Lola Lo Lo Lo Lo Lola

2006.Jan.16 Monday · 6 comments

in Drink, Restaurants

Henry and Damian at LolaBuenos Aires – I’m just a soft touch, that’s the problem. I’d like to think not, but such is life. Somehow or other, last night, out walking around with Henry and his friend Damian, looking for a nice, casual, simple, and inexpensive plate of pasta, I let myself be talked into being seated at a table at Lola, corner of Guido and Junín, in Recoleta. Not that I didn’t want to go there, I was just sort of saving it for a special occasion. You know, one of those moments where dropping 100 pesos a person just on the food seems like a good idea. (Yes, yes, I know, $30 per person for high end dining would be nothing in New York, but here, it’s a lot.) So the three of us found ourselves, a bit under-dressed (though it was a mixed crowd, some elegantly attired, others in ripped jeans and midriff exposing tube tops or t-shirts, however, notedly, all tourists from one country or another), seated in a very light, airy room, with beautiful flower arrangements, artwork, white tablecloths, and suited (black, double-breasted) captains with reading glasses perched on their noses (strangely, all the captains were wearing them…). [Closed at beginning of June 2013]

Lola - Parmesan and Gruyere Beggar’s PurseAlthough billed as “international” in style, I’d put Lola pretty firmly in the classic French cuisine camp. Service was impeccable throughout the evening. I think this is one of the first places in Buenos Aires where a waiter has approached shortly after being seated and asked if we’d care for an aperitif before we peruse the menus (not that I haven’t been offered something to drink first before, but it’s usually “do you want anything to drink?” as opposed to “would you care for an aperitif?”) Neither of the boys drink, so I ordered a glass of Luigi Bosca Malbec Reserve 2003 for myself – excellent red, classic Malbec with dark plum and black cherry flavors, a touch of spice, noticeable but not overdone oak. We settled into the menu, and my charges ordered a platter of poached shrimp with avocado and hearts of palm (fresh), served with a housemade Salsa Golf; and a beautifully presented sort of giant “beggar’s purse” of filo pastry wrapped around melted parmesan and gruyere cheeses, served atop a zucchini and carrot sauce. Both dishes excellent!

Lola - in preparation for making steak tartareRoughly once a year, I find myself at some really classic style French restaurant that offers a traditional Steak Tartare. There it was on Lola’s menu, and I asked the waiter if it was truly a traditional one, because who knows here? It could have easily been a mix of a variety of local seasonings and sauces, some sort of reinterpretation. He assured me that it was about as classic as one could get, and, that of course, with Argentine Beef (stated in tones that were clearly there to emphasize the quality to a tourist such as myself), it could be nothing less than one of the finest experiences I could have. I’ll tell you right now, unsurprisingly, that it was one of the better tartares I’ve had, especially from the standpoint of the beef. It was a bit overly generous in portion – easily 8-10 ounces of coarsely chopped steak, and mixed table side with an offering of a variety of condiments and additions – Lola - steak tartare, ready to eatI left it up to our waiter, only telling him I wanted it very traditional. He mixed in the accompanying egg yolk, chopped capers, parsley, and shallots, before turning his attention to the array of sauces. A touch of Tabasco, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauces, salt and freshly ground pepper, and a little wine vinegar, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil, and turned out onto a plate with a mixed green salad. It really was a treat, and I’m good for another year. Henry, to his credit, though clearly somewhat horrified that I would eat such a thing (raw food is not in his repertoire, and he regularly chastizes me for eating sushi, or even raw vegetables – other than salad greens and tomatoes), just averted his eyes, our friend Damian on the other hand, politely sampled it and pronounced it good.

On to the main courses, all beautifully presented, classically made, and delicious: puff pastry encased salmón blanco, stuffed with a mushroom duxelles and served over an herbed cream sauce; duck a l’orange, fanned out and accompanied by orange segments, cherries, and boiled turnips (which were the only disappointment, they were very watery tasting – would have probably been great if they’d been roasted or braised); and a nearly whole quail (oddly missing one leg) filled with a chestnut and shallot stuffing, and served with a classic brown reduction sauce and braised leeks, shallots, and glazed chestnuts on the side. That’s all about as traditionally French fare as you can get. We had no room for dessert, but next time there’s a special occasion, or I just get talked into it again, we’ll try to manage.

Lola - Salmon blanco in puff pastry

Lola - Duck a l’orange

Lola - Quail with Chestnut stuffing

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