Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lolita Restaurant in Cleveland

When people think about Cleveland, their food scene is not the first thing that comes in mind. In fact when people think of Cleveland, it's usually in a negatively or make fun of light. And I can understand that because:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers no longer have Lebron James.
2. Cleveland Browns are consistently bad, which isn't bad since I'm a Steelers fan.
3. Economy isn't the greatest though it's getting a little better.
4. Carl Monday(Google him and you'll know why I put him on the list)

However, one thing that Cleveland has going for is their food scene and I can thank Michael Symon for contributing positively to Cleveland's food scene. If you're not familiar with Michael Symon, he is a celebrity chef from Cleveland who has made his mark on television shows and books. His dishes at his restaurants are modern American with many of them using local ingredients. I like him because he's passionate about cooking, entertaining, his food is delicious as I will tell you shortly.

We were in town visiting a family friend, and we decided despite all the negativity surrounding Cleveland we should check the city out. I wanted to check out his restaurants, and we decided to go with Lolita as opposed to Lola or B Spot Burgers which I imagine are also pretty good. We had an 8:30 reservation at the restaurant and made it at precisely 8:30. Even with a GPS, that's pretty good for not knowing Cleveland. The inside of the restaurant was dark, modern, with unique lights and candles.

We ordered an appetizer and we got duck meatballs, which had tomato sauce, basil, and Parmesan reggiano on top of them. I've never had them before, but I was impressed. It's one of the fattier meatballs I've had, but there was a lot of flavor in them. I could be just happy eating it plain.

As for my entree, I got a duck confit with local butternut squash puree and mustardo vinaigrette. Normally I don't order the same meat for appetizer and entree, but I normally don't eat duck and I order it when the opportunity arises. The duck was juicy, fatty, and the puree and vinaigrette gave the duck an extra flavor profile to it. I'm not a big fan butternut squash, but in puree form I can eat that. However, the best part was the duck's crispy skin. It was flavorful, crunchy, and just so damn good. Michael Symon if you are reading this I would recommend this as an appetizer dish. For the side dish, I got their local crispy potatoes that had oregano, chili flake and orange zest. When taking a bite on it, I could feel the heat from the chili flake. While the potatoes were good, I wish it would have been more like french fries as opposed to roasted potatoes. But that's just personal preference.

All in all, this restaurant was worth staying in Cleveland. This was the first time I've been to Symon's restaurants and when I go back to Cleveland I will definitely check out his other establishments. I left Cleveland impressed, and I hope the city keeps up with their improving food scene. As far as there sports scene, I hope it stays the same :).

Lolita Restaurant

Lolita on Urbanspoon

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