Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar, Back Bay, Boston

Boston is known for many things, being ultra trendy is not one of them.  There are, of course, spots around town that are chic, that push the limits, however these are exceptions rather than rules.  I have heard the buzz about Lolita's Cocina and Tequila Bar since it opened a couple months back, but when I walked through their doors a few nights ago, I was completely unprepared for the scene that quickly unfolded before my eyes.  The hostess greeted us and took our name for a table, entering the information on the ultra hip iPad, and then alerted us to the two hour wait we'd endure.  Apparently, everyone knows that Lolita is the place to be seen...

When faced with a two hour wait at a restaurant, I think there is no better idea of what to do with the extra time then head to the bar and savor a cocktail or two.  Luckily, Lolita has two bars, and so my friends and I settled in to explore their cocktail menu, and enjoy the evening.  Now- I don't often spend much time on drinks, mainly because I am much more of a wine girl, but when you're in a Mexican style restaurant- can you really escape without one of their fun concoctions?  I think not.  I started my evening off with the Diablo -a mix of fruit juices, a Serrano pepper and tequila served in a spice rimmed glass.  While I didn't get too much heat from the drink itself, and most of the rim was pepper and not overly spicy, I enjoyed the idea behind this.  The fruit juices- blood orange, pineapple and strawberry were pleasantly sweet, and countered the pungent flavor of the tequila well.  Just after we moved on to our second drinks of the evening, our beeper rang and we were seated in just about an hour and a half.  With good company- that time flew by.

Lolita's definitely goes for the wow factor with their red tinged room and lounge atmosphere, right down to the amuse bouche served at the table.  Just after we were seated our waitress arrived carrying a dry ice smoking bowl of frozen grapefruit that she doused in tequila before checking our drinks and offering water.  A fun, liquor filled starter seemed like the right way to start off the dining portion of the evening to me.  I loved the combination here- the icy cold fruit, sweet tart by its nature paired with the unmistakable flavor of tequila- it was a very unique treat.  Several moments later, after it was thoroughly enjoyed and the smoke had died down, the remains were whisked away and a basket of warm tortilla chips were placed in front of us with a red salsa, smokey with chipotle peppers, a mild queso, and a salsa verde- chunky and acidic with just a touch of heat.  Then, just as we began to dig into the chips and salsa, our waitress returned with a bottle of Habenero Mango puree-which was sweet and spicy-perfectly flavored and absolutely delicious.  

We ordered a side of their classic Guacamole.  Now, if you've been reading A Boston Food Diary for any length of time- you might realise I'm a bit of a guacamole snob.  I'll eat basically any of it (I'm obsessed), but I have very strong and loud opinions when it isn't up to par.  Lolita's was good.  It wasn't fantastic, but it was good.  Obviously fresh avocados, good flavor, though a little overly acidic, and could have used a bit more cilantro etc.  Overall though the creamy deliciousness of the natural avocado was there, shining in its glory.

I chose the pulled pork tacos for my entree, billed as seared crispy and served with salsa verde. They were served additionally with pickled onions.  The pork was well flavored, though not especially crispy as advertised.  The lack of crispness was fine, and the fatty flavor of the pork was perfectly offset by the pickled onion and the slightly spicy salsa making for a very satisfying taco.  My only complaint here was that these tacos were served with just a single tortilla, and by my third taco, they were powerless against the liquid of the salsa and melted onto my plate in wet crumble.  

As we had filled ourselves up on chips, guacamole and dinner, we were too full for dessert, however that didn't stop Lolita's from delivering a towering pillar of green apple cotton candy sprinkled with pop rocks to our table.  It is obvious that Lolita's is all about the show, making their deliveries dramatic and their presentations fun, but they also deliver a quality product.  Is it the most authentic tasting Mexican food?  No-but it is solid, and fits a craving- if nothing more than for a very trendy night out.

It must also be noted that despite the trendiness of the place, and their drink menu, I found the prices of their food menu to be really very reasonable.  Their drinks are pricey- and so we found that each round ended up being almost as much as our entire meal.  Word to the wise- Lolita's, for all of it's show stopping "night out" appeal can be obtained on a budget-but stay away from their drinks if that's a concern. 


Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar on Urbanspoon

7 comments:

In and Around Town said...

Great Review! I have attempted going there twice only to be hit with lines to get in or a two hour wait with no room at the bar - I am still curious to go an see what it is all about though!

mmc said...

So funny - they have one of these in Greenwich CT & just recently opened a "sister location" in Norwalk called Red Lulu. I didnt realize they'd expanded beyond CT! Fun for drinks & apps - very trendy!

Daisy said...

loved the review! nicely written and it definitely does Lolita justice.

Jen said...

yet another place I haven't been... good to know the food is decent.

Anonymous said...

Your insight view is valueble for our team. Thanks!

Megan said...

Nice review. I went when they first opened (on a Wed night) and really had a great time. They weren't overly trendy at that point, and the restaurant was pretty quiet. I really enjoyed the guacamole and the corn and crab vertical nachos -- though I find the vertical nacho concept really bizarre.

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

Great review! I had a pretty similar experience my last visit (2 hr wait) but, unfortunately, there were some major service/food blunders. My first visit was excellent. I think they're working out some of their kinks and learning to handle their extreme popularity. I'm glad your experience was pretty positive!

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