LOLA’S LAID-BACK CHARM

Byline: Holly Haber

It was a sad day when Nick Barclay closed the doors to his namesake gourmet restaurant here and flew his family back to England to open a boutique hotel.
But there is a happy ending: The folks who bought his dishes and pots and leased the little cottage on Fairmount Street that housed Barclays have produced a worthy successor.
Lola is a similarly intimate dining experience with an intriguing menu and attentive service. And to make things simple, it’s all fixed-price at $32 for two courses, $40 for three and $47 for four.
“It’s a quaint, high-end place that is just about the food and service and ambience,” says owner Van Roberts. “It’s not so much a scene or bar scene or hangout; it’s more a place where people love to come to eat.”
No wonder, given that the menu offers mouth-watering appetizers like crab Napoleon with creole mustard, Pamesan and truffle souffle with port demiglaze or wild mushroom soup with creme fraiche and pomegranate syrup.
Moving to the main course, check out the grilled venison with white cheddar grits and wilted greens; pistachio-crusted rack of lamb with mint feta couscous and cucumber yogurt or grilled lobster with wild mushroom asparagus risotto. All vegetables are organically grown.
Lola’s decor is low key and homey, with hardwood floors and mustard-yellow walls hung with original landscapes and still lifes that were painted by the owner’s mother, Maxine Roberts.
Roberts, who by day operates Point West Volvo in nearby Irving, opened Lola to satisfy a longtime desire to operate a restaurant.
Although he signed up friend Jamie Samford from the popular Angeluna restaurant in downtown Fort Worth as chef, Roberts can’t stay out of the kitchen.
He likes to create Lola’s fanciful desserts himself, like the deliciously surprising warm strawberries in a cinnamon port glaze served in a martini glass.
“When I got into desserts, I did it every night for about a year until I mastered it,” he recalled. “I would take the desserts to work the next day, and people would stand and wait for me to show up.”
Roberts is so devoted to the wine list that he has expanded the building three times in the past year to store Lola’s 700-plus vintages.
“I have a really diverse wine cellar,” he asserted, adding, “I have all the best houses of Bordeaux covered for 1959, which was a great vintage.”
Lola is open from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. 2917 Fairmount Street, 214-855-0700.