Olives is a restaurant that gets bashed pretty badly on this board. Let me start by saying that I do not think Olives will win any culinary awards. However, it is a quality dining experience that, IMHO, gets unduly criticized. About a month before my trip I had asked fellow Chows where they would dine, either Fix or Olives. If I am not mistaken an overwhelming majority (if not 100%) said Fix. So I decided to go to both.
Olives: Olives is a better lunch choice than it is a dinner choice, no doubt. So for that singular reason I might give Fix the nod over Olives, but not by much, if any at all. (I have eaten @ Olives in the past at night and found the quality to be that of the lunch, but we did not eat dinner there this time.) We were a table of 4. And like the past, started with the flatbread pizza. It was very good. On this day they had a "meat lovers" pie with fresh mozzarella. The crust could have been a tad crisper but overall the quality and flavors were good. Then for main course, we ordered 2 open faced steak sandwiches and one of the daily special lamb shank peperadelle. The steak sandwich was off the charts delicious! It was open faced sliced skirt steak on top of a garlic-type toast topped w/wild argali, blue cheese (most likely gorgonzola), crispy fried onions and drizzled w/balsamic vinegar. All the flavors worked in unison to create quite possibly the best open-faced steak sandwich I have ever had (I will admit that we had the same sandwich 2 days later and was not quite as good. BUT, that was simply because they used a rib eye as opposed to a skirt and the rib eye was not cooked as well). The other dish was the lamb shank pepperadelle, This was enough for 2, if not 3 and was delicious. The pasta was cooked perfectly and the lamb was very flavorful. The jus had a very nice flavor that was a combination of natural reduction, wine and a hint of rosemary, none of which was over bearing. There was also a couple of dollops of ricotta cheese that lent a bit of richness to the dish. Over all service was ok, but not great.
Fix: My guess is that if it were not for the night club Light literally next door, Fix would come and go with no real fanfare. I recently read that the Chef from SW Steakhouse, Eric Klein, just went to Fix. Anyway, back to our dinner. The place certainly "thinks" its cool and I will say it is a nice space. But it is far too loud and dark. I guess that maybe the allure, especially for those clubbies, but as far as food goes, I found it to be uneven, with some good things while others seriously lagged far behind. Like the shrimp cocktail. These were perfectly cooked jumbo shrimp (maybe even colossal!!!) with 2 very good dipping sauces, cocktail and "Louis". They were very nice. The fried rock shrimp was greasy and quite uninspiring. That also goes for the over-sauced over-cooked wings. The yellowtail was very good and reminded me alot of the Nobu preparation with the lite soy and sliced jalapeño on top of the sashimi. Very tasty. The Kobe Sliders - I think they are called the Bobby Baldwin Burgers - are another dish that could just have easily been skipped. Not that they were bad but 3 little burgers, Kobe supposedly (refer to my past rant about Kobe. NO SUCH THING as KOBE in the US!!! Unless that is of course, there are endorsed by Kobe Bryant) that totally lacked any sort of imagination or distinctive taste for that matter. The 20oz rib eye was cooked exactly as I had requested and was evenly and not overly spiced. I would, however, challenged that this was "Dry Aged Prime Beef" and if aged, my guess is that was probably for maybe a week. The meat lacked that familiar aged taste so I have to question. In a pinch I would go again. I will say that there is alot of "eye-candy" and that made the meal more delightful. WOW!!!
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