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Restaurants & Bars 3

Oleana

A Fish Called Wanda | Sep 12, 2004 03:42 PM

We haven't been to Oleana for 3-4 years. The first time we went was shortly after Oleana opened. I remember the food as being good to excellent, but the service being terrible. I heard that the service has since improved and after reading all the positive reviews on chowhound and hearing from friends that they loved Oleana, we decided to go back. I really wanted to like it this time, and I am sorry to say that I didn't.

We came early and got a table on the patio. The atmosphere was absolutely wonderful, the service was good too, but the food was inconsistent.

Here is what we got. We started our meal with hummus wrapped in basturma. It was very yummy, creamy, almost buttery and warm. Basturma was kind of like serano ham, but beef instead of pork. It was very good and went really well with hummus. Ana Sortun is famous for her braised shortrib, so I had to try it. What I got was a piece of beef that was flavorful, but dry and crusty. It tasted like it was left in the oven without sauce for too long (probably while warming up). The flavor of the beef was wonderful and went well with the creamy eggplant puree. I was especially disappointed because I knew how good this dish could be, since I've had the same shortrib dish at Casablanca (where Ana Sortun used to be the chef). My husband's appetizer was worse. It was a sheep's milk cheese served with grilled peaches and roasted red peppers and flambeed with ouzo (anise greek liquor). The waitress botched the dish. When she poured liquor over the dish, she couldn't figure out how to use the lighter. Eventually some other waiter helped her, but by that time the liquor got absorbed into the cheese and peaches, and barely lit up. The whole dish tasted very bitter.

For entrees we both got fish. The swordfish with sweet corn and tomato dolma was excellent. It was very tender and juicy -- so good it melted in the mouth. The tomato dolma was a grain stuffed inside a roasted tomato. It had all the flavor of summer packed into it. The other fish dish was cod, clam, and sausage stew. The dish was completely unseasoned. It didn't help that the cod was overcooked. After adding salt, the stew got much better, but nothing to write home about.

Was this an off night? Ana Sortun has good ideas, but they are not always implemented successfully.

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