Last weekend was Folsom Street Fair, and we had friends visiting town for the event. It was Saturday night, we were all famished, and I had let everyone down. I’d forgotten—gasp—to make dinner reservations.
Thankfully I remembered a tip from Marcia over at Tablehopper. There was a “cute new restaurant” alert in her newsletter about Lolo, a LatAm/Mediterranean newcomer in the Mission. Turns out, they don’t take reservations, so I was totally off the hook. I passed off my negligence as a sense of adventure. “Hey guys, I thought I’d take you to this brand new restaurant. Nobody even knows about it yet!” Except for the gazillion people who read Tablehopper. But whatever.
We waltzed in at 7:30 and got a table for four. (Don’t expect this phenomenon to last. The restaurant is tiny, and the Mission is hungry like the wolf.) Our waitress turned out to be as delightful as the décor. Now, usually, when I use the word “delightful,” you can be 99% certain I’m being facetious. But in this case, it’s actually the most appropriate word. Our waitress was a peach—sweet and genuine—and the interior reminded me of mojito-buzzed holiday in Mexico. It was a Technicolor daydream, with seagull-shaped mirrors and soothing ocean sounds pumped over speakers in the bathroom. It could have been overwhelming, but instead, it felt comfortable and unpretentious. The space fit the neighborhood.
There weren’t any vegetarian large plates (tsk, tsk), so I made due with two small ones. I started with the Happy Boy Organic Heirloom Tomatoes, with Feta Mousse, Kalamata Olives, Oregano, and Chive Oil. The mousse was interesting verging on delicious—feta’s lighter, whipped cousin. Then I opted for the Huitlacoche and Ricotta Stuffed Gyoza with Roasted Pepper, Tomato, and Squash Blossom Sauce. The gyoza kind of feel flat for me, despite my excitement over trying Huitlacoche for the first time. (It’s corn smut, by the way. A fungus that most American farmers treat as a pest, while in Mexico, it’s considered good-eats. Wikipedia claims “Huitlacoche” comes from the Aztec word for “raven’s excrement”. How fun is that?) Anyway, the little buggers just kind of sat there on the plate, phoning it in. I was disappointed. I mean, when there’s raven poop rolled up in your pasta, your mouth expects a party, am I right?
I’m going to give them some time, though. It was only their second week, after all, and the place has tons of potential. If nothing else, I love their attitude: organic and local on multiple levels. Yet another reason to adore the Mission.
No website yet: Check out Lolo in person. 3234 22nd Street.