Lola Dunsworth’s meandering habitat of hip combines stone tiles, leopard prints, black leather, two bars, a pool table, and a martini menu with 50 entries. Cocktails are king, but there’s a wide range of food: warm and cold salads, empanadas, satay, meat loaf with masheds, mac and cheese, Parmesan-crusted halibut, pastas. It’s more home style than fine dining but tasty. Happy hour is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Take it easy. Lola’s drinks are big.
Best Roasted Chicken, April 2004
Koreatown’s Pollo a la Brasa uses a brick oven and split oak to roast the smokiest, crispiest chicken in town, and Zankou’s admirers are legion. But even Zankou’s fans speak of the Lebanese chain’s garlic sauce in the same breath as the bird, and we think a chicken should fly on its own. Lola’s, squished into a Van Nuys strip mall, serves a pungent green chile paste for dipping, but that’s just gravy alongside the bird’s already-flowery marinade, which is redolent of saffron and oregano and maybe Persia, and which is so infused in the moist flesh (we suspect Lola’s brines its birds) that each flavorful bite tastes like extravagance. This bird can fly.