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Lola & Lolita (Cleveland) Reviews & Discussion


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142 replies to this topic

#121 edsel

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 12:42 PM

nsxtasy, you may have noticed a certain "Iron Chef" theme to the menu. :hmmm: So, no pierogies on the New Year's Eve menu. The pierogies were on the menu at the cleveland.com forum lunch on Friday:
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I also got to taste something that isn't on the dinner menu:
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The Fried Bologna Sandwich. It's a huge slab of house-cured bologna with pickles, cheddar cheese, and topped with a fried egg. Classic Michael Symon - take a seemingly humble food and make it spectacular.
More pics on Flickr if you're interested.


#122 NancyH

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 04:47 PM

I also enjoyed this wonderful lunch. I've got my photos on my blog, Fun Playing with Food and perhaps tomorrow I can post some here (they are on my computer at the office).

The fried bologna is worth the price of admission, and the burger damned special! And if that crab gnocchi dish is on the menu - get it!
"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

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#123 nsxtasy

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 09:23 PM

Changing Cleveland's culinary landscape, indeed. There's an article in today's Chicago Tribune about how Cleveland is getting national attention as a hot new dining city:

Cleveland?!?

#124 KensethFan

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 07:02 PM

I finally had a chance to visit Lola last week. The food is phenomenal - especially the beef cheek pirogi, the sweetbreads, and the duck confit.

I am so glad I live close to Cleveland!!!
--- KensethFan

#125 edsel

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 05:16 PM

Now that the Lola and Lolita threads have merged together, it might help to point out to anyone not familiar with Michael Symon's restaurants that we're talking about two places here. :wink:

Lolita
900 Literary Ave. in Tremont

Lola
2058 E. 4th St. in Cleveland (downtown)

I've got to get back to Lolita - I'm overdue for a visit. :smile:




EDIT: Removed some thread-admin comments.




Edited by edsel, 16 March 2008 - 06:28 AM.


#126 edsel

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 06:36 PM

Dinner at Lolita tonight. There's a new pizza on the menu.
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Spicy Pork Sausage with Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce, Olive Oil, Basil
This was delicious - lots of fennel in the sausage and a perfect char on the crust. There was an appetizer none of us had tried yet:
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Grilled Zucchini Salad with ovendried tomatos, eggplant, pine nuts, basil.

Tuesday is Pig Roast Night. :smile:
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Extra-crisp skin this time. The mostarda and fingerling potatoes were terrific.

And finally, Lemon Semifreddo with Basil Syrup for dessert.
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The perfect end to another wonderful meal.

#127 NancyH

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 11:21 AM

We met Edsel for dinner after returning from a week in NY with family (which you can read about on my blog). It was a wonderful meal!

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Slice Shot

The sausage was fantastic; made in in-house!

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Zucchini App Close Up

This was the first appetizer from the "new menu" that I wasn't wild about. There was nothing wrong with it - it just didn't wow me, the way most of the Lolita food does.

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Pig Roast - Yum!

Bob also got the Pig Roast, and it was wonderful - as Edsel said, lots of crispy skin!

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Pig Trotter

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Lasagna

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As difficult as it was to pass up the Pig Roast - I keep getting detoured past the entrees on the "new menu" (which I keep putting in quotes, because it's been around a while, and will be the "old menu" before I get through half of it at the rate I'm going) and I was determined to try the Lasagna. OMG - fresh pasta sheets, lots of fresh cheeses and meats, little sauce, and incredibly satisfying flavors.

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Semifreddo

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This was my first time trying this dessert - and again, Edsel hit it - it is the perfect end to dinner at Lolita!
"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

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#128 edsel

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 05:41 PM

Dinner at Lolita on Friday.

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Pig's ears are back! Well, at least they were on Friday, as a special. Served with pickled fennel and roasted cipollini onions.

There's yet another great pizza added to the menu:

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Shredded roast pork, smoked cheddar, salsa verde. The crust was perfectly crisp. What a heavenly pizza!

