SOL Cocina Playa Vista brings wood-grilled tacos and just-caught seafood cooked over a driftwood fire on a sandy beach to the Westside of Los Angeles
Born from south-of-the-border surf trips and frequent stops for fresh, local street-style food along the beautiful Baja peninsula, the third outpost of SOL Cocina by partners Rich Howland, Matt Baumayr and Executive Chef Deborah Schneider recently opened in Playa Vista bringing a taste of Baja into our backyard.
“I think SOL Cocina stands out in this neighborhood,” says Schneider. “We take a unique approach to authentic Baja-Mexican cooking and I don’t think there is anything else like us in LA.”
Legitimate street-style Grilled Sweet Corn is wood-grilled, cut tableside and served with butter, lime, chile, Cotixa cheese and a chipotle drizzle, while a pair of fresh-caught snacks include the crispy Coconut Calamari with sesame, dried orange peel and spicy sauce, along with Peel & Eat Shrimp “Cucarachas”—12 whole shrimp pan-roasted in their shells with garlic, Cotixa cheese, lemon and chile.
“We take an authentic, yet unique, approach to Baja-Mexican style cooking,” says Schneider, a San Diego native with 30 years of experience in the kitchen and six cookbooks under her belt, including Baja: Cooking on the Edge (a Food & Wine “Best Cookbook”) and Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Latin Cooking. This is evident in SOL Cocina’s elevated Specialty Tacos, featuring 14 traditional and exclusive varieties.
Offering something for everyone, the Short Rib Taco is topped with red chile salsa; the Fire-Spiced Viper Taco has grilled chicken, melted cheese and ghost chile; and vegetarian options include the Spice-Roasted Butternut Squash with crispy onions, roasted green chile salsa and red pepper salsa.
Meanwhile, the Filet & Shrimp El Jefe brings together surf and turf, while the one-of-a-kind Canarditas Duck features a deep-fried duck leg confit served with corn tortillas and accompaniments of tequila-laced blackberry Serrano salsa Envinada, avocado, cilantro and onion.
Not to be overshadowed is SOL Cocina Playa Vista’s bar program. Beverage Director Colin Pflugradt delivers refreshing libations and infused martinis using fresh, seasonal ingredients and the option of over 70 artisan, premium and ultra-premium tequilas.
“The program is centered around my love for tequila and using the best tequila I could find,” says Pflugradt, beginning with the exclusive SOL Single Barrel Reposado Tequila, custom blended for the restaurant at Casa Noble’s Tequila Distillery.
An abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs are muddled in margaritas like the Blackberry Ginger Margarita with fresh blackberries, ginger, Partida blanco tequila, fresh lime juice and agave nectar; the Mango Con Chile Frozen Margarita, served with dried mango and a chile salt rim; and the refreshing Watermelon Margarita, which is one of Pflugradt’s favorites, during the height of melon season.
So skip the road trip and cozy up to the bar at SOL Cocina for a bona fide taste of Baja at its best.
Sol Cocina Playa Vista
12775 West Millennium Drive, Suite #160
Playa Vista, CA 90094
424.289.0066 | SOLCocina.com
Photos Courtesy of Sol Cocina Playa Vista