Sol Y Luna serves authentic Mexican fare in a contemporary atmosphere.
By Jan Walsh
Photography by Beau Gustafson
True to the continual feast, snacking is a Hispanic tradition. Dinner at Sol Y Luna is a tasty tribute to this tradition. Choose among a long list of tapas, and pair with your choice of 60 premium tequilas at Sol Y Luna.
Sol Y Luna is located at 2811 7th Avenue South in Birmingham. Its rustic, warm “homemade” atmosphere make all feel at home—even on a first visit. Guillermo Castro, chef and owner of Sol Y Luna made the banquette that lines the long dining room wall and decorative elements of the interior. Colorful, decorative elements of sun, moon and stars remind diners that the restaurant is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. And in addition to the dining room, it boasts a separate bar and covered patio.
Castro is a native of Guadalajara, Mexico. He received his bachelor of arts in architecture. Yet his passion for cooking led him to become a chef and restaurateur more than a decade ago. In addition to Sol Y Luna’s success, he is also the founder of popular Birmingham area restaurants, Cantina, which is casual Mexican with three Birmingham area locations: Pepper Place, Patton Creek and on Highway 119.
Guillermo Castro was born 45 minutes from De Tequila, and is a tequila aficionado. The blue agave tequilas are divided into three categories. Blancos, which are robust, white tequilas. Reposados are refined tequilas with two to twelve months of aging in oak barrels. And Anejos are full-bodied tequilas with one to four years of age. House recommended chasers are sangrita and lime-orange juice.
These tequilas are also an integral part of the house drinks, which are margaritas served straight up, on the rocks or martini style. We chose the Perfect and the Puerto Vallarta—martini style. Perfect is the perfect name for this cocktail. It is golden in color with Sauza, Commemorativo, and Contreau integrated with hints of orange and lime—smooth, not too citrusy. The Puerto Vallarta is the color of tea and has luscious layers of richness in this mix of Sauza Conmemorativo Anejo, Grand Mariner and Tamarind Pulp.
From the Starters list, we order the Sol Y Luna Sampler. The basket includes a variety of crisp and colorful, house made chips: chile vinegar, sweet potato chips, and corn chips. And the centerpiece of this sampler is the bowl of refreshing, tasty guacamole, with avocado flavors and textures shining through.
The Tapas list includes a variety of protein options: beef, chicken, pork, and many seafood and fish options. We select the Tomatillo Lobster Soft Taco. The large taco arrives hot topped with a light and creamy tequila corn sauce. Strong lobster flavor dominates this delightful taco. From the main dish, serving for two, we select the Sabana. Thin cuts of savory beef tenderloin are cooked to order—medium—with bites of tomato chipotle chutney.
Having passed on the sides to save room for dessert, I am already living with the regret of not having tasted the Jalapeno Corn Fritters. But from the dessert menu, my mind is onto sweeter things. We select the house specialty—Kalhua Syrup Flan. This dark creamy, sweet treat ends a leisurely and delicious, authentic Mexican dinner.
Published, B- Metro magazine, June 2011