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another oleana rave (long)

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Restaurants & Bars

another oleana rave (long)

xiaodan | May 26, 2004 06:10 PM

after weeks of rescheduling and salivating, hamster and i went to oleana last night. we started off with a white port cocktail with mint & grapes and a glass of sangria, and followed the lead of a previous poster who ordered two different veg. tasting menus so we could sample as much as possible. i'll try to detail what we had here, but H, if i leave anything out, feel free to supplement...

First course: spicy carrot puree (not my favorite, but it grew on me), hard to pick up with the bread, but with excellent just-shy-of-crunchy mouthfeel; walnut-bean pate that was rich, very smooth, mild; buttered hummus; and whipped feta, just this side of sweet from red peppers.

Second course: chopped salad with walnuts, spicy (from paprika?) in a creamy dressing; greek salad; and haloumi cheese with tomatoes which they flambeed in (a lot of!) ouzo at the table so it was crusty and licorice-y.

Third: an unbelievably stand-out dish of rice cake over beans with a lemony whipped avocado spread. the cake was just perfect, with a crackly golden crust and firm-creamy center. i think i could've eaten myself to death with the syrian lentils over a decadent tahini-yogurt sauce, and there was also a red lentil puree covered in caramelized onions.

(i thought we were done after this, but no) Fourth up: two potato pancake dishes, one over fava bean puree with tahini and one over spinach with tomato & yogurt sauces. the pancakes were done with beautifully brown crusts, and all that stood between both of the dishes and perfection was about a half a teaspoon too much of salt...

Almost last: fideos (rich pasta, described by our watier as "broken vermicelli") in a spicy, salty mix with chickpeas and greens, good, but almost overpowering. we were glad to have another dish at hand to alternate flavors. ricotta and bread dumplings in red wine with (we think) kale were extraordinary. the dumplings were almost like little pancakes, not too heavy, and not so sweet as to be confused with dessert! the wine reduction was lovely.

finally, we were served profiteroles and nougat. the profiteroles were an excellent rendition of the classic, rich vanilla ice cream, to-die-for fudge sauce, and toasted hazlenuts. i don't generally consider myself a fan of nougat, but (just what i need - expansion of my dessert horizons and waistline!) this version was light and whipped with candied fruit (most of which i still didn't care for, but the tiny kumquat slices were sweet and delicious. if hamster hadn't been able to step in and finish after i pronounced myself full, i might've gone rooting around for those last few citrusy bites.)

we were seated at the bar, and service was excellent, save a couple of long pauses before empty dishes were cleared. any questions we had about ingredients, etc. that the runner didn't know he relayed to the bartender, and we always got our answer.

the full meal, plus the 2 cocktails and coffee, tax & tip came to about $120. definitely worth it.

and i had an excuse to go downtown during lunch today; the perfect opportunity to pick up a chacarero... yum!

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