I will be starting a new job this month, so in celebration of that and a new year, Hans and I wanted to spend a fancy night out to dinner and a movie. After I narrowed down my list of “must go to” restaurants, Hans further narrowed it down to Lolita, Lola or Farenheit. Seeing that I was looking to dine somewhere I haven’t been before, I chose Lolita.
(Sidenote to Clevelanders: As I’ve been to both before, Lola and Farenheit are excellent. Farenheit is a great gem of Tremont – with a rockin’ happy hour that I highly suggest. Go get the Vietnamese Chicken Spring Rolls right now. You won’t regret it.)
With the restaurant scene EXPLODING here in NEOhio, Michael Symon is Cleveland’s culinary god. I was lucky enough to meet him a recent event for work back in October. And needless to say, I was blown away by the spread of delicious food he prepared. I love the way he cooks and recently just got his cookbook from my work Secret Santa (thanks again Todd!), so Lolita seemed like the best choice for me. Plus I was seriously craving some meat – namely pork and lamb.
Hans started with his new drink of choice: mojito!
I asked the waiter if they had a pinot grigio available, and he suggested some Spanish white that was perfect for my limited wine palate.
We had serious issues deciding on our plan of attack. We could have gone in two directions:
- order a bunch of starters, then close the meal with a pizza
- order two entrees and split accordingly
We went with option number two. (I plan to return to Lolita in the future to try plan number one in the future. Let me know if you’d like to join me as I’d like to have this happen sooner than later.)
I ordered the Lamb Steak, with “arugula, feta, dried tomatoes, pickled fennel, balsamic”:
My steak was cooked to the perfect medium and was delicious. The portion size was enough for me to have between a 1/4 and a 1/3 of the steak, giving the rest to Hans to finish. I would definitely choose this entree option again. Personally, I’m not one for an overabundance of sauce (except in the case of our other entree), so there was plenty of balsamic still on my plate when we were done. Overall, not a meal killer what so ever. It would have probably been used if we received more bread when we asked for it… whatever. It’s cool. Moving on.
Hans ordered the gnocchi, with “pork ragu, tomato, parmesan”:
SNEAKY WIFE ALERT: As you might remember, Hans isn’t a big meat sauce eater, but is in LOVE with gnocchi. He’s been a bit obsessed since having it at La Dolce Vita with their Fellini sauce: “a blend of whole tomatoes, pancetta and gorgonzola in a creamy parmesan sauce”. I wasn’t surprised when he wanted the gnocchi at Lolita, but I wasn’t sure if he realized what “ragu” meant, and that the sauce wouldn’t be as creamy/cheesy. On the other hand, I could easily eat any variation of meat sauce every day of the week. Since we were splitting our meals, I knew it would work out regardless. The dish came out and he immediately asked for extra mozzarella to sprinkle on top. Luckily for me, he ate all the gnocchi and left the remaining meat sauce for yours truly. 🙂
The gnocchi itself was perfectly cooked to a great consistency. I loved all the flavor the pork ragu had – the perfect balance of a true “meat sauce”, with just a hint of the cheese in the sauce. The extra that Hans added didn’t hurt either! Portion size of this was reasonable, with Hans finishing all but one gnocchi that I managed to grab a bite of. I finished off the remaining pork ragu that my hubby didn’t finish. Once again: more bread = would have been nice. Not bitter at all.
My entree also came with a side, which I selected the fried brussel sprouts with anchovies, capers and walnuts. Totally forgot the picture. Totally ate all of it. I have a serious thing for brussel sprouts right now, and when they are fried with some nutty goodness, they only get better. Hans wouldn’t try them because of the anchovies, but to be honest, I didn’t even notice them. You knew when you were eating a brussel sprout and you knew when you were eating a walnut. Overall, a solid side dish.
I’m happy to report our two entree order left us with plenty of food to satisfy our bellies. We had a lovely time that evening and I would return in a heartbeat. Save up for a nice night out and treat yourself!