The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
Normally, I dont love tapas. Give me a huge plate of pasta from Ginos in Manhasset, or a large meatball panino from Red Tomato in East Norwich, or a big bowl of borscht from Silvers in Southampton, and Ill be thinking the world is a good place.
At Lola in Great Neck, globe-trotting chef-owner Michael Ginor has always emphasized small plates, but he recently converted the restaurant to an all-tapas menu. His cuisine has gotten even more refined over the last few years, so beautifully executed that Im now a convert and have already told everyone I know that they have to get a reservation. (Newsday critic Peter M. Gianotti has awarded Lola 3-1/2 stars.)
To start, tiny diced red beets with a generous helping of burrata on top, so sweet and tangy that I was not happy to spare even a forkful with my friend. Then Korean fried chicken, dark meat of course, that was crisp, tangy, and artfully burnished.
On the five-course $40 tasting menu came an heirloom tomato salad with watermelon and feta, seared foie gras with grilled peaches, day boat scallops served in a shell, a plate of roasted fresh figs, and one of rounds of beef over paprika-laced whipped potatoes. And there are dozens of more plates to choose from, running about $7 to $20 each.
Lola also now offers a Sunday brunch featuring such dishes as a Yemenite layered dough with overnight eggs and tomato concusses and fresh-baked focaccia filled with a sunnyside egg and aged Cheddar with preserved lemon-dressed arugula. Prices run $12 to $18 for the main courses.
Lola is at 113 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-466-5666, restaurantlola.com