>> Saturday, May 12, 2007
We went to Oleana semi-spontaneously last Wednesday night after I received the letter saying that I had passed the Bar exam. Zagat's Survey recently rated Oleana as one of the top ten restaurants in Boston for food.
As there were no reservations available until after 9 PM, we decided to go sit at the bar. Unlike at Chez Henri (to be reviewed later), the "bar" at Oleana consists only of the stools surrounding the bar. (At Chez Henri the "bar" is a separate adjoining room that has a bar, but also includes several tables at which one can sit). Not knowing this, I sat down at a table in the room with the bar for several minutes before a waiter, upon finding out that I had no reservation, politely showed me the bar stools.
The food was, as always, absolutely excellent. Oleana's dinner menu is divided into several categories: Pret a Manger (small, snack-like appetizers, $4-$5), Appetizers ($10-$12), Grains or Greens ($8/$15), and Main Entrees ($23-$26). Additionally, they have a Vegetarian Tasting Menu, which consists of 5 mini-dishes and a dessert. They are famous for their Baked Alaska dessert.
Being one who loves variety, I decided to ordered the vegetarian tasting platter. The chef chooses the five vegetarian plates at her whim. These five items from the menu, and could be chosen from the pret a mangers, appetizers, or side dishes on the menu. Bryan ordered the special of the day, which was a parmesan encrusted pork loin with a fava and beet salad on the side. He also ordered an appetizer, the Walnut & Sesame Fatayer (a flat bread) with Homemade Mozzarella & Rhubarb Jam.
My 5 "mezzes" were absolutely excellent. I had two favorites. The first was the Asparagus, Green Almond Pesto, and Fava Puree appetizer. The asparagus was lightly grilled, and together with the pesto and the fava puree, created a perfect blend of flavors with each bite.
We also really liked my first course, which I think was the Whipped Feta with Sweet & Hot Peppers. This spread was creamy and spicy and utterly addictive. It came with crackers, and we could not stop eating it. Very tasty albeit a bit salty. I would definitely eat it with bread.
I also got the Warm Organic Kalamata Olives with Rigani & Sesame Seeds, which was good.
My other two courses, Spinach Falafel, Tahini, Yogurt with Beets & Mâche and a rice noodle dish were my least favorite. The falafel was fine, although I did not think it tasted any better than a falafel from a food truck. In fact, it was a bit mushy and cold, so arguably not as good.
The rice noodle dish was weird. It was a fusion of normal rice noodles, but with an interesting flavor that I actually can't remember. All I could remember thinking was - I miss the fried rice noodles from the Taiwanese restaurants.
Bryan's pork was very well made - the inside was juicy and tender and the parmesan crust was delicious. The fava and beet salad also tasted fresh, healthy, and flavorful.
Over all, this is an excellent restaurant and a good place to try some innovative Mediterranean food. This is probably my third time at the restaurant, but I would gladly go back again and I definitely recommend going.
Note - the Deviled Eggs with Tuna & Black Olives is one of their most famous "Prets" (Pret a Manger) and is surprisingly really good. If it's your first time, you should order that. Oh, and if you like spicy, you should get the Whipped Feta with Sweet & Hot Peppers! Make sure to finish with the baked Alaska!