Lola's Latin Bistro Metuchen NJ
Went to the new location last night for the first time - food was still great. Hangar steak well cooked, rib .steak was huge. Also enjoyed the civiche as well as the tuna tartar on tostones. It is busy feeling with a happy vibe. I particularly like the fact that it is BYO which is enhanced by the fact that the wine store is open late. We took advantage of that fact and got a nice bottle to supplement what we had brought on our own. Heck, they will even deliver the bottle from the store to the table. (Frankly, it was the best of both worlds given that the $20 bottle would have been far more if Lola had a license.)
I will be returning.
We went to Lola's last night. Apparently it was the second night in their new location. The food was excellent. The service was the worst I have ever experienced at any restaurant. We had a 7:30 reservation, were seated fairly promptly, but our entree was not served until 10:15. Yes, two hours and forty-five minutes later.
I understand that getting used to a new space presents a number of challenges but really, it was the same menu. The real problem seemed to be that the restaurant was completely understaffed, and the staff that was there was young, inexperienced, and incompetant.
The head server came to our table at 10pm, offered a half-hearted apology for the delay, and offered to give us complimentary dessert and coffee. Really, and make us wait another hour? Not interested. Finally, at 10:30, the owner came out and offered to cut the bill in half. That was a much more reasonable offer, and one we appreciated.
The food was really quite good. We may be back (we were a group of six), but not until they've had plenty of time to work out the service issues.
I had the same experience in the old location, I went once to try it with 3 girlfriends and we actually sat for about 20-30 minutes before we even got menus. It was almost comical because we were passed by the wait staff, host, and owner several times trying to signal someone and we had just about decided to leave, but someone finally noticed and handed us 4 menus. The food was decent, but overall the service was so terrible that it ruined the evening for us. The wait and bus staff were pleasant enough, it was just incredibly slow and very chaotic. We didn't risk staying for dessert since we had already waited so long for menus and food.
I know they've moved to a larger location, it sounds like they still have kinks to work out in service regardless of space.
I don't know how much Lola has changed in the last year. I started going about 6 months ago and find myself constantly craving their food. Here is a review I wrote for Zagat, which if it gets listed in there, will eventually show up.
What a gem in a town that sorely needs some spark. Nick Borzone, former chef/owner of Abbraci's in the same location, has brought this Metuchen corner back to life. The food was top notch, with so much intense flavor. The bean dip appetizer special was delectable served with homemade plantain tostones (suggesting it as a permanent item please!). From the tapas menu, the Empanadillas with goat cheese and olives were so good, even my wife who doesn't like either ingredient enjoyed them. For dinner, the Churrasco a la Parilla (grilled mojo marinated skirt steak with mashed sweet potatoes and salsa mexicana) was perfect, as well as the mojo pork special. Portion sizes are more than generous with a very good sized menu. I eagerly look forward to going back and trying all the other choices. This is a great place to go with a group, or for that nice casual date night out. Everyone in the restaurant was very obviously enjoying themselves, and Nick (owner turned server) made sure he kept every table entertained. In one visit, it was easy to tell Lola has impacted the community and created a following in the local area. This place will be a lasting stop in the town, and we are all lucky to have Nick and his creations back in business.
Lola Latin Bistro
140 Durham Ave, Metuchen, NJ 08840
Went for my anniversary dinner last night. The food and service was great. The dip for the bread was great. Tried a bunch of Tapas and an entree, all of which were very good. The only little complaint was the empadillas, which was a little greasy. The tres leche cake with strawberry topping was really good that we decided to take an extra piece home.
Well worth the trip. Looking to go back again.
Lola Latin Bistro
140 Durham Ave, Metuchen, NJ 08840
Been there several times.
A few cavits:
Busy nights are to be avoided although I have not been there since the SL review and I don't know what their weekday traffic is like.
If you BYO and you plan on eating tapas, make sure they give you an oversize table!
Preferable one that is stable although our first night there as they were clearing our appetizers, a full glass of water was spilled on my fiance'. Hence dinner was comped!
The menu seems inconsistent with quality. Some dishes fly, some........not so much, which leaves disagreeing with the SL review.
The noise level is ridiculous, but if that doesn't bother you it can be a fun room. Overall they just don't seem to handle a rush that well.
On a recent visit to Lola, I was somewhat disappointed. This cramped restaurant is boisterously loud—in the realm of a bar atmosphere, without the bar. The music was decibels too high. There was BYOB (one plus for the place) but mainly, the service quality lacked tremendously. There was unnecessary confusion amongst the wait staff in getting orders correct. Additionally, the overaggressive waiter's and busboy/girls' urgency to remove plates before we were done eating became annoying after the third time. The modern latino menu appeared interesting, and my marinated skirt steak was tasty although COLD and lacked any vegetables other than a small dollop of guacamole and a small serving of salsa relish on the plate. Without appetizers or tapas, we would have left a bit on the hungry side. The black bean & tostone appetizer was very tasty and a generous serving. The flan for dessert was however disappointing. It was very curdy; and not at all smooth in texture. The presentation was nice, but did not deliver. Generally, the food and service was not up to our expectations and disappointed. It seemed as though the restaurant had just opened that day and there were just too many kinks and errors to be fixed. The table we ate at was haphazardly constructed and somewhat unstable! We spent $50 per person for dinner (entrees average $22), with a few appetizers, desserts, and coffee. I definitely would not run back.
The name is actually LOLA
Checked it out for a tapas lunch.
Cozy restaurant about 12 Tables
Good background music, felt worlds away.
Bread - OK - They did serve the bread in a cigar box which was very creative...
Olive Oil Garlic Sundried Tomato dip - Very good
Orange Fennel Salad - good
Beef Skewers with Orange Glaze - good
Yuca Croquettes - OK
Garlic Shrimp - Good
Everyone in the restaurant seemed very happy and was praising the food.
Maybe I need to return with hubby and a bottle of wine.
Keep in mind one of my favorite restaurant of all time is a Tapas Bar, so maybe it is difficult for me to say more than it was good?!?
Would be interested to hear other opinions...