Solex, tres delicieux

Frederick Twomey knows how to create a mood.   At each of his wine bars around the city, you walk in and feel an aura of another place: the sexy rambunctiousness of Italy at Bar Veloce, passionate vitality at the Spanish-themed Bar Carrera, and the casual sophistication mastered by the French at the most modern of his wine bars, Solex.

something bubbly just seemed like an appropriate beginning in such a lovely spot

something bubbly just seemed like an appropriate beginning in such a lovely spot

I visited Solex last week to check out the revamped, simplified menu which is all about the pizzette, a more delicate take on the pizza, as only the French can do. Escargot, chopped finely with garlic and parsley, takes the place of white clams; saucisson replaces pepperoni.  Perhaps it’s the dough, or the fancy ingredients, but these pizzettes look and taste nothing like their Italian counterpart.  I loved the flambée- essentially a classic Alsation tarte of smoky bacon, caramelized onions and crème fraiche, the meaty mushroom pizzette, and the raclette: a decadent layering of pureed potato, gruyere, rosemary and truffle oil.  It was elegant but unfussy- eating with your hands would not be considered faux pas here. Most pizzettes hover in the very friendly $7-10 range.

an embarassment of tarte riches.

the lovely pizzettes

our very smart sommelier

the cool, smart sommelier

tarte raclette, capital D delicious

the raclette, capital D delicious

Solex is phenomenal in that “I just got a Balenciaga bag on ebay for $100!!” way. The wines, all from France, are shockingly reasonable at $6-13 per glass, with a nice bottle selection as well.  The food is great, ambience is fun (reggae was spinning the night we went).  It just seems like it should be a lot more expensive than it is.  But in a city where so many spots are overpriced and underwhelming, I’m certainly not complaining.

Solex: 103 1st Ave at 7th st..  Visit the Solex website here

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