When I first mentioned to Sal I wanted to try Sol Food out in San Rafael, she paused briefly. Since she lives in Fremont, it's not exactly a neighbourhood spot for her. I tried to be as courteous as possible by giving her an out. If she didn't want to head out there, we could've easily gone somewhere else. But I'll give it to her, she's a good sport because that's where we headed after Cheeseboard Pizza. However, the one concession I had to make was to BART it from the Dublin/Pleasanton station over to Castro Valley where she would pick me up. A small price to pay for many eats today! With GPS set and me at the wheel, we set off for San Rafael. Before we knew it, we were there. Apparently, it wasn't as far as we thought it would be. So before it even hit 11:00am, we were onto meal #3!
At the very least, this meal was going to be far and away the most unique of the bunch. Being a Puerto Rican restaurant, I was looking forward to trying their something a bit different. The Camarones Criollos caught my eye. It's a dish comprising of prawns sauteed in a tomato sauce with garlic and onions. It's served on white rice and comes with a spring salad, avocado quarter, Toston Con Mojo and Marduro. Despite what you see in the picture, the prawns are not terribly overcooked. Yes, they are cooked longer than what you'd find in Chinese cuisine; but they were still very good. To me, the texture resembled that of cooked lobster. The tomato sauce itself was not overwhelming with just enough garlic and onion flavour; thus I could still taste the sweet prawn. Although, I did add some hot sauce and it made it all the more better.
I'm not the biggest fan of Tostones Con Mojo (fried green plantain smashed and fried again) since I find it dry and flavourless, so I'm a bit biased. This one was pretty much consistent with the ones I've had before. Again, with a bit of hot sauce, it made it better. However, I did like the Marduro (fried sweet yellow plantain) since it resembled a fried banana. Sal had the Mofongo, which is fried green plantain mashed up with olive oil and garlic. Naturally, I wasn't a big fan of it; but Sal seemed to enjoy it. It was a bit sweet and quite dense, she could only eat one half.
Overall, a pretty satisfying meal which is a bit out of the ordinary. I thought the prices were quite reasonable for the amount of food we got. There are not a lot of places to eat here. In fact, there are only 3 real tables outside. 2 of which are on the sidewalk. Most of it is bar seating. You might want to take it to go. So was it worth the drive out here? We thought it was since the food was pretty good, the ambiance was sorta neat and we had a good time walking around looking at all the shops in the neighbourhood.
- Nice selection of dishes
- Good portions
- Not a lot of seating