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Aug 4, 2009 08:48 AM

Lola versus Bijoux

Hello. My boyfriend's birthday is next week and I wanted to treat him to a special dinner. I am really interested in a good tasting room. He has already eaten at the French Room and Nana, so those are ruled out. Based on location and reviews, I have narrowed it down to either Lola or Bijoux.

Although, both of us enjoy wine with our dinner, we are by no means wine connoisseurs. Therefore, wine is not a deciding factor for us. The most important qualities are GREAT food that is creative and inventive (we both enjoy trying new dishes), good service (attentive but not overbearing) and an intimate and relaxing atmosphere. We are also not into the Dallas "scene" so a place that is less pretentious would be a plus.

Any recent experiences, pros/cons, etc. are appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. If you are open to looking at other restaurants, I might suggest York Street. They focus on local, fresh ingredients. Most of the time have many off menu suggestions (even though the menu changes frequently). If you call ahead, I would imagine anything can be accomodated. The service was spot on and their creativity was tremendous. The restaurant has 12-14 tables so it is intimate and relaxing. It is also not a "scene" place.

    4 Replies
    1. re: vstock

      I think Sharon Hage is a pretty good chef. IMO, not James Beard award winning, but still fairly solid. In San Francisco or NYC, she would just be another good chef. (Okay...I know...this is going to upset Chowhounders, so let the rants begin). However, I refuse to go back to York Town due to the small space. The space is NYC small. I think the Lola tasting menu is a pretty good deal when compared to Nana. I have not been to Bijoux, but friends say it has a stuffier atmosphere.

      1. re: caseys

        For haute cuisine, Anthony Bombaci has some serious skill and maybe Tim Love (just because his cuisine is different from what is readily available in those two cities...however, he did not fair so well on Top Chef Masters). And I'm not huge fans of Fearing or Pyles, but they definitely have their own vibe going. I'm pretty confident those four chefs could open shop anywhere and do well. Then when we start getting into ethnic, I'm going to guess there are some culinary masters on Jefferson Blvd. who could teach the best NY or SF chef a thing or two.

        1. re: jindomommy

          Aw shucks I was starting to think, and hope, you had some actual foodie cred...alas.
          NYC sent Tim Love packing, his tail between his legs. His NYC Lonesome Dove shuttered not long after the following no-star ("satisfactory") review from the NY Times:

          I happen to think Avner Samuel would be an outstanding chef anywhere in the world, as would David Uygur or Teiichi Sakurai. And my many meals at Boulevard hasn't been that much better than those at York Street. Pyles and Fearing should be given credit for wisdom, as in they were wise not to stray beyond their own turf. Fearing would fall utterly flat on his face without his local lemmings who still think he actually invented that tortilla soup and those lobster tacos. And let's not get ahead of ourselves regarding those "culinary masters" on Jefferson. I enjoy and admire the heck out of their work, but as much for their not pandering to American palates as for masterful execution. And of course they're the best we've got here in North Texas. But would they be the among the best from their home states?

          1. re: kersplat

            Really? I've heard the term "foodie," but the term always appears to be self-annointed by those who espouse the latest food trends like the 90's sundried tomatoes or more recently ahi tartare. I like to eat. Period. I'm only discussing how any of the above referenced chefs would fair on the West and East coasts of America. Whether they would be able to open up a restaurant and do well. My point was that Sharon Hage's cuisine is a paler version of SF and NYC cuisine. In short, who could open up a successful restaurant on the East and West coasts. Avner who is a darling of the Dallas press would would be a dime a dozen in NYC or SF...same with Uygur. Teiichi Sakura is pretty good for Dallas, but you have entire Japan towns on both coasts that make handmade noodles and tofu. Kaiseki, teppanyaki, yakiniku...they are everywhere on both coasts and they are better than anything I've had at any of Teiichi's restaurants. I'm not claiming that Fearing, Love, or Pyles are anywhere close to the best this city has to offer. My assertion is that they are unique enough to do well on either coasts. They would bring something totally different to both cities. And having lived on the West Coast and traveled extensively to NYC, I guarantee that many of Jefferson Blvd's restaurants would do enormously well in either California or NYC. They offer a totally different Mexican cuisines. I'm sorry, but not many places in California or NYC prepare their tortillas to order. And I know Tim screwed up on TCMs, but he froze his produce. It's a tough show, even Roy lost his composure. And, these are James Beard award winners. So help me, if Sharon Hage ever wins a James Beard award, I owe everyone a round of very strong margaritas.

    2. Haven't been to Bijoux but I've been to Lola's Tasting Room (as a couple) a few times. It should be what you're looking for. I've been disappointed so often in $50+/person places that I've stopped trying new places but Lola remains a fond memory.

      Service was attentive but not overwhelming. Atmosphere was appropriate for special occasions. The tasting took about 3 hours to sit through. We ate without the wine and it was just fine. I thought the dishes were a good mix of safe and creative.

      There were certainly some more 'interesting' dishes but I've also had a couple of the best tasting items in my life at Lola's. Chef David Uygur was responsible for the menu/kitchen on my visits and it looks like he's still there.

      1. I think either Nana or York Street would make a great birthday dinner venue. You might also consider Stephen Pyles or Wolfgang Puck's new restaurant at Reunion Tower.

        1. Based on your criteria, I think Lola would be the best fit. Cozy, classy, comfortable with un-fussy great food.

          1 Reply
          1. re: strong95

            Hey Jess, seems to have gotten off topic here so back to your question, Lola or Bijoux. There's basically no wrong answer to this question.

            The food at both is equal in our minds, both in inventiveness and execution. Both exec chefs are there almost every night. We recently did the 10 course at Lola in the tasting room and it was amazing as usual and is a bargain at $85 pp (excluding wine). I don't think either place is stuffy and certainly not part of the Dallas scene so you're good either way there. Have fun!

            1. re: iluvtennis

              Thanks for this unfortunate news. I think we will be going to Lola now just to ensure we have a chance to experience it before they close!