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Olives review by an SF hound

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Olives review by an SF hound

Dan Raffle | Jan 24, 2003 10:21 AM

Based on the commentary (I couldn’t find any actual reviews) on this board, I was a bit concerned about going to Olives. Despite what some of the chow-snobs would have you believe, reviews of high-end restaurants can be a great help and are every bit as important as reviews of lesser-known holes-in-the-wall. This site provides a more accurate and up-to-date picture of a restaurant than the often inaccurate and contradictory Zagat reviews. I could even make the argument that Chowhound reviews of expensive restaurants are more important because the financial risk is greater at Olives that at a hole-in-the-wall. Luckily, my boss covered the meal, so I can finally bring you Boston hounds a review of one of your most famous restaurants. (at least from an out-of-town-hound perspective)

Sorry to bitch at you all, but I got a bit sick of reading everyone gripe about Mr. English without much commentary on the food.

Onto the review…

I started with crispy cod cheeks, on wild rice with gingered green beans. The cod and rice were a bit bland; the green beans were very good.

I tasted my tablemates appetizers as well
– the lobster risotto was good, it had lots of big chunks of lobster, but the overall flavor of the risotto was more of butter than of lobster. I was expecting an intense shellfish flavor that comes with good lobster stock.
- Yellow fin tuna tartare – this was an elegant presentation, wrapped in a cucumber slice and mixed with rock shrimp. The dish had some spice to it as well.
- Pumpkin soup with foie gras bits – this was probably the best appetizer. The soup was very light and perfectly seasoned, and the small pieces of foie floating the middle of the bowl were excellent.

Moving on the main course, I had the crab stuffed skate wing. The skate wing was perfect, the crab filling, while good, was a bit soggy (it probably could have used some kind of a binder to give it a firmer more crab-cakey texture). The celeriac puree did not have the celery flavor I expected. Possibly the puree was cut with potatos, or perhaps it had too much butter.

My tablemates had:
-chestunut ravioli with creamy spinach – this was my favorite pasta. The chestnut puree was delicious and the creamy spinach went very well with it.
-sweet potoato ravioli with sage brown butter – this is a pretty standard dish, it was well prepared, but probably not worthy of much commentary.
-veal tortellini with bacon, etc. – i liked this a lot too. The tortellini were small but intensely flavored.

Desserts:
-Banana cream pie with pecan goo – a little too creamy for my taste. The candied pecans were very nice, but i was pretty damn full by this point, having eaten all of my own food, plus generous portions of my companions food.
-fallen chocolate cake with raspberry sauce – has anyone had a bad flourless chocolate cake? This seems like a foolproof dessert. I did like the raspberry sauce though.
-Chocolate hermits – they said it was good, but I didn’t taste.
********************

Oh, and I did check out the kitchen on the way back to the bathroom and could not find any rat droppings.

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