Met a friend at Bar Lola last night as part of a group outing that had canceled down to two, so we decided to just stick with the reservation and give it a try. This was one of the most disappointing meals I've had in Boston in a long time. The space inside was nice, very cozy and warm. After we were seated, the server gave us ample time to pick out a bottle of wine and a few tapas to start. We had a bottle of tempranillo that was decent and reasonably priced ($38) and then ordered the patatas bravas, beef tenderloin w goat/bleu cheese sauce, and sauteed artichokes w garlic and lemon. Where to begin.
The patatas bravas were the most successful dish out of the group. The potatoes were cubed, pan fried decently and then had the classic "angry" red pepper sauce and a not too flavorful aglio olio drizzled across the top. The dish needed more salt but overall was OK.
The second dish we ordered was described as beef tenderloin with a goat and bleu cheese sauce. What came out were two grayish pieces of beef that looked like they belonged on a middle school lunch tray. The texture seemed like it had been microwaved, and it had absolutely no salt or spices. Dipping the beef into the sauce was marginally better.
The third and least impressive dish was the artichokes. These were clearly canned artichoke hearts that had been heated up and then mixed with sliced garlic, oil and a lemon quarter on the side that looked like it belonged in a bar set, not as garnish on a dish.
We ordered one more dish since a.) we were still hungry having picked at all of the dishes and b.) we really didn't want the meal to actually turn out as bad as it had been going. We ordered the vegetable and cheese fritters with manchego on top and a garlic dipping sauce, figuring it would be difficult to mess up something fried. The fritters were decent, mostly tasting like carrots, but the dipping sauce on the side was literally pureed garlic. One bite of it and garlic is all we could taste, so at that point we got the check and moved on to deux ave for some cocktails.
Lesson learned: I'll stick to toro and estragon for tapas.
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