graciously included us on their lists. Thanks again, we enjoyed ourselves immensely! After having had the chance to sample some of what Soleil has to offer, we know just how fortunate we are! So what is Soleil (other than French for Sun)? It is the new sister restaurant for Oasis, which as any Austinite knows is the place to go and watch the sunset while listening to music and having a cocktail.

View From the Patio
Soleil shares the same panoramic view of Lake Travis as Oasis, and the sunset over Lake Travis is truly a sight to behold. I had not been to the Oasis in about eight years, so the new look took me by surprise. Both inside and out Soleil/Oasis has a very striking look. I could probably go on for a while about how the place looks but let's face it, what we are most interested in here is the food. The food is fine dining all the way around. Even the simplest of dishes are elevated to a much higher level. Take the appetizers:

We were given a very wide sampling of the appetizers offered. We'll start first with the bruschetta. There were several varieties offered, but my favorite was the taleggio and pears with proscuitto and arugula. The flavors were perfectly balanced with just enough sweetness from the pears to come through without overpowering the rest. The proscuitto added a nice compliment to all of the flavors going on as well. Another favorite was the mussels. Normally I'm not very big on mussels, clams or oysters. Some people really enjoy them, but they're just not my thing. After having had the Mussels Gratin at Soleil I can see where I was wrong. These come topped with croutons (the gratin) and a saffron sauce. The first thing you get is the nice crunch from the gratin. Then the very nice saffron sauce makes itself known, and last the mussels come through. They are perfectly baked- nice and tender, and their flavor comes through without being overpowered by the saffron sauce.

Osso Bucco
On our first trip out the entrees were simply brought out one to a table. It worked out well, and was a great way to get to know your fellow diners. It was hard to pick a favorite, but one of the more outstanding dishes was the Osso Bucco. The meat was perfectly tender and served with a tomato sauce, atop a helping of polenta. If you are a fan of Osso Bucco, give this one a try it will not disappoint. We were also treated to their fresh made pizzas. Personally, I have always preferred smaller artisan type pizzas like the ones served at Soleil. The crust is perfect on these, and perhaps because they are smaller it seems like the chef can pay more attention to the finer details. The result is a pizza with a perfect crust and well balanced flavors.

On our second trip out the entrees were served buffet style. All of the entrees were delicious, but the real standouts were the hangar steak and the rainbow trout. The steak is a beautiful dish to look at and perfectly tender. It is served with black olives and hot peppers. For those of you not comfortable with spicy food you might want to try something else, it packs quite a punch. The trout is absolutely perfect. The meat is tender and flaky, and has a nice mild flavor. It comes served with a brown butter-pine nut sauce. Chef George called the brown butter sauce, the "love." I have to agree, the love really comes through on that butter sauce. Nicely done Chef!


We were also given a very wide sampling of the dessert menu. We sampled the Key Lime Pie, Tiramisu and the Turtle Cheesecake. While all of the desserts we sampled were delicious, the real stars here the key lime pie and the chocolate sundae. The key lime pie was one of the better examples of this dish that I've ever had. It had a nice texture and a nice tart flavor, but still just sweet enough. The lime really made its presence known without being obnoxious. But what made it really stand out for me was the addition of candied lime zest as a garish. It looked beautiful and added a nice sweet/tart layer to the dish. In fact Alex commented that he could eat a whole bowl of the zest alone. I have to agree with Alex on that point. The candied zest would make a nice snack all by itself.

The ice cream sundae was a very nice way to finish too. To the ice cream and sauce had a great flavor, but what really set it apart were the apple chips. Apple chips, you say? You heard right, this sundae comes served with several thinly sliced and freshly fried pieces of apple. It may seem a bit unusual, but it was a great addition to this dish. They add a nice extra bit of crunch and just a hint of salt to this sundae. I highly recommend this one.

I feel I would be remiss if I did not take the time to mention the service. The staff at Soleil is excellent all around. The kitchen staff has it together and consistently turns out some amazing food. And just as importantly the front end staff runs things efficiently and smoothly. The waiters and waitresses were all very attentive and very knowledgeable of the items on the menu. It was a real testament to how well George Thomas and Bryan Cromwell (the Executive Chef and General Manager respectively) run things. Keep up the great work, and we look forward to coming back soon!

Google Maps Location
Phone: 512-266-0600
Sun-Thurs: 11:30 am-10:00 pm
Fri-Sat: 11:30 am-11:00 pm

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