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Seared scallops on a bed of cauliflower purée. Just luscious. :wub:

One of my dining companions had (house made) linguini with clams, and another had arugula salad with fresh goat cheese. Both were very tasty.

I finished with a cheese plate with truffle honey and fig relish. My companions had the chocolate pot de creme and the stout ice cream with crushed pretzels. Smile all around. :smile:

#129 NancyH

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 05:49 PM

It all looks yummy! I need to get back to Lolita ASAP! Did I understand your post that the linguine is fresh-made?
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#130 edsel

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 05:58 PM

Yeah, the pasta was fresh and made in-house. I believe that they get some of their pasta made for them by Ohio City Pasta, but our server mentioned that this was made at Lolita.

Here's a slightly bleary picture:
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I should mention that our server Michael was new (at least to me) and quickly picked up on the fact that he had a bunch of foodies on his hands. :laugh: He was clearly up to speed on the entire menu and sensed that we wanted all the details. Excellent service to go with the awesome food.

#131 NancyH

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 11:59 AM

Well I did get back there- but it was a Tuesday and that darn pig just seemed to sing to me - "play with me, play with me." All of the photos are on my blog, but here is what we ate. We started with a couple of new appetizers (and a couple of older ones that I won't repeat here):

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Ricotta Cheese Dip

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It was as tasty as it looks!

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Fried Zucchini with Goat Cheese

Yum - I liked this much better than the Zucchini Salad they did before.

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Pork and Smoked Cheddar Pizza

I believe this is the same pie as Edsel posted about above, but I don't remember any salsa verde; they may have tweaked that (or my memory may simply suck).

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"White Prosciutto" Pizza

Coined by Mario Batali - code for lomo.

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Pork Roast Plate

Luscious pig meat, a skin-covered rib and a crispy crackling, over a luxurious butternut squash/butter puree, accompanied by Brussels Sprouts sauteed in bacon. Seven of the eight adults at our table ordered the Pig Roast, and we licked our plates clean!

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Pork and Veal Meatballs in Tomato Broth with Fontina, Pancetta & Pine Nuts

This is served with the diner's choice of side (Shelley opted for cheesy polenta).

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Lemon Semifreddo,

Topped with the most ethereal Basil Syrup and fresh berries.

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Dang, I really wanted to try the linguini with clams. Or the fish special (cod) - but that pig just called to me, and I had to play with him (or her)!

Lolita continues to impress - I just need to go on a night other than Tuesday!
"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

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#132 tino27

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 12:07 PM

Yum, now I am salivating. The salsa verde that came on the pork and cheese pizza came across more as a gremolata than a salsa verde. Either way, it was delicious. And that pizza crust ... OMG. :blink:

That ricotta dip looked awesome, too. Was it similar to a Greek skordalia (skorthalia)?

Methinks I need to get back to Lolita soon.
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#133 NancyH

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 12:13 PM

Yum, now I am salivating. The salsa verde that came on the pork and cheese pizza came across more as a gremolata than a salsa verde. Either way, it was delicious. And that pizza crust ... OMG.  :blink:

That ricotta dip looked awesome, too. Was it similar to a Greek skordalia (skorthalia)?

Methinks I need to get back to Lolita soon.

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Say (or PM) the word, my hungry friend!

It's been so long since I had skordalia that I couldn't tell you; but it was fresh a delicious!
"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

#134 edsel

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 03:23 PM

A birthday celebration at the chef's table at Lola last night.

A concert up the street plus a baseball game at Progressive field made for a lot of activity on E. 4th St. I grabbed a snapshot of the new patio seating. E. 4th St. has now been blocked off to all but pedestrian traffic starting at the valet parking drive next to Lola. The patio was empty at that hour (5:30) but the bar area was stacked three deep. I heard an out-of-towner shouting into his cell phone: "I'm at some bar called LOLO". :blink: Guess he's not a Food Network fan. :wink:

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We were seated at the Chef's Table, a big slab of alabaster overlooking the open kitchen. I started out with a cocktail.

