Lava Noshery is one of the most recent restaurants in Brookside, taking on the same locale and look of Table Ten, but with a new angle.
Molten magma is "hot" and so is Brookside these days, but with the departure of En Fuengo, comes another restaurant intent on turning up the culinary heat.
New Yorkers instinctively know nosh is a Yiddish term for "a snack food as something to temporarily tide a person's hunger, provide a brief supply of energy for the body, or something to be eaten for enjoyment of the taste." A noshery is thus a "snack bar", but we get a little more nouveau sophistication at Lava, with meals labeled "Big Nosh" and "Little Nosh."
Lava Noshery features little plates or noshes, as well as the big noshes designed by Chef Geoffrey van Glabbeek, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. Lava incorporates a contemporary and eclectic approach to presentation and execution combined with a comfortable, relaxed environment.
"Seasonal and artistic, high-quality ingredients will be a common thread in the menu at Lava Noshery," says van Glabbeek. "We will be working very closely with local producers to achieve this goal," which is the trend these days among restaurateurs.
The atmosphere is basically the same, with the addition of a large screen monitor of continuous scenes of flowing lava. The lunch menu includes Appetizers, Soup, Greens, Sandwiches and Pasta. The dinner menu includes sections called Soup & Steamed, Greens, Big Nosh (Entrees), Prix-Fixe, Chef's Table; also, there a dinner menu of "Little Nosh" include dish selections called Cheese, Raw, Seared, Grilled, Fried, Charcuterie, Vegetarian.
Reading these menus and their dishes borders on entertainment. Take the Little Nosh Charcuterie, "charcuterie" meaning "cooker of meat," referring to the products, particular pork specialties such as pâtés, rillettes, galantines and crépinettes.
Three items in this area include Country Style Pate with Fig Port Reduction and Challah Toast Points ($9); Duck Confit on Pistachio Crepe with Cherry Relish ($9); and House Smoked Salmon Lox with Horseradish Foam ($9). The Raw Little Nosh include Tuna Carpaccio with Shitake Salad and Wasabi Sauce ($11); Salmon Trio: Smoked, Seared, and Raw with Saffron Crème Fraiche ($10); Scallop Ceviche with Roasted Corn Salsa ($12).
A few Big Nosh include Dry Aged, Oklahoma NY Strip with Truffle Scented Fries and a Trio of Sauces ($30); Cardamom Seared Lamb Rack with Spring Vegetable Hash ($29); Barley-Fava Risotto Topped with Wild Mushroom and Asparagus ($16); and Dueling Halibut: en Papillote with Lentils and Grilled with Forbidden Black Rice ($23).
With these eclectic dishes, it was definitely difficult to decide what to choose. Finally, my dining companion and I narrowed our options, then selected the Grilled Salmon over Farro Salad and Carrot Broth ($20) and the Peppered Beef Tenderloin with Chorizo Mashed Potatoes and Berry Chutney ($28).
Both were extremely pleasing. The Salmon was of good size, fresh and fine tasting. The Farro (a grain ancestor of today's wheat) was delightfully savory and filling. The Beef Tenderloin was of excellent quality and prepared medium rare perfectly. The Chorizo Mashed Potatoes had a slight energy to them, but mild all the same.
The three-course Prix-Fixe for $35 is an excellent option at Lava, as is the Chef's Table, available every Wednesday. It includes the chef's five-course wine dinner for $95.
Lava Noshery is definitely worth a visit for a very different, but exciting, dining experience.
3512 S. Peoria
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