Del Sol’s trappings are understated and lovely. Food is very good. And views of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge and International Park are big-city swell.
But there’s something a little desolate about a restaurant in which only five people turn up on a Saturday night, with one staff serving a table of three, the other attending a twosome.
Del Sol is the ground-floor restaurant in the Best Western Premier Grand Plaza Hotel & Convention Center, which (as of February) is the eighth (and longest) name for what began life 28 years ago as the highfalutin French-owned Hotel Sofitel.
The eatery has its work cut out for it on the path to becoming even half as busy as a Mexican restaurant with a liquor license. With a brand new chef devising a new menu and its recent affiliation with the Best Western franchise, we wish it the best. (In January, I was told that a brand-new chef was creating a new menu, so waited until now to let him settle in.)
I didn’t have breakfast here, but it can be ordered off menu or as a buffet ($10.95).
Lunch and dinner share a menu that covers the bases but does not include fish, despite the hotel’s Web site claim, “Popular for our great steaks and seafood dishes,” a reflection, perhaps, of its transitory situation.
RELATED CONTENT: Del Sol menu
Address: 444 N. Summit St. in the Best Western Premier Grand Plaza Hotel & Convention Center.
Category: Business casual.
Hours: 6:30 to 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.,
5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday;
to 11 p.m. Friday.
On Sunday, meals are served in the adjacent
Aqua Lounge Bar.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $$ to $$$
Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Web site: No
Before February, it had been an unaffiliated hostelry for 13 months. The day we lunched, it was modestly busy and a Mexican buffet ($8.95, the theme changes daily) featured corn-tortilla soup (spicy with a hint of sweet), a pan of baked enchiladas, the requisite toppings, salad fixings, fruit, and dessert.
BBQ grilled-chicken pizza ($14) was plenty for two with tender chicken and big chunks of caramelized onion. The menu said mozzarella cheese, but it was topped with melted orange.
It’s Restaurant 101 that working folk need to get their lunch and make tracks within 45 minutes. Our meal took far longer, in part, we were told, because of the grilled pork chops one of us ordered. (We would have appreciated knowing it was time intensive.)
The chops were terrific: two thick, tender, juicy pieces ($18) seasoned with a maple glaze and sided with fresh veggies lightly grilled and whole golden potatoes. Also wonderfully fresh and crisp was the farmhouse cobb salad ($10) with abundant blue cheese, bacon, avocado, egg, red onion, tomato, and greens.
At dinner, the best bet was a luscious 8-ounce filet with bernaise sauce, mashed potatoes, and asparagus ($22). Coming in second was a crunchy-crusted and moist chicken breast with plenty of bacon, a piece of white cheese between two layers of poultry, mashed, and veggies. We asked why there was no fish and the server said there was a salmon special ($23), a well-kept secret. Nicely glazed, a little salty, a little thin, and a little fishier-tasting than usual, I’d guess it was frozen.
Vegetarian fare is limited to salads, cheese pizzas, and spicy penne carbonara sans the bacon.
Warm apple pie ($5) baked in the kitchen and a slender slice of cheesecake ($5) were fine. Sodas are a pricey $2.75 and coffee is $3.25.
We didn’t see a children’s menu but were told the kitchen can prepare the standard small burger/nuggets/fries.
We asked about parking and learned one’s valet parking ticket can be validated at the restaurant.
Nice ambiance, good food, great views, a little disorganized, plenty of potential.