Pomegranate & Figs "Martini"
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I put scare quotes around the word "Martini", but this drink was quite good. A tad sweet, but that was expected given that it is made with fig syrup.

Michael Symon was not in the house - probably out filming some TV series. :raz: Lola's Chef de Cuisine Derek Clayton was running the show. He's a veteran of Takashi Yagihashi's Tribute in Detroit, and also worked at Doug Katz's Fire on Shaker Square. Chef Derek started us out with a dish they're still tinkering with.

Berkshire pork belly with Apricot glaze

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That's what I'm calling it, anyways. The pork belly is cured, slow cooked, deep fried, and coated with a delicate apricot glaze and served with sliced fruit and jicama. It was over-the-top delicious, reminding me of a "pork crouton" dish they did at Lolita a couple of years back at a special Slow Food dinner.

Next up was a selection of charcuterie, all house-cured. The venison salami and the bresaola (from local beef, no less) were standouts, but everything on the plate was terrific, down to the tiny cornichons.

House-Made Charcuterie
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This was accompanied by a sparkling rosé from Oregon.
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Next up, chef Derek sent out a platter of beef marrow with a variety of garnishes in little bowls. This is off-menu, but the marrow is used as an accompaniment to a steak that is on the menu. Our table was unanimous: this should be available as an appetizer in it's own right. The marrow is lightly dusted with flour and deep fried. This gives it a delicate crust surrounding the ultra-rich marrow. Served with flat-leaf parsley, pickled onions, lemon wedges, salsa verde, and coarse sea salt. Mix and match to you liking. Awesome dish.

Chef Derek Clayton describes the marrow dish to the table.
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voilà!
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My selection.
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Next up for me was a sweetbread appetizer. Lola does the best sweetbreads.

Sweetbreads with wild mushrooms.

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Here's the Berkshire bacon appetizer from the regular menu. Served with cornbread and BBQ sauce. It's delicious, but I think the new version with apricot glaze is even better.

Berkshire bacon appetizer.
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I chose the braised beef short ribs for my main. The ribs are super-tender. I believe they're cooked sous-vide. The ribs were great, but the real stand-out for me was (oddly enough) the braised baby turnips.

Beef Short Ribs
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Pastry chef Cory Barrett sent up a trio of desserts not on the current menu. I think some variant of these dishes may appear on the new menu they're rolling out. There were some great flavor combinations, like the creamy bleu cheese with mango and caramel sauce. The "tropical drink" dessert combined coconut and pineapple and sported a paper umbrella. Like a piña colada. :wink: Silly but also very tasty. The dessert course was accompanied by a lovely floral Sauternes.

Dessert sampling.
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A fitting end to an awesome meal. :smile:

#135 prasantrin

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 05:23 PM

I heard an out-of-towner shouting into his cell phone: "I'm at some bar called LOLO". :blink: Guess he's not a Food Network fan.  :wink:


Maybe he was Filipino and really liked his grandfather? :biggrin: (Across all Filipino languages (I think), "lolo" means "grandfather" and "lola" means "grandmother".)

Next up, chef Derek sent out a platter of beef marrow with a variety of garnishes in little bowls. This is off-menu, but the marrow is used as an accompaniment to a steak that is on the menu. Our table was unanimous: this should be available as an appetizer in it's own right. The marrow is lightly dusted with flour and deep fried. This gives it a delicate crust surrounding the ultra-rich marrow. Served with flat-leaf parsley, pickled onions, lemon wedges, salsa verde, and coarse sea salt. Mix and match to you liking. Awesome dish.


Mmmmm...I want that! And the bacon appetizer, and the beef short ribs!

I have to think of a reason to go to Cleveland.

#136 NancyH

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Posted 12 July 2008 - 06:38 PM

Edsel - you are so good to me! I've been a little lazy about posting this stuff to EG, because it is a separate set of uploads - but what a fabulous dinner we had! Yes, I was the birthday girl.

