Saturday, July 16, 2005


Last week we went to Lola, the newest restaurant in Tom Douglas's Seattle food empire. Lola advertises itself as "greek-inspired," and indeed much of the menu has a greek influence, though much of it has a more middle-eastern flavor.

This is the third Tom Douglas restaurant I've been to, and they all seem to share certain features: well-prepared, interesting food, comfortable, funky-cool interiors, and very competent, pleasant, and personable staff. It definitely takes effort to keep that up across several restaurants, and Douglas pulls it off.

We started with a couple of the spreads and some pita. We chose the minty feta spread and the tzatziki. Note that the latter comes as a side with the dolmades, so if you're ordering the dolmades and some spreads, choose another one unless you want a lot of tzatsiki. The pita was the fluffy greek kind, not the thinner "pocket" kind from the levant. It was lightly grilled and drizzled with olive oil, and was very yummy.

The dolmades were perhaps the tastiest we've ever had. Dolmades are grape leaves stuffed with rice and other ingredients. I think ours had currants in them. They were very fresh tasting, with a sweet-herby flavor.

For a main course, we shared a tagine of goat, apples, and garbanzo beans. It was phenomenally good. The goat was extremely tender and flavorful, not as strong tasting as the goat I've had in birria at Mexican restaurants in East Oakland. It also had some sauteed greens. For a side dish we had horta, which was a bowl of red chard and pea tendrils, which tasted like it had a bit of vinegar to add some kick.

For dessert, I had the "donuts," which were basically what I always wanted the loukomades that you get at Greek festivals to be: warm yeasty golden-fried balls served with honey and walnuts. I mentioned the comparison to Victoria, our waitress (who was really great and lots of fun) and she told me that they used to call them loukomades on the menu, but nobody would order them. Debbie had the goat milk pie, which was really good also.

All in all, a great meal: fabulous food, great service, fun atmosphere.