In The Sol Majestic, the titular restaurant is considered the best in the galaxy. People come from all over known space to have a bankrupting but once in a lifetime taste of the famous and experimental dishes from temperamental head chef Paulius. Because we’re a mischievious lot, we asked author Ferrett Steinmetz, how would diners rate The Sol Majestic?
Read the description below and then jump into Ferrett’s collection of Yelp reviews from space!
The Sol Majestic is a big-hearted and delightful intergalactic adventure for fans of Becky Chambers and The Good Place
“A feast of a book.”—Hugo Award-winning author Seanan McGuire
Kenna, an aspirational teen guru, wanders destitute across the stars as he tries to achieve his parents’ ambition to advise the celestial elite.
Everything changes when Kenna wins a free dinner at The Sol Majestic, the galaxy’s most renowned restaurant, giving him access to the cosmos’s one-percent. His dream is jeopardized, however, when he learns his highly-publicized “free meal” risks putting The Sol Majestic into financial ruin. Kenna and a motley gang of newfound friends—including a teleporting celebrity chef, a trust-fund adrenaline junkie, an inept apprentice, and a brilliant mistress of disguise—must concoct an extravagant scheme to save everything they cherish. In doing so, Kenna may sacrifice his ideals—or learn even greater lessons about wisdom, friendship, and love.
Utterly charming and out of this world, Ferrett Steinmetz’s The Sol Majestic will satisfy the appetites of sci-fi aficionados and newcomers alike.
Review Section, The Sol Majestic
“I think we should dine at The Sol Majestic,” I told my husband.
“Can we get a bank loan big enough to cover that meal?” he asked.
As it turns out, we couldn’t. So we had to plan our trip to The Sol Majestic through the traditional methods; scrimping and saving over the course of years to save up not just for the meal itself, but for the transit ship that would take us to Savor Station, a rusted outpost orbiting a dying sun that’s only notable because Paulius, that madman genius, refashioned a forgotten waystation into a temple of foodie worship.
For five long years my husband and I cut every corner – we no longer dined out, as had been our passion, but cooked simple ramen meals at home so our every spare dinari could go into the savings account. We moved into a smaller home – a hovel, really – where we could watch endless food shows on the holovision, drooling quietly as ads for fine dining flooded our senses. And though we lost friends thanks to our frugal hermitage, we began to think of ourselves – or at least I did – as glorious ascetics, fasting in preparation for the ultimate meal that only Paulius could provide.
To save time, we quit our jobs and committed our bodies to a stasis ship, which locked us into a time-freezing field that ensured we would not age while the ship travelled the slow lightyears out to The Sol Majestic. The trip would take three years, but that was acceptable – The Sol Majestic is booked out two years in advance. So we primed ourselves to emerge from our grimy ship ready to devour Paulius’ exceptional delights.
…or so I thought. My husband had other thoughts, you see. He was not steadfast enough, his will breaking as the crewmen prepared to lock him within the stasis-ship’s bowels. He left a kind note explaining that he lacked my strength, that he needed a life larger than this single goal, that he didn’t hunger for the meal as much as I did. Quitting his job and leaving his family behind to experience one sole night was too much to ask.
Even though I was on the doorstep of culinary rapture, all I could do was read that note. I must have read it a hundred times. I could hear the words in his voice, but how could I know his diction so precisely and yet not know my own husband’s inner motivations at all?
Worse, there had been flutters in the economy since I left. The stocks and bonds we had so wisely invested, hoping for profit, had tumbled. I had enough solvency to choose a meal or the trip back.
I chose the meal.
In one long evening, I ate twenty-one courses of Paulius’ best fare.
And now I toil at the outskirts of The Sol Majestic, seeing its obsidian shopfront every day, begging when I can, picking up what spare jobs there are at a space station. I’ll likely never turn enough of a profit to return home; I have to pay for my oxygen and my food, both scarce resources out here in the void.
Thankfully, I’m not alone; I am with a small crowd of other petitioners, those who also took the risk and made it, and we all agree on one thing:
Would dine again.
|Congratulations, Stefan! You made REVIEW OF THE DAY!|
I can’t believe that people think this restaurant provides good food, when all it provides is insults.
