Restaurant review: Sonrisa

Thursday night, Ritu, Marivic and I met up at a new “modern Mexican” restaurant in U Village called Sonrisa. (As an aside, we all thought that meant “sunrise,” but thanks to Marivic’s boyfriend, who speaks Spanish, we discovered it actually means “smile.”) The place was hopping — Happy Hour had recently ended — and the environment was pretty casual but nice. But.. in the end, I must say it was a bit of a disappointment. They started us out with free chips and salsa. But the salsa wasn’t the traditional kind — it was sort of a salsa verde thing, so it was really runny and not as tasty as your usual red-tomato-based offering. They didn’t really have many vegetarian options, so I ended up getting the veg version of one of their burritos. Good thing I specifically said “vegetarian” — apparently their usual refried beans have some sort of meat or seafood mixed in (I think either chorizo or ceviche or something??). So I asked for a simple burrito — beans, cheese and “just a few vegetables.” They were pretty good about going light on the veggies, but there was hardly any cheese, and one of the few veggies was zucchini, which just tastes really weird to me in a burrito. Maybe that’s just my pickiness coming out again. However, the little sides of guacamole and a corn-cake thing were pretty good.

Sonrisa had a definite chance to redeem itself with dessert; I’d read online that the tres leches (sp?) cake was highly recommended, but when it came out.. we were all a little thrown off from the start. Rather than being a stout cake in a little “juice” or something, it was this tall tower with a little bit of white cream as a frosting and some sliced strawberries. In my experience, tres leches cake is supposed to be super moist, but this thing was basically three flat pieces of pound- or shortcake on top of each other — extremely dry and dense. Normally, between the three of us, we can make quick work of one dessert, but we just couldn’t get through this one. If you want a fantastic tres leches, I highly recommend the pastel de tres leches at Senor Moose in Ballard — deelish.

Anyway, the final sign that I wasn’t too impressed with Sonrisa: I took home half of my burrito (mostly out of politeness than an excitement to finish it later), and totally forgot about it until two days later. Usually, I eat any leftovers as my very next meal, so this was quite telling. Sonrisa does have a happy hour — while I was waiting for the girls, I actually ran into some family friends who were just leaving after enjoying the HH — so I’d be curious to check that out sometime. I think it’d be a fun place if you just went for drinks and appetizers, and a dessert other than the tres leches. Plus, they have outdoor seating, so it’d be more motivating to go back once the temps heat up.

For those who want to check it out, the restaurant is located on the Blue C Sushi side of U. Village. It’s across the intersection from Blue C, next to the Bank of America.

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