October 19, 2012 | 7:30am
When Paragon Grove 14
opened its new multiplex at CocoWalk in 2010, with all stadium reserved seating and Sony 4k digital projection, it was a major upgrade over the old, run-down AMC Theatre it replaced. Now Paragon has added new luxury dine-in theaters and an expanded menu at The Lot Bar & Lounge
The Prestige Imports Premier section, as it is known, includes four theaters surrounding The Lot, with high-back leather chairs and swivel table trays for easy eating. Cost? Just a couple of bucks more than a regular ticket at Paragon.
You can order your meal in The Lot and take it in the theater with you. Or, if you get hungry during your movie, just pop out and place your order, then return to your seat with a silent buzzer that alerts you when your order is ready.
Chef Andrew Holmes has revamped The Lot's menu with the goal of providing appealing, reasonably priced food that's easy to eat. No cardboard popcorn or withered hot dogs here. The menu sports some surprisingly tasty appetizers, flatbreads, burgers, brats, sandwiches and sides.
Flatbread pizzas ($10) come in five varieties. We enjoyed the Carnival, with a mix of meats, tomato and mozzarella, and the White, with goat cheese, prosciutto, sun dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, caramelized onions and a balsamic reduction. Both were crispy, chewy and delicious.
The Asian Peanut Butter Burger ($11) was one of our favorites from the menu's Burgers & Brats section. A plump, 8-ounce patty flavored with peanut butter and Chinese five spice is served on a lightly toasted bun with a spread of "Confucius cabbage slaw." Russet potato fries were too salty - better to go with a side of sweet potato fries ($4) or large, fresh-cut onion rings ($4).
Mahi-mahi tacos ($11) come two per order, each with tender planks of grilled fish topped with southern slaw and pico de gallo, wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. A variety of other tacos, wraps and sandwiches are also available.
For dessert, try the "Jackie Brownie" ($8), a warm, phyllo-wrapped brownie served with vanilla ice cream, or maybe the Monkey Bread ($7), sweet dough balls rolled in cinnamon sugar, molasses and butter.
You don't have to watch a movie to enjoy a meal or a drink at The Lot. The lounge itself has plenty of seats, plus a spacious bar and an 80" TV surrounded by four 55" screens (football, anyone?).
In addition to sangrias, spritzers and mimosas available by the glass ($7) or the pitcher ($14), The Lot offers a respectable selection of domestic and imported beers ($5-7), plus 30 or so wines available by the glass ($5-12) or bottle.
The Lot also has daily specials including $3 domestic beers on Sundays, $3 brats on Mondays and "Endless Pizza" on Wednesdays for $10. Even though it's a bit removed from the ground floor action at CocoWalk, with prices like these, The Lot might well become one of the Grove's more popular gathering spots, especially on game days.