Let’s be clear about my background: I know my cuisine. I’ve dined at the finest restaurant in every settled solar system; my personal spaceship is a portable wine cellar, so in case I find myself tempted to settle for a substandard vintage, I can instead haul a bottle out from my priceless collection to demonstrate what true goodness tastes like.
(Except if there’s rainy weather out! In that case, any port in a storm. Ah, as you can see, my wit never fails to amuse the punters.)
So when I heard that The Sol Majestic had and I quote, “ONE TABLE RESERVED EACH NIGHT, FREE OF CHARGE, FOR THOSE WITH THE LOVE TO SEE IT,” I knew my breadth of experience should get me in. I bribed my way to the front of the line to ensure I wouldn’t have to wait another day, and proceeded to express the ephemeral – nay, unequivocal – differences in taste between the kumis fermented from black-uddered S’iulian mares and kumis from the dapple-uddered starhorses.
And gentlemen, I am no oaf; I would have accepted a gentle rebuke. It was a long line. As unlikely as it was, perhaps Paulius might have seen that my pockets were lined with the cash to afford his restaurant the hard way.
But I was NOT prepared for a bright red screen blaring “YOU’RE TRYING TOO HARD, POSER,” followed by a whooping – and very sarcastic, if I may add – alarm.
As it is, there are no other fine restaurants to be found at Savor Station, so I had to sate my hunger upon a wax boat of substandard bhelpuri from some filthy vendor. Don’t come here unless you like greasy food carts.
REPLY from Paulius
YELP PLATINUM INFLUENCER:
That bhelpuri vendor’s name is Viaan, and despite his low prices he makes the finest bhelpuri that any person of character will ever taste. The fact that you believe Viaan’s work to be “greasy” is proof that you judge food by its price instead of its taste.
Scrimshaw. Ensure that Ms. Hoita here is blacklisted from The Sol Majestic, and from any of our sister restaurants that equally detest the stink of pretention.
Good luck finding future reservations.
Twenty-one courses, and any of them could be the dish of a lifetime. Where does one begin cataloging perfection?
And why does one give perfection four stars?
Some of the courses are visually clever: the fresh sashimi floated on a gravitationally-trapped river of glimmering water, the stiff greenery arranged around the dish tinged with a wisp of clouds to give the illusion that you’re some great god reaching down through a living forest to pluck your meal from the heavens above. Others are technical showcases, as with the temporary genetic repurposing that takes your most-hated food and, for twenty minutes, reprograms your taste-buds so that (in my case) Kaolian weeping-floss became the only thing I craved, despite a lifetime avoiding it.
But most are simple dishes, made with ingredients sourced from the best sources across the entire Interstellar Merchants’ Network, made with an attention to detail that borders upon inhuman. A single strip of a dewbane plant’s heartroot, when chewed properly, became a delicate citrus-and-chlorophyll symphony that had subtle notes of j’aimeng and cacao swelling and fading across my tongue.
The highlight was, naturally, Paulius’ most mysterious dish, the one meal no one has ever been able to replicate – the blobs of alien organisms that latch into your throat and bring up surging memories of all the greatest meals you’ve ever had and combines them, an act that left me and my dinner companions weeping with joy as we remembered all the long-lost relatives who’d cooked us food as children.
So why four stars? Well, honestly, two courses dropped it down. I know the spherified chicken alginate and the transglutinated beef strands had been a breakthrough when Paulius started his career – but it’s been thirty years, and to see him cooking the same old meals (tasty though they are) feels like a broken-down band playing their old hits. Yes, my fellow diners applauded to see them, but there’s something… well, hoary about the dishes, and I wish Paulius would drop them.
REPLY from Paulius
YELP PLATINUM INFLUENCER:
Oh, thank GOD someone said it.
No. I do not stand behind the inclusion of those dreary, dusty, dilapidated RELICS on the menu – they are an EMBARRASSMENT to be told, and I only keep them on because of the ridiculous inclusion that my matronly manacle of a manager Scrimshaw (may her heart be boiled in acid) FORCES me to keep on. You, my friend, are a person of taste, and how I wish I could shed myself of Scrimshaw’s absurd dedication to financial solvency because if I had my druthers…
3000 words more in this comment | Read more?
REPLY from B. Scrimshaw:
Paulius, must we go over this again? I have attached the 576 reviews that have mentioned the transglutinated beef strands positively, along with a word cloud of the most common words used to describe it. You’ll note that “transcendent” is the prime word among them. This one review should not jar you so off-course.
