Friday, April 24, 2009

Lolo for Little Bites

We 3 (that's PM above) went to Guadalajaran/Mexican-meets-Turkish tapas joint Lolo in the Mission last week looking for a change of pace, and found exactly what we were looking for. Not your usual fare, Lolo puts out plates bursting with flavors. If you could find fault with anything, you might say that in some cases the spices seem to war with each other—and it's true, not everything was a homerun. But frankly, Lolo is like a refreshing blast of cold air when you've been cooped up inside a stuffy, stale-smelling room that's been putting you to sleep ... That said, I was more than happy to accommodate Lolo's rainbow of flavors, colors and textures. Bring it!

My #1 pick: panko-encrusted, spice-dusted, flash-fried shrimp topped with a tropical relish, wrapped in jicama with a chipotle aioli (which we asked for on the side since MN hates mayo—say it isn't so.). A lot going on here, bien sur, but man, did it make my tastebuds stand up and sing.

My second fave: shrimp and scallop sopes with a side of slightly underseasoned but crispy apple slaw. It worked out well, because the soft sopes were pumped full of seasoning and spices. Any more on this dish would've really put us over the edge.

Duck confit tacos ... simple and delicious. And actually, a welcome contrast in its spare quality compared to the parade of spices strutting their stuff on the dishes preceding it.

Ho-hum huitlacoche (aka "corn smut" that's mushroom-like in flavor) and ricotta-stuffed gyoza with roasted pepper, tomato, squash blossom sauce. The sauce had a ton more flavor than the bland, mealy potstickers.

Though the gyoza were a miss, we got another dish that we loved: the chunky and herbaceous pan-fried zucchini cakes stuffed with pine nuts, goat and feta cheese and drizzled with a mint aioli.

The only real damper to the meal was an out-of-order waiter who—when PM asked for a glass of water after the dinner and tip had been paid (and a very nice tip at that)—rudely reminded us that it was a Friday night and he needed us to give up the table sooner than later (read: Get out now). What an ass. On our way out, I counted exactly one other 3-top waiting outside and seating for 6 still available ... so if push came to shove, they could just as easily have broken that table up and given it to them.

Nothing like snotty waitstaff to keep you away from a restaurant, no matter how good ...

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