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Whole-roasted Hudson Valley duck is served at Lola,

Whole-roasted Hudson Valley duck is served at Lola, a restaurant in Great Neck featuring the cooking of chef Michael Ginor. (Nov. 15, 2009) Photo Credit: Kirsten Luce

LOCATION INFO

113A Middle Neck Rd. Great Neck, NY 11021

516-466-5666

restaurantlola.com

Cost

$$$ (Expensive)

Ambience

Very Good

Service

Excellent

Description

Lola in Great Neck has remade itself, with a more casual style, more moderate prices ... More »

Brilliant, volatile, high-risk, Michael Ginor's Lola rockets into Long Island like a comet.

For Ginor, forceful foie gras purveyor and globe-trotting gourmand, it's a haute fantasy in small plates and big flavors. Ginor, president and co-founder of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, also runs Tel Aviv eatery, a kosher mezze-merizer nearby on Middle Neck Road. Here, the restless restaurateur and co-chef Itay Skoropa put on an extravagant show.

Their stage flaunts exposed brick and polished wood, tropical flowers and exotic ingredients. TV screens quietly deliver art-house movies. But demanding diners glance only occasionally at a DVD of Cocteau's "Beauty and the Beast" or Olmi's "Il Posto." They're already in for a double-feature of dreamy compositions and coming-of-age drama. Lola is a performance.

THE BEST

Ginor's menu changes daily but always is a playful, audacious experiment by someone who can and will take chances. His "grand plates" for two-plus naturally include a whole roasted foie gras. There's a slightly less-rich, dry-aged rib-eye steak with bone-marrow flan; and whole roasted duck with Brussels sprout leaves that are threaded with chicken cracklings - both excellent.

Tasting plates: a perfect baked scallop in roe-flecked sauce; the "tandoori inspired" venison chop with apricot chutney; a velvety block of braised short rib with Thai red curry and coconut-creamed black rice; the savory fricassee of cipollini onions, mushrooms, chestnuts, haricots verts.

The adventures continue with pan-seared foie gras paired with truffle-honey glazed cipollini onions, roasted chestnuts and sweetbread nuggets; and kabocha squash soup surrounding an island of Parmesan custard, floating herbed gnocchi. Sundaes deliver tastes from chocolate-espresso-vodka to black currant and blood orange.

THE REST

Ginor's poutine takes the Quebecois combo of sauced French fries and cheese to rarefied excess with foie gras and black truffle. Miso-minded preparations of butterfish and cod, and amaretto-pumpkin ravioli overdo sweetness. More curious than clever: "hot dog" with kimchee; heirloom tomato ice cream, yuzu-cream napoleon; the warm doughnuts.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Shooting stars.

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