Let’s have no more of this.
REPLY from Paulius
YELP PLATINUM INFLUENCER:
You WOULD say that, you debilitating dollar-dazed dotterel! If mere REVIEWS from our customers were our driving force, we would have crashed long ago. What drives the temple of The Sol Majestic is that EXPLORATION of cuisine…
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I could finally dine anywhere I wanted, but every meal left me starving.
I had lived in poverty for years, but the untimely demise of a beloved relative gifted me with an inheritance worth spending. I wasn’t wildly rich but I was in the comfortable upper-class now, able to use the interest off my bank accounts to fund monthly excursions. At last, I thought, I will be able to travel widely, experiencing every form of scientific gastronomy across every culture…
But I had no one to share my meals with.
Oh, it’s not for lack of trying; I took on lovers across the spectrum of genders, cultivated friendships on the long hauls out to distant planets, formed vlogger relationships with the others who chronicled our tumultuous love affairs with food.
Yet there was one restaurant everyone whispered about, the place I did not dare go – The Sol Majestic.
The restaurant responsible for ruining my marriage.
Still. Not a day passed when I did not consider my ex-husband Stefan, who had staked his entire future on this one stupid meal. Stefan, who’d locked us into scrap-leavings for years in his manic goal to reach The Sol Majestic. Stefan, who I had once loved so dearly because his faith was unbreakable, yet had abandoned him in such a cowardly fashion because I could not stand to see his heart break when he was forced to choose between The Sol Majestic and me…
I knew he was still there. He had possessed enough respect for me never to contact me again – I think he knew his words would wound me, and even in his dishabile he didn’t want to present even an implied need for rescue. And going there, well, the station was only three-quarters of a mile across, I’d be certain to run into him.
But didn’t I want to know?
So eventually I booked a flight – a fast flight, I could afford that, only a three-week trip. But I wasn’t going there to reconcile – I was going to The Sol Majestic to prove Stefan wrong. I’d had many fine meals since leaving him. My palate had expanded, my knowledge swelled to top-class information.
I would go to The Sol Majestic and dine upon bitter ashes. I would swallow the last of my love and shit it out again, turning this all this wayward ardor into something I could safely leave behind.
And I bought out someone else’s meal ticket at a bankrupting expense.
And I dined.
Oh, how I dined.
And when the meal was over, I staggered out of The Sol Majestic’s light-suppressed lobby, understanding at last what my husband had sought and what we could have been and all the things we could have – would have – shared.
I did not take five steps before Stefan intercepted my path.
I thought he would be furious. We could have done this together. We could have shared this meal, him for the second time, me for the first, and my selfishness was proof that I’d planned to forsake him. And he’d been laboring in grimy poverty for years, and now here I emerged, fresh-faced and flush with a meal that cost as much as a home –
“Do you understand?”
That was all he said.
His eyes glistened with tears.
And as he took my hands in his, I realized: we did not need to share things together. We had both been to The Sol Majestic, we had both had our minds remapped to encompass what cuisine could hope to be, and once again we were together and never could be separated so long as we both had that dizzying memory to embrace us.
Despite paying a fortune to cut in line for the meal, I had, of course, left enough money to get us home. Yet Stefan looked at me.
“Is that what you want?” he asked. “To go back home?”
My answer was inevitable.
What we had in funds was not quite enough to purchase a stall in Savor Station’s expensive food court – when every square inch of a station has to be maintained against meteor strikes and pirates and technology degradation, the pricing cannot be cheap. But Paulius slipped us a hidden gift, arranging to put our stall right in between Viaan the bhelpuri merchant and Lizzie’s Sure-Fire Sauerkraut.
Every morning, we rise well before the station’s wake-up lights come on to bake tiny souffles of various flavors, each painstakingly hand-crafted to provide the crux of flavor just as the customer bites into it. It is backbreaking labor for little profit, and yet every day we come to worship at our tiny shrine to food, just like everyone else in the food court does, each of us with a very specific flavor of worship as we devote our lives to our singular dish.
Food is what tells us when we’re home, Paulius says.
We are home.
REPLY from Paulius
YELP PLATINUM INFLUENCER
I give this review five stars.
REPLY from B. Scrimshaw:
So do I.
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