Having never really had a bad meal in Chestnut Hill across all the various cuisines and hot spots along Germantown Ave., I took a friend who had recently moved to the area and never explored. On our drive back from the Camden Aquarium, we headed up Germantown Ave. and she commented on how quaint and cute the town was, a statement with which I whole-heartedly agree. As we made it further up the street, after I pointed out Hokka Hokka and Cin Cin, she said she wanted something a little less ethnic, more American, almost pub-like. So I thought of McNally's first but decided on Solaris Grille, where I've had many solid meals before, as well as some good spirits.
We arrived early on a Friday night so seating was no problem, however, our server placed us in the far corner of the dining room, which I found a bit odd. After ordering our beers, a great offering both draft and bottle, our server disappeared. Our location in the dining room may have lent itself to being forgotten, but after 10 minutes or so, she returned with our bread and drinks. The bread was a necessary accompaniment to the chicken tortilla soup we both ordered. It had nice chunks of chicken and a good corn undertone, but lacked the spice and was riddled with celery which I don't think has any place in this type of soup. Still the soup was adequate, particularly on a cold day.
Our entrees came out in short order, however, there was something noticeably missing from my dining partner's fajita platter, that being the trademark sizzle. In addition, the avocado was brown which led to its being left on the plate. Other than that, the dish got a positive review from my dining companion, but in truth, it's a tough meal to mess up. Mine on the other hand, was the Hibachi steak with wasabi-mashed potatoes and soy glazed green beans. 1/3rd of the dish was solid, as the mashed potatoes had a great level of nose-clearing heat from the wasabi and the texture was perfect. Sadly, the rest fell short. The beans didn't really have more than a hint of any type of glaze and certainly no soy to be tasted. Even worse, the beans had their coarse ends still attached, a major faux pas in my book. The steak was nicely seasoned but poorly cooked, as I ordered this medium and it came out more like medium rare. Overall, a generally unsatisfying meal for a less than modest price tag.
I won't disparage the restaurant or the street, because as I said, I've had many great meals all over Chestnut Hill, but this was one of my least memorable.
8201 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118
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