Lola's Chef's Table perches you right next to the open kitchen. Even when Michael Symon is not in the house (he was in Colorado shooting Dinner Impossible last night), his team brilliantly executes his vision.

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My take take on the Pork Experiment:

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My plate loaded with Charcuterie:

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Even though pickles (or anything made from cucumber) are usually on my "disgusto" list - these little guys were awesome!

The marrow was simply amazing:

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My "sandwich":

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Alaskan Salmon Entree

Fooled you - I didn't go to a Michael Symon restaurant on my birthday to eat fish - the man has a pig tattoed on his body, after all!

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Lamb Loin Chops, Merguez, Cous Cous, Fava Beans

This entree was perfection on a plate. Two simply prepared loins of Colorado lamb, accompanied by a tender, house made lamb (with a bit of pork fat) sausage patty (merguez), toothsome Israeli Cous Cous, fresh fava beans and a gentle jus that did nothing to upstage the marvelous flavors. Made fresh for the birthday girl!

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1/3 of dessert - Bleu Cheese with Sliced Mango, Fresh Caramel, and Fresh Berries - simply amazing - Cory Barrett is a genius!

There are more photos and info on my blog..

prasantrin - we'll host you in Cleveland any time!
"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

#137 NancyH

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 07:25 AM

Pig Roast at Lolita again! We needed to make up for last year, when torakris got sick her last week in Cleveland and had to miss the pig roast. So, together with Edsel, we met up at Lolita for what we all agreed was the best pig roast yet (at least, those of us who've had the pig roast before could agree - Kris was clearly at a disadvantage on that!).

First - the four of us shared a new appetizer:

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Roasted Tomatoes with Feta, Skordalia & Herbs

We cleaned the plate with our bread - it was that good!

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Next - Pizza!

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Duck Prosciutto Pizza

This pizza is now topped with two organic eggs, in addition to Parmesan Cheese, Olive Oil & Rosemary. The crust was perfectly tender yet crunchy.

And finally, the main event:

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Roast Pig over Mascarpone Cheesy Polenta

This delight was topped with garden watercress, olive oil, and candied walnuts. And perched regally above it all - a freshly rendered crackling! My husband was moaning with delight as he ate it. And yes, it was that good. Moreover, at $19 a plate - it is a value that can't be beat!

We were too stuffed for dessert. But we'll be back at Lolita Monday August 11! They are holding a benefit dinner for the Northern Ohio Convivium of Slow Food. Admission is $50, which includes dinner, 1 glass of wine, tax and gratuity. For $200, dinner comes with unlimited wine, and a raffle ticket (the winner will be drawn at the conclusion of the festivities) to win a trip to Italy in conjunction with Terra Madre, or a cooking class for 10 taught by Michael Symon, or 8 other prizes.

The roster of chefs who will be cooking includes:

Matt Harlan, Lolita (who will be roasting a whole Miller Livestock Lamb in his China Box)
Karen Small, The Flying Fig
Dominic Cerino, Retired (who is rumored to be bringing Copper River Salmon)
Jonathon Sawyer, Bar Cento
Dion Tsevedos, Chef to Chef foods
Rocco Whalen, Farenheit
Eric Williams, Momocho
Heather Haviland, Sweet Mosaic/Lucky’s (and her peach cobbler at the Annie Chiu benefit last week was to die for!!)
Michael Symon, Iron Chef, Dinner Impossible, Lola, Lolita

You can call Lolita for reservations; there are only 120 seats - 216-771-5652.
"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

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#138 jsmeeker

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 01:30 PM

I'm heading back to C-Town on Friday. I was there this time last year and went to Lola. Now, I am going to Lolita. What can I expect from MS in the fall?

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#139 NancyH

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 06:41 AM

I was last there about three weeks ago, but they weren't really into the fall menu yet.

