I went with a friend to Olive and June last night. We made an easy, last minute reservation for 6:30 p.m. At 4:30 p.m. they still had reservations available for 7:30 p.m., btw.
The layout has changed a bit from the former El Arbol set up. Although I still love the bar/patio on the second floor, I think there are still issues with servers blocking the end of the bar (entry to bathrooms) and people gathering at the top of the steps to mingle. It's still an odd configuration up there. The main entrance has changed to be accessible from the back of the restaurant, from the small parking area, instead of from the front of the restaurant, which was fine except the new "reception area" is tiny. There were at least 4 - 5 young girls standing around and again, it's an awkward area for greeting, seating and eating. You can no longer access the 2nd floor bar from the parking lot. That stairway has been removed. I didn't make it to the 3rd floor but it's my understanding it's intended to be a private dining area not, as opposed to another bar/patio area.
Here's a link to the menu from eater.com: http://oliveandjune-austin.com/olive-...
Note the $54 entree and the $24 1/2 chicken. Wow. I inquired about the $54 dollar option because at first glance, it appeared to be a pasta dish (served with gold?). I was told it was a steak dish. I'm not used to seeing prices like that from an Italian place but I was intrigued that they were so proud of their food.
We ordered 3 of the small plates. When i say small plates, I mean small; there was only enough served for 2 bites (2 pieces). We ordered the zucchini which was our favorite, the risotto which we both thought would be a serving dish of typical risotto but turned out to be 2 tater tot sized fried risotto things, and the artichoke. The risotto was unremarkable; it just tasted like fried pasta and the artichoke was better than I've had at other places, texture wise but very bland and a tad bitter.
After those 3 small plates, we both decided to skip an entree and went for the Escarole Salad and fried egg. The salad and oil dressing were good and fresh but my egg was a bit overdone (think crispy on the edges). This salad is served with diced bits of thick bacon that is warm, not crispy in any way. It was odd to eat bits of fat with my salad. It's an odd combination that I could've done without. The description said pancetta and I thought thin, crispy strips of pancetta would be sprinkled on the salad. Wrong.
So...I think this place is on par with Gusto quite frankly. Good idea, nice place, food is ok. The prices here make me more cautious about what to order. Hopefully they will have a rotating menu.
I will say that they have 100% improved the bar chairs at the bar on the second floor. The wire ones from El Arbol were very uncomfortable. The new ones at Olive and June are cushioned with backs. Maybe I'll just drink wine next time!
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