Thanks to all of you who had suggestions on places to dine near the Asian Art Museum.
Despite hearing mixed reviews, we decided to try Soluna on MacAllister (Indigo was booked up with a rehearsal dinner and the group wasnt up for Thai).
Most of my companions stuck with the prix fixe which seemed to be a good deal at $19.95 for an appetizer, an entree and a glass of wine (Colombelle Blanc or Sangiovese d'Abbruzzo). However, the prix fixe only included the first four (out of six) appetizers on the menu (did not include the mussels or the ahi tuna) and the flank steak had a two dollar surcharge. As for the included glass of wine, it was BAD. The Colombelle Blanc had a tart citrus taste (which I have never before tasted in wine) and the Sangiovese was fairly bland.
Having been forewarned, we did not expect too much from the service. Well, the critics were right. Our server clearly did not want to be there and exuded an air of resentment. She also did not know the menu very well -on two occasions she had to go back to find out the answer to questions - once about what kind of whiskey was available and the second time to find out what kind of bread pudding was on the menu.
Avocado Mango Salad with Mixed Greens - large portion but was not terribly exciting. It was an interesting concept combining three great ingredients - avocado, mango and blue cheese, but they did not seem to go well together.
Grilled Ahi Tuna over olive, caper and tomato sauce - very tasty although the tuna was a little overcooked for "rare".
Sweet and Spicy Praws - this dish was the highlight of the evening. The prawns were medium sized and very tasty - they seemed to be seasoned with Old Bay. They didnt taste very sweet to me which was just fine.
They were out of the Spicy Pizzette Margherita but some ladies seated next to us seemed to be enjoying it.
Wild Mushroom Risotto with Grilled Portobello and Asiago Cheese - was very good. The risotto had an abundance of big savory pieces of portobello and the asiago was a nice addition.
Grilled Flank Steak with Red Wine, Mushrooms, Sauteed Vegetables and Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes. The flank steak was quite good. It was lighly seared on the outside and pink in the middle - just like I prefer it! The red wine reduction was very tasty and mixed well with the vegetable and mashed potatoes.
Herb Roasted Chicken with Chipotle Yam Mash, Thyme Jus and Sauteed Squash, Bell Pepper and Eggplant. I did not try this dish but one of my companions ate every morsel on his plate and claimed it was quite good.
Chocolate Expresso Pot de Creme - OK, although my companions ate every bit of it. I found it a little monotonous since it tasted mostly like melted chocolate.
Mango Bread Pudding - this was excellent and I am normally not a bread pudding fan. It was not mushy and its consistency was almost cakelike.
All in all, we had a decent meal. The food was fairly good and the service, while amateurish, got the job done (nothing was splilled on us and she brought out everything we requested).
Once they get the kinks worked out and hire some experienced servers, the place may improve. Meanwhile its a good addition for a neighborhood with few options.