SOL Tweaks Its Menu

Mexican food with style in Cherry Creek.

A few days after Denver’s spacious and attractive SOL Mexican Cocina celebrated its first birthday, the Baja-inspired restaurant rolled out new happy hour items and  resized lunch offerings (smaller  renditions of its generous dinner portions). I had the fortunate opportunity to join a couple of hours of sampling many dishes emanating from the glassed-in kitchen presided over by Cortland Collins, elevated from sous-chef to executive chef not long ago. And then, there were the restaurant’s award-winning margs.

Just about everything is made in house, save for the tortillas, which are made to SOL’s specifications by the esteemed La Tolteca Foods in Pueblo. At Cherry Creek rents, it would be foolish to have an in-house production set-up for the quantity they need.

Summery watermelon margarita, judges’ No. 1 choice cocktail at the recent Top Taco event.
Huge tortilla chips with two salsas — tomatillo-chipotle and black bear — made fresh every day.
Tortilla with a floating island of thin avocado slices.
Watermelon copita with cubes of sweet melon, salt, ground chile and lime wedges.
Mexx Chopp Salad (yes, that’s how SOL spells it) — this version with beef.

Quesadilla. available in several versions with cheese plus a choice of fillings and salsas (pico de gallo here) . Love the cheese and squiggles on top,.
Cheese Crisp is what SOL calls its lightly crisped flour tortilla topped with Mexican cheese, roasted green chiles and pico de gallo. It comes cut in pizza-like wedges.
Mexican hot dog, loaded with bacon, chipotle sauce, lettuce, “secret sauce,” pickled jalapenos and spicy roasted green chile salsa and crema,  all on toasted  bread.
Grilled burrito offered with various fillings with Mexican rice and black beans alongside.
Corn Esquites, a version of the street dish called epizote, tricked out with chipotle sauce, Cotixa cheese, chile, lime and butter.
A knife and fork come on the plate with the Esquites for one, but at a sampling event, a waiter cuts the kernels off the cob.

Price check: At happy hour, $3-$6 for food and $4-$6 for drinks (plus $9 for that award-winning watermelon margarita).

Three other SOL Mexican Cocina locations are in Scottsdale and southern California. This newest is at 200 North Columbine Street , Denver; 303-953-2208.