Food Coma in Cleveland: Lola Bistro

This post comes with an earworm. I know this because every time I think about writing this post, this is what I hear in my head.

You’re Welcome.

Also? It’s gonna be a long one…

I recently had to go to Cleveland for work. I spent quite a bit of time in the Federal Building which was.. fun… ish. Actually, I really did enjoy my time in Cleveland which was really surprising to me. I was shocked at how much of a “foodie” destination it totally could be. Yes I said Foodie.. yes I still hate that word.  More on that later.

The minute I learned I was going to be spending 48 hours or so in the “home” of Drew Carey, I scoped out the food scene because the hotel we stayed at, although lovely, did not have a restaurant. On their website, they listed Lola Bistro as one of the places that was within walking distance.
The sign at Lola

You’ll probably be surprised to hear this, but I really didn’t know it was Michael Symon’s restaurant until I peeked at the website. Honestly, I chose to go there because of the menu, not because of who owns it, because let’s be honest: Michael Symon is not **cooking** here. Hell, it may not even be his menu. Based on my experience, however, I can tell you that Chef Symon should be more than proud to put his name on this place.

It was probably one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had.


I know I may seem like the adventurous type to some of you, but honestly. I’m not. But I was someplace that I figured they would not fuck up something I wouldn’t normally eat so I was totally gonna go for it.

I ordered the bone marrow to start.  It took me a few minutes to work up the nerve because I have spent WAY too much time listening to my dogs slurp bone marrow out of soup bones.  It looks…  not delicious.

But I ordered it anyway.

If you are wondering where the bone marrow is in this picture, it’s the little “sticks” on the right..
Here.. let me show you… where-is-the-marrow
Evidently, they take it out of the bone, soak it in salt water to get the blood out and then toss with flour and pan fry. Seriously, how they manage to make it melty but yet firm enough to spread on toast… I can’t even.. it must require a magic wand and a prayer. Skillz.. they have them.

The toast that comes with it is grilled, so you do get the charred flavor that would be missing since bones are not roasted like they are usually served… so I hear. I dunno.. never had the roasted stuff.

Clockwise from bottom right, we have a smokey buttermilk dressing (and it was just smokey enough), lemon slices, pickled shallots, maldon salt, fresh parsley and bacon date jam.

Imma just gonna leave that there and give you a minute to absorb the awesome..

ready? ok. moving on.

I schmeared the marrow alone on some of that toast because I wanted to taste this unadulterated.

I moaned… out loud. Thank goodness I was seated alone outside because the sound I made required a XXX rating. Not kidding.

I had the decency to blush a little bit.

And then I dug in like an animal.

The marrow ran down my chin.. I considered sucking on the napkin that I wiped my face with. It was THAT good. But other diners had shown up at this point and it was little to uncouth, even for me. I also considered asking the waitress to bring me ANOTHER order. I kinda wish I did.

For my entree, I also ordered something I wouldn’t normally. Fish. yup.. this fish-a-phobe ordered the Halibut with Mussels.

You know on TV when they say “the fish had a nice crust on it”? I get it now.
There is fennel fronds, new potatoes, mussels and something else I forget in a truffle dashi broth. Also amazing.
Right here is where I wished I had thought to sop up the broth with the bread they gave me when I sat down (which was nothing special.. mediocre actually)

Oh!there were some amazing craft beers on the menu as well as a few “commercial” ones but I didn’t have much as I wanted one.. because I got all turned around finding the place and I’m a lightweight. I was afraid I’d be wandering around Cleveland all hours of the night trying to get 5 blocks back to the hotel. For the record, the waitress did offer to have someone walk me back..

The full menu for your viewing pleasure. (forgot to snap the beer menu.. sorry)

I also forgot to snap the dessert menu.. there was your standard stuff with a bit of a Symon Spin but whenever a cheese plate is offered, I’m gonna order it. I have a little bit of a love affair with cheese.


Don’t ask me what these are.. I have no idea.. what I do know is they were FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC and I couldn’t finish them because OMG.. full.

So the waitress packed them up for me… I ate them in my hotel room about two hours later. When I opened the box, I found this!
This is the actual little dish that my compote was in.. I know it probably cost them $0.25 to buy.. but I get a little excited over the little things.. and now I have a fun little memento from my experience.

Oh! Dinner for one with sparkling water, appetizer, entree and dessert was about $80.00 in a casual environment. Nothing fancy here.. just amazing food.. and a wait staff that obviously wanted to make you feel at home. I had no idea what knife or fork to use with the marrow.. I’m sure I did it wrong. But I felt so comfortable I didn’t even care.

If you ever get out to Cleveland GO to Lola. I’m trying to find a reason to head back.