In June 2008, when we first reviewed the then-shiny-and-new Bolla, we were disappointed by inconsistencies in both food and service. More than a year later, we’re happy to report that things have evened out a bit. Service was neither too intrusive nor too absent; it was just right. The food, thankfully, had more highlights than lowlights, and the fixed-price format is smartly set at $45 for three courses or $55 for four.
Arugula insalata was simple and perfect, with house-made ricotta, fresh cracked pepper, and bits of fried onion for crunch. Roasted beet salad, on the other hand, was strange. It arrived with a mound of amaretto crème fraîche better suited to a chocolate torte. I loved the grassy earthiness of a little nest of micro greens, but the melting cubes of Camembert seemed like the wrong choice of cheese. To me, beets are better paired with—dare I say it—our old friend blue.
When the second course arrived, things suddenly turned brighter. Potato gnocchi was a knockout, thanks to a zesty, lemony artichoke-tomato confit with halved yellow and red grape tomatoes, cooked just until soft. Mains, too, were spot-on. Salmon had a crispness to the exterior, thanks to an expert sauté in the pan, and espresso-rubbed lamb chops were melty tender. To some, these portions are probably small—a fist-sized salmon fillet, two little chops—but, honestly, it’s the amount of food we should be eating, so you’ll hear no complaints from me.
Desserts—Bolla “tiramisu” and cheesecake cannoli—were pitiful. The former, made with chocolate phyllo, was just too fragile to enjoy; the filling on the latter tasted artificial, like a cheap knockoff of real cheesecake.
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