The Citiblog

Julian Medina Pays Tribute to His Grandmother's Cooking at Soledad on the Upper East Side
January 19, 2024, 7:34.19 pm ET


Photos: Marconi Gonzalez

Julian Medina and partner Meghan Manzi have opened Soledad on the Upper East Side named after his grandmother, Soledad Diaz. It is a tribute to matriarch of Medina family and his Mexican roots. The food here reflects the dishes she began cooking while growing up in Michoacan, Mexico.

Medina is chef and owner of spirited Mexican across the city, including El Fish Marisqueria, Coppelia, Toloache, and Tacuba. Together with Medina, they also operate La Chula with three locations in New York and recently debuted El Verano in Southampton.

The menu at Soledad is largely inspired by his grandmother’s handwritten recipe book – an heirloom that dates back to the 1950s – featuring many of the dishes that defined Medina’s upbringing in Mexico City and were often found at the family’s table each night. Several are framed and displayed proudly on the walls throughout the space.

While the menu is rooted in tradition and heritage, Chef Medina puts a modern, personal touch on signature dishes, like Albondigas (Iberico Pork Meatballs) with spicy tomato-almond salsa and crispy potatoes; and Corunda (Michoacan corn tamal) filled with mushrooms, black bean puree, creamy habanero tomato salsa, and crumbled bacon.

Larger plates bring Enchiladas Soledad made with chicken and topped with Chef Medina’s mother’s signature salsa verde, crema, queso fresco, and served with butterhead lettuce. Pato con Mole features duck carnitas, served alongside sweet plantains, Mexican rice, Soledad’s mole, and topped with a sunny side up duck egg. Carnitas Estilo Michoacan, made with Berkshire pork, is offered with a chocolate habanero-tamarind salsa, marinated smashed cucumbers-jicama, and butterhead lettuce for tacos.

“Postres” or sweet desserts, include Borrachito de Piña (Pineapple Upside Down Cake) with a rum glaze and topped with amarena cherries, and Pastel de Zanahoria Tres Leches, a carrot cake complimented by parsnip frosting.

At Soledad, tequila and mezcal finds its way into signature cocktails like the Chef’s Margarita with Casa Dragones blanco tequila, Casa Lotos Sotol, tangerine, Aperol, chiltepin, lime, and tajin; Mezcalita de Cereza made with pistachio-infused Amaras Verde, Cointreau, amarena cherries, lime, and aquafaba; and La Chica, a mix of Lalo blanco, cucumber, jalapeño, mint, and lime, with a tajin rim.

The space, designed by Pablo Castellenos, embodies contemporary Mexican culture with a 14-seat bar framed by arches, similar to those seen in traditional haciendas. The dining room is awash with lively shades of pink and lavender, inspired by the Jacaranda flower, native to South America. Botanical wallpaper and wall sconces which emulate the shape of a tree leaf evoke the feeling of being engulfed by nature.

Soledad is located at 1825 Second Avenue, between 94th and 95th Streets, in Manhattan. For more information, visit

(Dishes top to bottom: Branzino, Carnitas Estilo Michoacan, Fideo Seco con Langosta, Arroz con Pato y Mole Poblano, Carne Asada, and Tres Leches Carrot Cake)