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Brunch at Lola in Great Neck: Memorable
Brunch, in my experience, is almost always a bust — a litany of overdone omelets, boring Benedicts, forgettable French toast (invariably garnished with orange slices). The kitchen crew is rarely invested in the enterprise, and they figure you won't care, either, if you’re plied with enough mimosas.
Sunday brunch at Lola in Great Neck is a horse of a very different color.
The menu, by chef-owner Michael Ginor and brunch chefs Billy Decaneo and Ricky Denis, lists a dozen items and, with the exception of pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream, each is a carefully wrought culinary conceit. (For an extra $5, those pancakes can be topped with seared foie gras.)
Some of the modern Israeli spirit that infused Ginor’s late, lamented Tel Aviv has been resurrected: The Israeli breakfast ($18) consists of an omelet (your choice of fillings) with fresh-baked flatbread, Israeli salad and condiments.
I went for the exotic “mallawach & eggs” ($12), a rich, flaky Yemenite flatbread topped with caramelized onions, cheese, tomato concasse and two perfectly over-easy eggs. One pal got “devils in the hole” ($12) focaccia that had been filled with two eggs and then baked, drizzled with sriracha hot sauce and served with a salad of arugula dressed with preserved-lemon vinaigrette. My other pal got the duck hash ($15), a savory mixture of confit, potato, scallion and piquillo pepper topped with a sunny-side-up egg, duck crackling and chipotle aioli.
These three dishes were enough to feed more than six people, but I also ordered some lobster rolls (2 for $20). Good call. The meat had been poached — with truffles no less — into silky tenderness. Instead of hot dog buns, Lola employed homemade Korean milk buns, sweet, soft Asian bread with a lovely glazed finish.
Still to try: mesquite-smoked brisket hash, Kobe sliders, steak and eggs, Caesar salad and two distinctly not-boring Benedicts, one with that same truffle-poached lobster, the other with duck eggs, smoked duck and duck prosciutto.
Lola is at 113 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-466-5666.