Quick Bite: Food Flirt

Lakewood: We stare at our menus. None of us wants to be the first to make a suggestion.

We each sip our water.

I clear my throat. “So, umm, what do you girls think about a Three Way?”

“Oh God, yes!” says one. “I was thinking about that, too!” says the other.

Perfect. Cheaper than A Night in Paris and a bit classier than some Instant Gratification. But really, who could say no to fresh-baked, crusty baguettes from the Breadsmith with slobber-inducing spreads such as olive tapenade, oven-dried tomato relish and herbed goat cheese ($6)?

The naughtily named menu items at 56 West, a small, too-good-for-the-price new eatery in Lakewood, may make you blush when you order, but it has just the right amount of standard fare for someone who doesn’t like fancy-pants menu options and just enough twists on others to satisfy the aspiring foodies looking for something inspiring.

Many of the menu items have one ingredient in the descriptions that will catch your eye. My dining companion chose the Beautiful Sunrise (burger with crisp pancetta, fried egg, American cheese, lettuce and tomato, $8) for the egg. That’s good, because the pancetta was puny. The 56 Green Goddess sauce on the Superfine (burger with applewood-smoked bacon, onions and mushrooms, $7.56) caught my other partner’s attention. She paired it with the Menage a Trois ($3.56) — a cheesy potato casserole with three types of potatoes and crisp cornflakes on top.

I went for the One Hot Chick ($7.56) because of the red curry mayonnaise. The sandwich, adorned with Pepper Jack cheese and spicy fried onion straws, had a perfect texture — equal parts gooey, crisp, sloppy and firm. It filled me up when I was three-quarters done, but I couldn’t resist going back for a few more bites.

If you don’t like any of the restaurant’s options, it lists many of its ingredients in a build-your-own burger list and has tasty chicken, salmon and steak options that will work for a less adventurous palate.

With low prices, white tablecloths and attentive-but-not-annoying service, I’ll be going back with an Italian Lover at my table. (Frankly, I don’t care whether that’s a lady friend or the $8.56 burger with arugula and olive tapenade.) 16300 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, (216) 226-0056, fiftysixwest.com
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