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Monday, December 3, 2012

Lokanta Mediterranean Grill & Bar: For interesting food, don't have to go far!

Lunch date #25: November 2, 2012

We have a fan! Whoohoo, how exciting. Well, OK maybe not so much as a fan as someone who commented on our blog! Our "fan" recommended trying Lokanta Mediterranean Grill & Bar (443 Main Street; http://www.eatlokanta.com). This is the new Mediterranean restaurant that replaced Agora Bistro. We had wanted to give it a try, or at least I was interested-and the lamb burger, something I really like--was recommended by our "fan. Mom agreed that she likes lamb and was willing to give it a go. Lokanta evidently means "neighborhood bistro" in Turkish. Sounded good and after the last two duds, we were up for some decent, interesting food.

Location 5 points: downtown—same place that was Agora Bistro (the old location of Bruno's).

Ambiance 4 points: Gotta love what they've done with the place! They opened that previous dark and narrow hallway. The front is an open kitchen/dining area with bar seating grill-side. Odd that the bar stools are cheap plastic—maybe the good ones are on order? Mom liked the wine bottles along the wall in the hallway and the cloth napkins: "That's classy," she commented. The place is certainly dressed up and inviting.

Menu selection 4 points: While we didn't read it too closely before ordering—we were after the lamb burgers—we did review it later. All sorts of dishes to offer for lunch: salads, interesting "gourmet" style sandwiches, and hot entrees—including Shish Kebabs. Many intersting dishes to try. We weren't sure if this was a specific lunch menu-especially since the prices were pretty high. A quick look at their webpage: only difference is that, other than the lamb burger,  they drop the sandwiches with the dinner menu. Entrees all the same prices for either menu.

Service 4 points: Very attentive, good hot coffee and refill of hot water for tea. The food took a while, but we munched on fresh bread with an interesting olive tapenade. Server kept checking back and after serving our meals checked back again. He packed up our left overs to go.

Food 4 points: We both enjoyed the lamb burgers: great flavor, large size (we both only finished half). The garnish of roasted red peppers and feta was very good. Mom went with the garlic fries-they were good and not overly garlicky. I chose the side salad which was delightful and had a tasty vinaigrette. We both took home left overs (half a lamb burger, each), and that was plenty for another meal.

Value 3 points: Aye, there's the rub. Knew it was going too well to be true. The lamb burgers were $14, pretty high for downtown even with the fries or salad included. We know that lamb is generally priced higher than beef, but this place is overall pretty pricey—especially for lunch. Now I just looked at their website, and the price of the lamb burger is listed at $15! The other meals are comparably priced, so it is not just the lamb that is driving the price. Interestingly, I would say that the prices for a dinner are very reasonable. We just usually see a bit of a break in the price at lunch time due to smaller portions, or the effort of the restaurant to fill tables at the lunch service.

Overall score for Lokanta: 4 points. Very enjoyable ambiance, good service and good food. Certainly if you're aching for a lamb burger-this is the place to go. Overall the steep prices might make it difficult to go frequently for lunch. Mom was pretty excited to try something new and to eat in a nice restaurant-but she commented that overall she prefers beef to lamb when it comes to a burger.

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