If you go on Tuesday, and the weather isn't a total storm, expect a Pig Roast. I haven't had a bad one yet!

Make sure to try a pizza (the pulled pork and cheddar and the duck prosciutto and egg are both awesome, and I'm usually a purist about my pizza, preferring plain cheese to fancy toppings). They are all wonderful.

Otherwise - I'd say its hard to go wrong - the pastas are excellent, as are the meats (even the roast chicken is delicious, though I'd go for something more interesting, myself). We've talked about the great apps above on this thread - I'm partial to the stuffed dates and the chicken wings, though the beet salad is also fantastic. Make sure that you try the cheesy polenta (which comes under the chicken liver appetizer or as a side dish on its own).

I would probably skip the fish special and stick with meats, pasta, pizza, charcuterie and appetizers. I've heard (and read above) that the linguine with clam sauce (which they didn't have last time, but which may be on the fall menu) is excellent also.

Please report back!
"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

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#140 edsel

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Posted 26 October 2008 - 03:35 PM

Probably too late for Jeff, but I'd second Nancy's recommendations and add a couple. I stopped by Lolita last night with a friend after the theater. We didn't have reservations so we sat at the bar. There are a couple of items that aren't on the web menu yet.

We had an appetizer of lamb sausage stuffed in a (surprisingly hot) Hungarian pepper. Tasty, but the heat of the pepper got to me after a while. :smile:

We also had the roasted marrow with salsa verde. This is served with little crostini and a narrow spoon for scooping the marrow out of the bone, which is split lengthwise. If you're a fan of beef marrow this is a must-get. There's a little pile of pickled onions to cut the richness of the marrow. Perfect!

#141 jsmeeker

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 07:30 PM

OK.. I am back from Ohio, where I dined at Lolita on Friday night. Here are some food pics. I didn't take pics of dessert. Just the savory stuff. Everything was really nice.


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roasted bone marrow. This was very delicious.

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duck confit pizza. loved the egg on this pizza.

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on the left, a shrimp appetizer. On the right, chicken livers. I really like they have stuff like chicken livers and bone marrow on this menu. Good stuff. The shrimp were OK. Nothing really special about them in my opinion.

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meatballs.. These were delicious!! Very good.

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pork chop. The peaches in there worked really, really well. Not really a fall fruit, but still, it worked.

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roast chicken. This was my entree. Really nice. Not sure how they did it, but the skin was a beautiful golden brown. I suppose it wasn't roasted whole, rather cut, then seared off, then pan roasted. Anyway, nice roast chicken. and there was a lot of it. It must have been a half a small chicken.


There were some side dishes there too. Didn't get pics of them. I had polenta with my chicken. There was also a nice corn dish. And one more thing, but I can't recall exactly what it was. My dessert was a chocolate pot de creme. Really nice and simple. But tasty.

Anyway, very impressed with Lolita. Great food. Nice, cozy neighborhood feel to the place. And so very reasonably priced for the level of cooking and quality of ingredients here. Really good dining value.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
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#142 tino27

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 03:31 PM

Those chicken livers are one of my favorite things on the Lolita menu (besides ALL of the pizzas :biggrin:). I almost feel guilty ordering them time after time, but goodness they are excellent.
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#143 jsmeeker

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 05:00 PM

I was back in Ohio last weekend and went back to Lola for dinner on Friday my first night there in Cleveland.

No pictures this time, but I had the braised bacon appetizer, the hangar steak, and the peach "melba" We also ordered some beef cheek perogies for the table. Can't recall exactly what everyone else had, but I know one friend had a pork chop and the 6 AM Special (pork in every course!!). I want to say one of the other mains ordered was salmon.

Anyway, it was all good. I really liked the braised bacon. I am curious as to how it's made. I want to get my hands on a slab of bacon so I can try to make it. Only issue I had was that I thought my steak was a bit more rare than I wanted (asked for medium rare, and it seemed closer to what I would call rare)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
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