I first saw Lolita while wandering around the city with Mike, Chirag, and Big T. No, I don’t mean the movie. Nor the book. Not even the character in said book. I mean the restaurant, near Copley square.
It was the kind of place that you look at twice before realizing that it actually is a place. There’s no sign, no flashy lights or big windows. It’s just a doorway, with a menu in a glass case beside the door. A small red awning covers the entryway.
I wanted to check it out, but we had just started our wandering, and weren’t really ready to sit down for a meal. And by the time we were ready, Daniel had already called us suggesting California Pizza Kitchen.
So I stored it in the back of my head, waiting for a chance to bring it out and explore.
That chance came on the 28th, a Wednesday, when I had occasion to celebrate the fact that I’d started in on setting up a new apartment in Cambridge. I’d already had plans to meet a friend for dinner that night, so I suggested Lolita and no complaints were made.
We headed over, found that there was a line, and put our name down. Then they handed me the little buzzer thing that you see in every restaurant.
“How far does this work?” I ask, “I was kinda hoping we could wander around the city a bit, I’m feeling kinda restless”.
“Ohh!” the hostess replies, “Don’t worry about it. If you leave your phone number, I can give you a call when your table is ready”
And that’s when I realized that this place was freaking awesome.
Seriously. When we sat down, after getting a phone call saying our table was ready, the waitress offered shaved ice as a pallette cleanser. She also offered Tequila (on the house) to flavor said shaved ice. And it wasn’t served in a boring bowl, it was served in a bowl suspended over dry ice, which loosed a light fog over the entire table.
And that fit the atmosphere perfectly. I’ve described the place to friends as “A vampire club… but not stupidly gothy/twilight crap. It’s classy old-school vampire”. That’s really the most complete way to describe the place, in my opinion – it’s in the basement of one of the big buildings off Copley, with stone pillars and dark red walls. The walls have black roses stencled everywhere, and the lights are just low enough to give an edgy vibe, but not so low that you can’t easily see across the room. On the table there are roses (but just the flower) in a small bowl, arranged on top of dark red glass beads.
The food and drink matched – it’s Mexican themed, unsurprisingly, but not your standard-issue Tex-Mex fare. I had “Mexican Winter Stew”, which was a variation on the standard beef stew… all South American style ingredients with just enough spice to make things interesting.
And the drinks were awesome… I felt a bit girly ordering Sangria, but it looked so good… and tasted to match. Red sangria with strawberries and raspberries. It was excellent.
And for dessert? I finally found a place that actually serves good fried ice cream that isn’t Brown Sugar Cafe. No spicyness though… I could have gone with some kind of spicy shell to go with the cool ice cream and the cool atmosphere.
… I think I just wrote a restaurant review. Damnit.