Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lira Restaurant


Lira Restaurant is currently in its "soft opening" stages and will officially open this weekend. While browsing on Facebook, I saw a few friends becoming friends with "Lira Morgantown." When I saw it was a restaurant, I added it as a friend. There wasn't much contact information, so I Facebook chatted the restaurant, got the manager's contact information, and my A&E editor was able to get a story out of it that night.


I was excited when I found out it was located in the old WesBanco building on High Street - where I used to do my banking. It still has the feel of a bank; when you walk in, the old ATM is to your left, and you go through another set of doors to see the restaurant.

Lira is elegant inside. It boasts a bar, a few booths and tables, and a long wall seat with multiple chairs on the opposite end. It also kept the bank's vault where parties can reserve a dining experience. The tiles and fabrics are rich, but since the restaurant is located on High Street, it has to keep true to the young atmosphere. The first song we heard as we were seated was Katy Perry's "Firework."

The manager seated us and handed us the lunch menu. The menu featured soups, paninis, flatbreads, salads and subs. The first thing that jumped out was fried artichoke hearts. Kaitlynn and I split an order - and it was a great decision. The crisp, herb-infused crust collided with the soft tangy/earthy artichoke heart. They were also accompanied by a mayonnaise-based sauce that added just a hint of sweetness to the dish.

I wasn't overwhelmed with good options, but I went out on a limb and ordered the "French Dip" sub for my entree, which included braised beef, carmelized onions, mustard spread and provolone with au jus on the side. To my delight, it was tasty. The beef was solid quality, good texture and had hints of garlic. I dipped every bite in the au jus because I love au jus, and it added that extra kick the sandwich was looking for. And, the portion was filling.

I also had a side of sweet potato fries, which was probably my favorite part of the dish.The blend of sweet and salty was divine, and the texture was crisp on the outside and succulent inside. For dessert, we shared a Tiramisu (it was their only dessert). I wasn't too impressed, but I never am with Tiramisu. It was a little dry, and the coffee-flavoring wasn't offset by sweetness as well as it could have been.


Overall, though, it was a nice dining area, and the food was great - especially for not even officially being "open" yet. I can see this being a successful lunch go-to.

Grade: B
Lira on Urbanspoon