Mini-Review: Lavomatic

I went to Lavomatic with my new neighbor, Ilan, and his girlfriend, Sarah. I didn’t take any pictures because I didn’t want to weird out my new friends by photographing their food. We’ll save that for the second dinner out!

I had seen signs hawking ramps and fiddlehead ferns at Madison’s last weekend, but wondered why I couldn’t actually find any– they’re in Lavomatic’s special this week. I’m sure that wasn’t the reason why, but it was fun to joke with the waitress about it. Sadly, I can’t remember any other details of the special. I think it was locally raised chicken. Someone at an adjacent table got it, and it looked really good.

Our dinner was delayed because they’d almost run out of ravioli, Sarah’s choice, so the waitress brought by bowls of pickled veg (beets, brussels sprouts and carrots) and a variety of olives to tide us over. I’m not the biggest eat-olives-out-of-hand fan, but these were awesome. The medium green ones were reminiscent of avocado– smooth and creamy. Yum! And, of course, I love the pickled beets, and I even enjoyed the pickled brussels sprouts.

Ilan got the salmon with Israeli couscous. Being Israeli, he insisted that it wasn’t Israeli and wasn’t even couscous– probably bulghur wheat– but said it was very good, and the salmon was well seasoned and perfectly cooked.

I had a bite of Sarah’s vegetarian ravioli, which was filled with beets! I love beets, and this was very good, if slightly watery– I don’t think the seal was tight on the ravioli. Very nice flavor, though.

I ordered the braised pork belly, which was served with a beet and potato hash. I need to stop this pork belly habit, or else I’ll have a pretty porky belly myself. This one didn’t quite have the crispy fat that the braised pork belly had at Hugo, but the portion was far more appropriate and the flavor was very good– the cider braise was a wonderful compliment.

We each got dessert– Ilan and Sarah had creme brulee, which they raved about. Ilan particularly liked the mint, and said it was one of the best cremes brulee he’d ever had. I got a pistachio pavlova filled with very tart lemon cream, strawberries and rhubarb. Yum! As the waitress noted, it’s hard to do meringues around here with the humidity, so I was pleased to get one before it got too steamy. Very, very good– it almost replaces the baba au rhum I got last time which is now off the menu.

I’m sure I’ll be back here again: say what you will about JR being spread too thin, I like the fact that he has an affordable restaurant that uses local ingredients within walking distance of my apartment.

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