Out of Town: Lola in Cleveland, OH

Total Bill: $45.00 for one

During a work trip, I landed in a hotel situated right around the corner from Cleveland’s East 4th Street, where Next Iron Chef winner Michael Symon’s Lola can be found.  I never do this, but I had to go, so I booked a table for one.

It was surprisingly therapeutic and I could take my time noticing things about the atmosphere, its guests and of course, the food.

There’s a quirky edge to the entire restaurant, a peculiar balance of gaudiness and refinement, excess and restraint.

This is evident in the food too. Most notably, the dishes that I had were doused in sauces — deep and penetrating hues but with vibrant pops of colors. The sauces seem to overwhelm the focal point of the dishes at times, but they weren’t there totally without rhyme and reason.

Take the pierogi appetizer for instance. You can’t see them in the photo, blanketed under the wild mushrooms and slathered in crème fraiche and some sort of heavily reduced sauce. But transcending all this, the tinge of horseradish really shines through and, to me, is the best thing about this dish.

And yes, I followed that up with a tender braised short rib — a huge serving of a luscious slather of meat that just melts as you knife through it. The whole thing is heavily marinated, so I suggesting sharing this between two. But again, despite the weight of the sauce, citrus garnish somehow emerges from the rubble and lightens up the mood.

The dessert, not pictured here, was no different.

It was maple ice cream with real bacon bits sprinkled throughout. Enough said, really, but I’m surprised we don’t see this offered at restaurants more often. The maple flavor was solid, the salty bacon crumbles were real. It’s like a kiddie, more satisfying version of salted caramel ice cream.

Oh and if you’re on FourSquare, remember to check in and pay with your Amex card to get $5 back.


One thought on “Out of Town: Lola in Cleveland, OH

  1. Yeah Amex!! Being such a conservative company, it’s a big step for them to have partnered with a start up like Foursquare. And your post makes Cleveland look much less uninviting 🙂

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