“It was a bookend meal,” R aptly declared. We started with great appetizers and finished with satisfying desserts, but the stuff in between was forgettable. It seems that this is often the case, that entrees never live up to the promise of the starters.
Olives is celebrating it's 20th anniversary this year by offering 3 specials every Friday from their 1989 menu at 1989 prices. This past Friday they had goat cheese en crozza ($5.50), shrimp and spinach risotto ($13) and a sausage and rabbit dish ($14). R and I ordered all three, and also got the black truffle foie gras flan as a second starter. The flan was easily the best part of the meal; it had an rich, smooth and creamy texture and the mushroom and foie gras ragu underneath was delicious. R wants me to report that he was the one to order it. (There you go, sweetheart, now the world knows that you are getting credit for the flan.) I also enjoyed the goat cheese, but let's be honest, it was a huge fried triangular wedge of cheese, so it's hard to go wrong. It accompanied by lovely, meaty mushrooms.
We had the 1989 entrees, and this is where the meal took a dip. I never had the experience before where food felt dated. On Top Chef, sometimes the judge will criticize that dish was so 80's/90's, and it's strange to think about it, but certain foods (or preparation styles) can feel old. It funny to think that 20 years ago this was new, innovative and cutting edge, as Olives was.
For dessert, a stunning vanilla bean souffle and a competence, but boring, molten chocolate cake cake came to the table. The souffle was light and airy with true vanilla flavor. My only complaint is that the creme anglaise that came with it was thin as water. The chocolate cake was good, but the raspberry sauce was lip puckeringly sour.
I do want to mention the bread basket; it had a nice crusty Francese and a soft, yielding onion focaccia. It was great with the plate of complimentary olives with 2 types of olive tapenade. Our service was also excellent.
The anniversary specials run till April 24.