Alex Bujoreanu, Long Island’s itinerant tapas evangelist, has landed at Lola’s Craft Kitchen & Cocktails in Long Beach. The chef, who opened Viaggio Tapas in Rockville Centre (in 2014) and Toro Tapas and Tequila in Patchogue (in 2016), most recently was the executive chef at Coral in East Moriches, which earned three stars from Newsday and was named one of our Top Latin restaurants for 2018. (Bujoreanu left Coral in July, but the kitchen is in the capable hands of his former sous chef Roberto Leon.)
Lola’s, which opened in Long Beach in 2008, was closed by owner Marco McCarthy in January for a reboot. When it reopened in May, the tropical decor had been replaced with more Hamptonian restraint, and chef Jeffery Slade, formerly of Madison’s on Hillside (Williston Park) and The Farmhouse (Greenport) came aboard as executive chef. Slade departed this summer, and now Bujoreanu has created a new menu, which blends Spanish and New American elements.
Starters include raw clams and oysters, cheese and meat boards (with an emphasis on Spain), soups and salads. The “appetizer” menu features new standards such as pepper-crusted tuna and Brussels sprouts, but also classic tapas such as garlic shrimp, grilled octopus, patatas bravas and croquettes. First courses range from $8 to $16.
Mains, $22 to $29, include grilled pork chop with parsnip puree, skirt steak with purple potatoes and shishito peppers, short ribs with garlic-dill roasted potatoes. There are also four traditional paellas, each made to order with imported bomba rice and serving two ($35 to $40).
Bujoreanu, raised and trained in Spain, cooked at such well-known Spanish restaurants in Manhattan as Barca, Plan B and Soccarat before venturing east to Long Island. He also consults with restaurants around the world.
Lola’s Craft Kitchen & Cocktails is at 180 W. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-442-1090