UPDATE: unfortunately, Sonrisa Modern Mex has closed.
Sonrisa Modern Mex is a relatively new addition to the University Village. The outdoor dining area is complimented by a sitting area with oversized chairs and an outdoor fireplace. We found the flickering of the interior fireplaces rather inviting as we were walking along outside in the cold. Inside the restaurant, we were immediately taken in by the lighting throughout the restaurant, and the tiling on the bar. The place looks lovely. The service was wonderful as well.
The food – the food aspires to mediocre. The Guacamole was wonderful, full of huge chunks of avacado and served with plantain chips along with the usual corn chips. The plantains were a nice addition to the chips, but they weren’t really anything special and I certainly wouldn’t want a whole order of them alone. The corn chips were fresh, but much to greasy.
Aaron ordered the Baked Chile Relleno (Roasted poblano pepper stuffed with ancho rubbed chicken, apricots, golden raisins, pepper jack cheese, cilantro and onions. With salsa verde and red enchilada sauce and achiote rice). It was underdone,the cheese hadn’t even begun to melt and the chile was still tough. But the flavors were nice so it wasn’t too bad.
I had the Picante Primavera (Penne pasta sauteed with roasted shallots, roasted garlic, zucchini, asparagus and spicy salsa fresca. Finished with grated cotija cheese). This struck me as intriguing so I just had to try it. Each of the ingredients was wonderful on its own. The garlic was mellow the asparagus had a wonderful flavor and texture. But I found myself picking though the dish for specific items, a bite of asparagus, a bite of zucchini, several bites of garlic; each one delicious yet together they just didn’t work.
The desert menu was interesting; a couple items included habanero peppers in the description. I wasn’t feeling that brave, so we opted for the flan trio. The flan trio is described as being a chocolate, vanilla and berry brulee. What arrived was a dish with six compartments. Three ramekins each with a custard, one berry, one vanilla (the only brulee), and one chocolate. The remaining three compartments had whipped cream, one strawberry flavored with a strawberry on top, a tiny speck of plain vanilla, and chocolate flavored whipped cream with chocolate chips. I must admit, this is precisely what the menu said. But whipped cream with chocolate chips didn’t work for me. None of the whipped creams were very good or even interesting. The creme brulee was good. The strawberry “brulee” was bland and over sweet and the chocolate “brulee” (neither of these two had been touched with a flame) was terribly thick, like fudge. I’m not one to leave dessert on my plate, especially where there is chocolate involved, but I couldn’t eat this. I didn’t even bother to ask for a box to take it home.
So would I recommend this place? That’s an interesting question. Certainly not for dinner. However the bar is nice, the service is great, they have an extensive inventory of tequila and a talented bar tender. The guacamole is great. The happy hour menu boasts $5 appetizers, $4 house margaritas, and $3 draft beers. I say, if you want to meet friends for margaritas at happy hour, this might be just the spot.
Sonrisa Modern Mex
2614 NE 46th Street
Seattle, WA 98105