After yet another visit to Oleane last night on their beautiful garden patio, I have decided that Oleana's strengths are its appetizers, and it's pre-appetizers. Though appetizers are often more interesting to entrees, there is an especially large gap at Oleana between the quality of the two.
Don't get me wrong. The entress are usually quite good. They are just consistently bettered by the appetizers. Perhaps, the small size of appetizers makes them more suitable for the North African and middle eastern spices on which Sortun relies so heavily. Some of the many winning choices:
carret puree and egyptian spice mix with nuts and olive oil ($3)
warm butterred hummus ($4)
armenian bean and walnut pate with homemade string cheese ($4)
chicken lamekuch ($7)
shrimp faganaki ($8)
braised short rib ($8)
fried mussels and peppers with turkish tarator sauce ($7)
ricotta and bread dumplings with porcini and braised lettuce ($7)
In fact, relative to Oleana's culinary reputation, you could put together a pretty cheap meal of a few appetizers,a drink or two, and dessert.
Which brings me to dessert. Built around icecream which is handmade in the kicthen, they continue to shine. Last night's blueberry sweet roll with sweet corn ice cream was a real stand-out. Also, a companion ordered "off-the-menu" by combining the vailla frozen yogurt which appered in one dessert with the passion fruit caramel sauce which apperared in another. An inspired choice.
Apps and desserts are the way to go at Oleana.