Review of Lola (113A Middle Neck Road, Great Neck)


Lola

The fanciest restaurant in Great Neck

If you’re in the mood for the kind of fancy food that you usually find in high-end Manhattan restaurants, definitely check out Lola. The food is beautifully prepared and exquisite tasting. Although the fill up, be prepared for a Manhattan-esque price tag as well.

Rating by steve: 4.5 stars
****1/2

If you’re in the mood for fancy, frou-frou food of the kind you’d find in Manhattan’s top restaurants, your choice in Great Neck is Lola.

Lola was founded by Chef Michael Gignor, who also co-founded Hudson Valley Foie Gras, a world reknowned distributor of foie gras to fine restaurants everywhere. Gignor opened Mediterranean restaurant TLV in 2007, and in 2009 he opened Lola, which specializes in new American cuisine.

To go to Lola, you need to plan carefully, as their hours and menu can be a bit confusing. Here’s the schedule:

Lunch:
Tuesday through Friday from 12:00p to 3:00p (Tapas menu)

Dinner:
Tuesday from 5:30p to 10:00p (Tapas menu)
Wednesday from 5:30p to 10:00p
Thursday from 5:30p to 11:00p
Friday from 5:30p to 11:00p
Saturday from 5:30p to 11:00p
Sunday from 4:00p to 10:00p (Tapas menu)

For those of you not familiar with Tapas, it’s a Spanish word meaning “a quarter of the portion at a half of the price” :). But seriously, it means “finger food”. And I strongly recommend it for your first visit to Lola on Sunday or Tuesday, because it lets you sample more of the creative and exquisite menu items. If you like one, you can come on Wednesday through Saturday and order the full dish.

Here’s what we ordered:

Creamy Black Truffle Polenta with Balsamic Glazed Forest Mushrooms
truffle polenta at lola in great neck

Brussel Sprouts, Crispy, Sweet, Salty, Spicy
brussel sprouts never tasted so good!

Garlic Shrimp with Lobster Bisque Emulsion
garlic shrimp at lola of great neck

Seared Salmon with Arugula, Jerusalem Artichoke, and Truffle Sauce
seared salmon at lola

Kobe Beef Burger and Foie Gras Slider
kobe beef slider with foie gras at lola of great neck

Duck Breast and Leg Confit with Thai Red Curry, Pineapple, Lychee, and Black Rice
duck breast and leg confit at lola

If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are six thousand words for you. The presentation of all the dishes were exquisite, far more elegant than anything I’ve ever had in Great Neck. The dishes were all beautifully presented. The kobe beef and foie gras slider in particular was like a work of art. Many of the dishes had an interesting green herb oil that added both an interesting presentation and a unique flavor.

Some of the best dishes, not surprisingly, were the dishes that had duck in them, namely the beef slider with foie gras and the duck confit. Duck is obviously their specialty, as you see parts of the duck in many dishes (duck confit, foie gras, duck prosciutto, duck salami, roast duck breast, peking duck slider). Seems that every part of the duck is used except for the quack.

Certain dishes were a tad too rich and salty for me. The brussel sprouts dish had a wonderful texture and flavor, but it had just too much salt. I found out later on the Web site that they do accommodate special dietary requirements, so I should have asked them to cut down on the salt.

My favorite dish of the night was the black truffle polenta you see above–it was rich and creamy like polenta should be, with fresh, wonderfully textured mushrooms.

The decor of the restaurant was one of the best I’ve seen in Great Neck. It was a beautiful contemporary design that rivals some of the best designed restaurants you’ll find in the City. In fact, the entire experience was probably the closest experience I’ve had to a fancy Manhattan restaurant experience in Great Neck, without the hassle of going into the City.

That said, there were definitely things that prevent me from giving it five stars (which I’ll reserve for “drop everything you’re doing and go to this restaurant NOW” type restaurants). While the service was friendly, my water glass was left unfilled all night. And while it may be a matter of taste, literally, I would have gone for more subtlety on some of the flavors and combinations. Still, in a town where you can already find great pizza, great sushi, and a great pastrami sandwich, it’s nice to see fine dining options here too.

Lola

4.5 stars of 5
113A Middle Neck Road
Great Neck, NY 11021

(516) 466-5666

Hours:
Tue-Wed 5:30pm – 10pm
Fri-Sat 5:30pm – 11pm
Su 4pm – 10pm

Category:New American
Price Range: $$$ ($10-22 average price per tapas entree, $20-35 average price per dinner entree. For special occasions, you may want the $60 five-course tasting menu, the $80 seven course tasting menu, or the whole roasted Hudson Valley Roast Duck with Seared Foie Gras for $75)
Takes Reservations: Yes

Lola on Urbanspoon