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Good food & good service at Oliva...an anomaly?

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Good food & good service at Oliva...an anomaly?

Howard | Jan 30, 2002 09:40 AM

After seeing Metropolis, at the Sunshine theater on East Houston, (which fried my circuits), we staggered a block East for dinner at the Basque-ish restaurant Oliva (in a location that, if memory serves, was a dive bar a couple of years ago).

Anyway, I hung my jacket over the back of my chair and looked over the menu, which had lots of possibilities. However, it was chilly in the restaurant that night, so I got up and started to put my jacket on; the owner came over and said, “Cold? Lemme put the heater on” which he did.

Jeez. Someone who knew what I wanted before I asked for it. A good beginning.

As were the Martinis.

My wife ordered the green salad (big and lightly dressed; I helped her out); I had the Bacalao Relleno; Piquillo peppers stuffed with Brandade de Morue in a tangy red sauce and topped with a frizzle of deep fried onion shreds. Yummy, particularly since my wife is no fan of either Piquillo peppers nor salt cod, so I got to eat it all.

Entrees: One order of sliced seared duck breast over sweet potatoes, with cherries and a brandy reduction. (My wife would’ve licked the plate if we were at home; as it was, she made do with cleaning the plate with the bread). I had scallops over black pasta with a cepes-and-cream sauce. Excellent; the scallops were nicely browned on one side and mellow on the other.

The coffee was pretty good (anyone know of a restaurant other than a Vietnamese one that serves good coffee?) but the dessert was somethin’ else. The dessert menu was sparse so we ordered the vanilla flan, which was very unflanlike, more like maybe a Russian cream or a panna cotta; a dead white cone-shaped mound topped with a little caramel hat all of which was...well...succulent. i don’t know what it was, but I want more. It reminded me of the Suspiro de Queso at the old La Fonda del Sol, of blessed memory.

A good tip for the good service brought the bill to $93.

Anybody else been there? Did I just have a lucky day or was that normal?

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