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cleveland: LOLA reopens downtown, any reviews yet?

  • m

since this is big news i'd say it needs it's own thread.

has anyone been yet & care to comment?

menu:
http://www.cleveland.com/forums/food/...

desserts:
http://www.cleveland.com/forums/food/...

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  1. I just got back. The meal was fantastic from appetizers through dessert. I had the grouper entree, the veal cheek pierogi appetizer, the charcuterie appetizer, the tomato salad and the french toast for dessert. The french toast dessert has bacon ice cream. It certainly was adorable. You could definitely taste the bacon. It was interesting. In fact everything was really flavorful. The beef cheek had real deep flavor. The grouper had nice contrasting flavors, one from the buttery soft interior and the other from the perfectly crispy exterior. The charcuterie appetizer was a lamb sausage and it had a nice lamb flavor.

    My friend raved about the lamb loin. There are several other dishes that were equally appealing. Veal 3, which combines sweetbreads, veal tougue and veal cheek. Berkshire pork chop. Squab with foie gras. I hope I have enough time to work through them before the menu changes.

    I was worried that I may have ordered too much food but the portions were very reasonable. By which I mean that you can order several courses and enjoy them without being stuffed.

    Our server was attentive and knew the menu completely. Apparently the entire staff sampled all the food and the wine in one seven hour marathon.

    Chef Symon and Liz Symon and Chef Barrett and everyone else involved have a lot to be proud of.

    I took some pictures:
    http://flickr.com/photos/stuart_spiva...

    1. I went last night with a group of foodie friends and everyone really liked what they had. I felt like I made bad (not bad tasting, just sort of uninspired) choices and liked what everyone else had all night much more than what I had, so I'll know what to order next time. The place is absolutely beautiful, every inch of it, and the vibe was excellent. This is going to be a great gem for Cleveland.

      According to our server, they'll be opening for lunch and brunch in 10 weeks.

      1. what would you recommend avoiding? i can't wait to try next time i'm in town.

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. I'm not sure what happened but I thought I posted earlier to you wleatherette, maybe we were both deleted, but I didn't want to get into posting anything even remotely negative on the board especially because I just made bad choices, so I was suggesting you post your email and I will email you off the boards. If there's another way to message you without you doing that, let me know in a post here, I couldn't figure it out by clicking on your name or anything.

            4 Replies
            1. re: rockandroller1

              Negative opinions, like dishes to avoid when ordering at otherwise acceptable restaurants, are on topic and appropriate for the board. Please go ahead and post them here so lots of Hounds can benefit from the information.

              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                Well, ok, if you insist. But please note this is just my personal opinion about what I ordered, I don't want my comments to be interpreted as negative towards the restaurant in any way. Others might order what I did and feel completely differently.

                I got the heirloom tomato salad app. I've had heirlooms before and very recently and I thought this was very unexciting, they just didn't have that oomph I expect from heirlooms. I suspect maybe they are just a little to "late" if you will as they were sort of mushy. the feta in the salad was v. good though, it tasted more like authentic Greek feta from sheep's milk instead of the cow's milk feta that's in the stores. I had a bit of everyone else's apps and they were completely out of this world excellent, so clearly I was the odd one out. (other apps I tried included the arugula salad, the foie sausage and the beef cheek pierogi, which I would highly recommend)

                I had the heirloom pork entree. It was described by the server as "smoked." Menu described it as on a bed of cheesy polenta with BBQ onions. Sounded delicious. Again, I thought the pork was extremely bland. It wasn't poorly done, it was just sort of like an unexciting pork tenderloin. The polenta was good albeit a very small portion for a "bed," compared to the huge amount of pork in the serving, which was way more than I could eat (probably 8-10 ounces?) It had a few sprinkles of jalapeno on top of the dish which helped to make it a little more exciting and made me think the kitchen was trying to jazz up the dish, so maybe they don't think it's that exciting either, who knows. Again, other entrees I tried were out of this world, including the veal cheek in the Veal 3 (ways), the ribeye steak, which was even better tasting than the steak I had at Ray's the Steaks in DC, if you can believe that, and the Lola fries, which have sea salt and rosemary on them and are soo yummy.

                I went wrong on dessert, too. I should have listened to the server, who specifically recommended several desserts but not the one I had, which was supposed to be berries with a lemon curd inbetween what was described as crispy layers of merangue. It really looked and tasted like something space age to me. The berries were good but there was only a barely visible drop of lemon curd to anchor the berries on their "rafts," which was the merangue. It's really hard to describe but it was like crunchy rectangles that really had no taste and were the texture of cardboard, kind of like those wafer treats I occasionally ate as a kid that had the waffle-criss-cross design on top? but without the cream. Everyone else had fantastic desserts - the 6am special was two small pieces of french toast topped by a maple bacon ice cream, so yummy, and the "dark day in Cleveland" had a small chocolate cake with a molten center (served with stout ice cream) which was absolutely the best chocolate cake I've ever tasted.

                I'm definitely looking forward to returning and making better selections. Everything was certainly presented beautifully and service was excellent, and all the meals my dining companions had were really top-notch, I just didn't select things that I liked.

                1. re: rockandroller1

                  this is one of the best reviews i've ever read on chowhound. thx for all the info good and bad....or maybe more truthfully good and bland!

                  fyi -- as the PAREA menu has gotten some tinkering in nyc i am sure LOLA's menu will too once they get rolling.

                  1. re: mrnyc

                    What a nice thing for you to say! It wasn't even what I would have written as a full review, but it's an overview I guess.

                    I keep thinking about the beef cheek pierogi and the chocolate cake dessert, I can't wait to go back.

                    One thing I forgot to mention was the wonderful drink I had before dinner. I'm honestly not much for mixed drinks or part of the whole trendy martini crowd. Generally speaking, I just think all those mixes and sugars are unpleasant, if I want whiskey, that's what I drink, same thing with tequila, vodka, whatever. However, I wanted to try one of their drinks that sounded really good and boy am I glad I did. I think it was called the Delta. It was citron vodka, fresh lemon wedges, fresh MINT and just a teeny bit of sugar. The mint made it absolutely divine and all I could think was oh, where was this drink in the middle of the hot summer days a couple of months ago. It was really well made and not too sweet, teriffic. I think one of those and the beef cheek app and the cake/stout ice cream dessert would be a great, inexpensive meal like no other you can have in Cleveland. For the first time in a long time, I'm actually glad I work downtown. They are opening for lunch and in about 10 more weeks by the way.