by Michael Vyskocil, photography by Nikola Tzenov
We create uncommon dishes with common ingredients.” At the Lost Lion in downtown Westminster, the freshest ingredients yield surprises for the palate. These specialties reflect a diversity of cuisines and cooking preparations, thanks to the culinary talents of Chef Michael DeCesare.
The chef’s creativity in the kitchen is reflected in bold experiments with flavors and textures. Take the Chicken Boucher on the Plates portion of the menu. Cajun-spiced chicken combines with sweet peppers, onions, cream, cheddar cheese and a potato hash for a Louisiana-inspired dish that makes taste buds sing.
Tacos can be something ordinary, but at the Lost Lion, tacos get elevated to the extraordinary. They take on ingredients such as fried codfish, crispy catfish and Cajun tuna with pesto, sweet slaw and pickled onions.
Some may liken these offbeat combinations of ingredients to a melting pot, but this approach to cooking involves more research than meets the eye.
“He spends a lot of time testing and looking at what other restaurants across the country are doing with their menus,” said Jessica DeCesare, Michael’s wife. “We evaluate the menu regularly. Michael will write the weekly specials featuring fresh seafood and seasonal products. We post on Facebook what the specials will be so that our guests know about them.”
When asked if she had a favorite menu item, Jessica replied, “The lamb burger. I think it’s the flavor that makes it unique. We make an onion marmalade topping in house and pair the burger with goat cheese and arugula.”
If you have the pleasure of dining at the Lost Lion, make sure you don’t skip the desserts because they are made in house. Familiar sweet treats like carrot cake get decadent upgrades such as garnishes of homemade custard sauce.
“We recently had a shortcake made with fresh peaches from Baugher’s and pastry cream,” Jessica said. “You can taste the difference in the homemade quality.”
The DeCesares believe that their chef-inspired menu is only one part of the Lost Lion’s approach to celebrating culture and cuisine.
“The music that we play, the interior decorating, the friendliness of our servers … it’s all part of being a community,” she said. “People want to feel like they matter. We treat customers like guests in our homes and invite them to enjoy whatever they experience.”
27 E. Main St. (rear), Westminster • 443-289-8393 • lostlionmd.com