Tuesday, December 15, 2009
3280 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA www.h2sr.com
On Friday my friend Jenny and I enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Lola, a Mediterranean restaurant that's part of the Here to Serve Group. (Each Here to Serve restaurant is a different concept with a different menu, so it doesn't meet the definition of "chain" which would exclude it from my reviews.)
I chose the bucatini with roasted tomato cream sauce, green peas and serrano ham ($8). I half expected the ham to be diced and overly pinkish, but instead was rewarded with big, meaty chunks. I like that the chef didn't attempt to overcomplicate what should be a simple but satisfying dish.
The a side I chose (from among the fairly extensive tapas menu) the Tuscan truffle fries with Parmesan and truffle oil ($3). I have noticed that fries with white truffle oil seem to be popping up on Atlanta restaurant menus everywhere, and I keep ordering them because I love the idea, but as usual I was disappointed. If you are a true fan of the heady truffle flavor, you'll feel that the fries come up short in this area. I think if the kitchen added about 50% more oil when making the fries it would result in a marked improvement.
Jenny ordered the spinach and artichoke fondue appetizer, which at $7 costs a little more than my fries, but was extremely generous in portion. This could have been a meal until itself. She also ordered a very fresh and enjoyable salmon salad, a great choice for lunch.
I knew in advance that Lola prizes it's bellini menu, so I expected the sweet drinks to top out at at least $11 each. (Go to Harry's Bar in Venice, home of the original bellini, and you'll pay $14 for about 3 ozs of the delicious liquid.) To my surprise and delight, I found that the bellinis are only $5 each, and they're very good. Jenny enjoyed the standard with peach puree and I selected the blood orange version, which was lovely and bright. There were at least five other possibilities, including blueberry, which I think I'll try next time.
And there will definitely be a next time. The food was good, the service was attentive and swift during the lunch rush hour, and the bellinis are an inexpensive treat.
Note: Don't forget to ask your waiter to validate your parking in the Terminus deck before you leave. It's free up to 2 hours.
Verdict: I'll be back. Try Lola, even if it's just for the bellinis.