Took my mother out for a Winterlicious dinner at Olivia's at 53, on Clinton St., just north of the Dip.
My mother, who's a senior citizen and eats like a bird, was happy. Even sent compliments to the chef. I came home and scarfed down a plate of leftovers. One of the worst, stingiest meals I've had since... oh, probably my Summerlicious experience at Thuet last year.
Chose Olivia's in part because of the varied menu -- figured there would be something Mom would like. I was right -- she loved her tiny salad and stuffed portobello mushroom in phyllo pastry.
Me, I started with what is described in the on-line Winterlicious menu as "Prosciutto di Parma, walnuts and blue cheese parcels." (In the restaurant's printed menu, the prosciutto was the last ingredient listed.) I got one small phyllo triangle (shaped like my mother-in-law's spanakopitas but smaller) on a bed of greens. The filling? A bit of blue cheese and walnuts, not a sliver of prosciutto.
For my main, I had what is described on the Winterlicious website as "Oven roasted cornish hen in a walnut and pomegranate sauce served with a side of beans, cherry tomatoes and rosemary roasted baby potatoes." The cornish hen consisted of one tiny leg, split into two pieces. The "walnut and pomegranate sauce" tasted like the balsamic reduction served with the bread and had not a crumb of walnut. The bean-and-tomato confit was tasteless, and there was nary a potato, baby or otherwise, on the plate.
Finally, dessert. The "House made flourless ricotta cake served with fresh berries and fresh cream" was a small piece, and somewhat dry. (This is starting to sound like the old Woody Allen joke: "The food here is terrible!" "Yeah, and such small portions!") The "Crema Catalana," a too-sweet crème brûlé type thing, was served in a dish the size of a Chinese tea cup. Oh, and the dessert arrived about five minutes after my espresso.
Needless to say, I won't be going back anytime soon. Feh.
In contrast, Batifole is serving a simple but lovely meal for the same 25 bucks. The ingredients aren't pricey, but the dishes are flavourful and the portions generous.