While I like SOL Cocina in Newport Beach and respect the hell out of Chef Deborah Schneider for being able to nail great Mexican food without being a diva about it ala Rick Bayless, I always find her restaurant a work in progress. The off-menu chile de árbol salsa she has right now, for instance? Nails the heat and zest, but a bit watery. The in-house tortillas for her great tacos? Proper earthy color and flavor, but rip apart under any weight like a tissue paper facing off against a running faucet.
Then you get to the cocktails.
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While SOL Cocina has a fabulous tequila selection, the advertised drinks are margaritas, margaritas, margaritas. 'Mana: I understand you're in Zooport, but give the masses something more than the quintessential borderlands borracho beverage, you know? And if you're going to give us a behemoth like the epically named Sol Grande Casa Noble Reposado Margarita, make sure every part is perfect.
Don't get me wrong: it does what a margarita is supposed to do by simultaneously refreshing and tarting up the senses--fundamentally a great margarita. Kudos for still providing a lime wedge in these narco times, and the choice of criminally underrated Casa Noble is a delightful surprise. But...served in a regular water glass? Served so that the customer can refill their margarita by a shaker left tableside, a shaker with ice that quickly melts? Beneath you. May the next time I visit have a braver cocktail menu while keeping Schneider's stellar sabores.