Anyone Been To Lolita's In Greenwich Lately?
It's a surprisingly good place, especially if you're looking for fun dining more than fine dining. I say "surprisingly" because my first impression was "way too many gimmicks" . Like the granita amuse bouche that is served in a cloud of dried ice smoke, then doused with a shot of tequila from one of the 100 on the menu (for the legions of tequilas connnoisseurs among us) or the cotton candy tower presented after the meal, or the waves of cleavage flaunted by the ravishing waitresses, or the distressed brick with red accents that make up much of the decor, or the unwavering standard menu boasting no specials, local sourcing, or seasonal goodies). At first blush, everything seemed too calculated. And so too at second and third blush
But beneath the very smooth veneer, there was some really scrumptous eats, and the flaunted declotage actually camoflouged service that was polished, intelligent, and meticulous.
Before I get to the chow, let me say I am hardly an expert in Mexican cookery. I do know this, tho, Lolita's is in no way authentic, but interpretive, a riff on a theme. It's not even Nuevo Mexican -- like Zarella's in the City. I don't think you'll find much cotton candy or snails or lobster and crab quacamole on the tables of Puerto Morelos -- much less 100 brands of tequila. And granita is Sicilian, not Mayan.
All that said, the food was really really good. The chips and dipping sauses (tomato, Chipolte cream, and green pepper) were fabulous and the two of us cleaned the bowls. (However, the margaritas were small, with an ungenerous pour, and the biggest dissapointment of the night). We then shared an order of fried oysters, with a supurb chile massa crust, and chipolte crema that made for a nice slurp from the presentation oyster shells.. I ordered the carne asada very rare, and to my surprise it actually came that way, which is difficult to do with such a thin piece of steak. It was accompanied by a guac that while nicely creamy, didn't carry much of a kick. I ignored the taco's -- just wanted to savor the tender meat perfectly marinated. My partner's shrimp were just ok so I had to share some of my delectable steak with her. We also shared a side of verde rice, nicely sticky with jack cheese, accented by cilantro. For desert, we had the "quatro leches" While certainly not as authentic as tres leches -- which I order whenever I see it on a menu -- it was even better. As the name implies, this went one better than tres. Buttermilk cake soaked in milk and cream, accompanied by a really dense and creamy coconut and strawberry sorbet. Guess I'm a sucker for sweet.
Then the check with that damn tower of spun sugar candy and our equally towering waitress with her plunging neckline. Nonetheless, her service all night was perfection and we had a very smart discussion of the movie we were about to see, Inception, as she impressed us with her detailed and sensitive knowlege of all Chris Nolan's films.
The check wasn't bad (113 for two drinks shared app and desert and two entries, plus the chips, granita, etc.)
Was it foodie central? Hardly. Was it fun? Very. We'll go again, but early, because the crowds descend after 7:30 and they don't take reservations for parties under 6. The waitress told us it can be a wait of up to an hour on weekends, and the bar area is small and the drinks thin. A very hip and sexy venue that attracts a young upscale crowd. It's at a middle distance from BSF up the block and Tarry Lodge across the River, both in cuisine and geography.
Just got back from my first dinner at lolita's. I don't get why people are all gaga over this place. The drinks were a nice pour but from a flavor stand point the they were all lacking. We had margaritas and mojitos and for 12 a pop they should leave us wanting more. Tacos and quesadillas were all lacking flavor. Sides were good but for 6 each very over priced for rice and beans. The potato gratin was the real shocker as it was 6 for potatoes that yield two small bits was obscene. Service was fine but not anything special.