Lola’s is a Las Vegas staple, and while it is not the easiest location to find the first time, once found you will never lose it. Located off Charleston between Main and the freeway, the ordinary white concrete blocks and patio furniture outside will give you no clue as to the high quality of the food within. Luckily, the construction that is fixing the spaghetti bowl mess will not be tearing down this building. Lola’s is safe for now.
Inside, Lola’s proudly displays the Fleur-de-lis amid festive decorative umbrellas and gold, green, and purple streamers in the traditional Mardi Gras style. Whether coming for lunch or dinner, it is highly recommended to make a reservation. This location is wildly popular, and even in the lull between lunch and dinner, the restaurant was busy. The small bar was full about 15 minutes into our arrival, and surrounds a exhibition kitchen where the servers and hostess flame French bread for customers. The staff all have unique and complete knowledge of the menu as well as the construction looming precariously next door. The girls bustled around the busy and small restaurant like a well-oiled machine and communicated well with guests.
Even with our appetizers coming after our entrées, we were not unhappy or in a rush. The waitress communicated honestly with us and asked if we wanted the entrees remade. We could not abide letting the food go to waste. It is a beautiful work of art both in vision and flavor. Lola’s serves up real Cajun cuisine, a style that originated in the swamps of Louisiana. The French inspiration is prevalent in the richness of the dishes due to copious use of real cheese and butter. If you have never tried Cajun food before, you may be surprised at the unique flavors and spices.
The Gumbo is available both as an appetizer and dinner portion. It is also served in the true style of Cajun, sans tomatoes. The Andouille sausage and pepper flavors the whole dish and brings visions of heated humid air, leaving beads of sweat on our cheeks. It is not overly spiced, but wonderfully hot. The Crawpuppies allow for those craving crawfish to have a taste even out of crawfish season (February to mid-summer).
The real winner of the day was the Bronzed Shrimp and Grits. Lola’s has the best shrimp and grits in town, period. The grits were steaming hot and gooey from the Gouda cheese mixed in to perfection. The shrimp popped in our mouths and the black pepper that encrusted each shrimp brought a brightness unlike any other in town. Ragout around the grits filled us with the warmth and pure satisfaction that only a future food coma can bring. This is home cooking that requires years of knowledge and love to prepare.
Las Vegas does not have many options for Louisiana style food, Cajun or Creole alike, and that is a shame. No matter where you are in the city, the trek will be well worth it. This food will move even the worst of critics to tears of joy. Lola’s menu is well within a price range that is accessible to most. It is easy to split dishes to try more of what the menu has to offer and still be able to keep the bill below $50. The most expensive item on the menu is under $30 and is meant to feed more than one person. Lola’s is a great lunch spot as well, conveniently located near the medical district of Las Vegas. There were several people in scrubs enjoying a late lunch during our visit.
Our next visit could not come soon enough. Crawfish season is just around the corner, and the Etouffee is calling our names. Whether you come here for a cultural experience, or just to silence a growling stomach, Lola’s will do you right. The only argument that should happen within these walls: Is it Crawfish? Or Crayfish? Or Crawdads? Good luck. Go on. We dare you.