I am certainly no foodie. In fact any aspirations I’ve had for attaining that title have been dashed by my real foodie friends, who frequently become agitated with me for my love of microwave popcorn, ballpark hotdogs and the occasional box of fried chicken. It’s not that I don’t know what good food is supposed to taste like! I do. In fact I’m a fairly well traveled individual who’s tried quite a wide variety foods. I’m just not culinary elitist. At any rate, I recently joined some of my aforementioned foodie friends for an entirely new eating experience, and believe it or not, it’s one that can be found in the Tyler area. Now I know what my readers are probably thinking, but this is not simply the newest franchise from the big city moving into our area.
This is Tyler’s latest attempt at fine dinning, or at least as close as we can get. Lago del Pino is invading territory previously held by the likes of Ricks on the Square, and Jake’s in Tyler. But while both restaurants are located right down town, Lago Del Pino sits lakeside at 14706 CR 1134 in between Tyler and Chandler. The restaurant has the feel of a country club, with beautiful outdoor dining or large open spaces indoors for cool summer dining. In terms of ambiance, LDP is still “finding itself,” as one of my friends pointed out. (Not sure I’m comfortable taking credit for that line anyway). The outdoor section will be fantastic when the cooler months of autumn role around. Throw in a glass of wine, a fine tobacco product, and a little live music, and you’ve got the makings of a great evening out. The building is beautiful on the inside too, with a couple problems. First off the noise level is a bit high.
I expect the owners or operators will eventually identify some tasteful methods of quieting things down. My other critique has to do with the technical issues that should eventually work themselves out, things like a wobbly table, or food servers who seemed a bit out of their element at times. Honestly these things were minor issues for me but annoyed my friends who’s expectations were a bit higher than mine were. When our food arrived however, any preexisting irritation was forgotten.
The menu is not terribly complicated, nor overly expensive. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not economical exactly, but guests need not take out a loan for an evening out. The food was excellent, well cooked, familiar and imaginative at the same time… meaning, that even simple dishes had an extra zing. The steak was wonderfully tender and the salad fresh and delicious. (Wow, after those last few sentences I think I should ask for my foodie card back). Here’s the up-shot: despite the need for a bit of tweaking, Lago Del Pino will be a success on the strength of its chefs if nothing else. It’s a really neat restaurant, with something different to offer our area.