Reader: Before you judge a dish like paella, see if it tastes good

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Does this look like Denver's best paella to you? It definitely tasted that way to Lori Midson, who proclaimed it the "holy grail" in her search for great paella and asked readers to guess where she'd found it.

Turned out the answer was Solera. But before we got that, we had to read many, many comments about the right way -- and the wrong way -- to make this dish.

Finally, yesterday Mantonat issued the final word on what makes this rice so nice:

Wow, those are some uptight paella eaters! I thought I was persnickety about food descriptions. For those who think paella can only be one thing prepared in an exact way, why aren't you upset that there's even seafood in the dish? The roots of paella included using local meats, so inland paellas generally contained rabbit, snails, and beans, not seafood.

If you're going to get all wound up about the amount of sauce or tomatoes, maybe you should first go to the restaurant and see if the dish TASTES GOOD! A great deal of leeway can be permitted in the naming of a dish if the chef actually puts a little care and love into crafting the flavors and selecting the ingredients. You can go all over Spain (and the US for that matter) and find paella plates prepared in a perfectly traditional manner but that nevertheless suck. So, maybe this dish is missing that nice toasty crust from the bottom of the pan but all the other flavors are of tasty and of Spanish influence. I'd hate to miss out on good food just because my preconceptions got in the way.

Miss out on some of our previous guess where contests? Find them all here.


Location Info

Solera Restaurant & Wine Bar

5410 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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denverdave
denverdave

I don't doubt that Solera's dish tastes great, but that doesn't make it paella.  Looks like arroz caldoso (soupy rice) to me.

I suspect it's easier to sell a plate of food by calling it a familiar name rather an accurate one.

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