It's All Bull at Bolla

If you've ever been intrigued by the quirky styling of Art Deco design or the mish-mashed patterns of reclaimed design, this place ought to tickle your fancy. Bold, bright and stylish, Bolla in the Stoneleigh Hotel and Spa is a gleaming example of eclectic construction.

The restaurant keeps tempo with the hotel's Art Deco design -- bright colors and sweeping curves mix with sheer draperies.

At first, it was difficult to make a connection between this opulent surroundings and the Italian-inspired cuisine. How do braised beef short ribs pair with a design style popularized by the Roaring Twenties? Well, at the heart of this dining experience is Bolla's executive chef, David Bull, and he ties it all together. He isn't just the mastermind behind the food, he's the namesake as well -- Bolla is Italian for bull.

The menu is infused with the experiences Bull had as a youngster growing up on the East Coast. "Some of my earliest memories are of cooking alongside my grandparents in their upstate New York Italian restaurant while I was growing up," Bull says. "Fresh garlic, simmering sauces and seasonal herbs still conjure up memories of standing alongside my grandfather as we worked in the kitchen together."

Now, Bull has used his unique style -- American cuisine with an Italian flair -- to create an intricate menu for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, with a lighter menu available at the bar. The four-for-40 is an interesting concept allowing guests to sample four small courses for $40. The dinner menu offers three full courses for $48.

Although the dinner selection is expertly prepared, it's the A.M. selections that really stand out. The breakfast menu offers hearty options, such as a Texas Benedict with chipotle hollandaise or gingersnap blueberry pancakes with vanilla maple syrup.

Upon entering the space, guests traverse a hallway boasting a historic archway that was discovered during the reconstruction. Three generations of cased openings are used in the hallway, adding to its unique segmented appearance. Across the modern dining room, above the chef's table, sits the word THE in fiery blue and red. It's a seemingly esoteric addition to the space -- few know the letters were reclaimed from the original 1930's rooftop sign that read "Hotel Stoneleigh."

So while both the space's design and cuisine are deeply rooted in heritage, they both contribute to the restaurant's overt glitz and glamour.

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