May 2nd, 2010

Ristorante Olivio, Arlington

To be honest, I did not have high hopes for Olivio; it looks like a generic red sauce Italian restaurant. I have never read anything, positive or negative, about it on the millions of food columns, articles, and websites I frequent (other than a glowing segment on the Phantom Gourmet, but you can’t really trust them). But it was a Thursday night, and by then I’m exhausted from my week of WGB (Work, Gym, Bridge) and the larder is bare, 4 days removed from the weekend shopping. All I wanted a quick, easy meal that I don’t have to prep, cook and clean, so out to dinner, G & R go.


There was no wait on a quiet Thursday night; we got a nice table by the window. The bread was standard Iggy’s Francese, but they get bonus points for serving it warm. R had the Bocconcini di Vitello –veal rolled with pancetta, fontina, and spinach. It came with a butternut squash, sage and mushroom risotto. R really enjoyed his meal; the veal was tender and he liked the sauce. I thought it was too sweet, but R’s palate loves the sweets.


I liked that Olivio offers a choice of two homemade pastas for $20. I choose the artichoke and fontina ravioli and the Bolognese. The ravioli was tasty, although there was 8 or 9 random corn kernels scattered on the dish, which had no connection to anything. The Bolognese was okay as a pasta dish, but there was far too much cream for it to be a proper Bolognese sauce. It was more like a pink cream meat sauce. Both our entrees suffered from under cooked mushrooms.


Our server was friendly, and the meal was what we wanted; a quick, moderately priced meal that someone else cooked and will clean up after. But honestly, with Il Casale 1.5 miles away, why bother?


Five Guys Burgers, Dedham

Five guys, a Philly based burger chain, has been called the east coast In-N-Out by some people, and that was enough for R to want to go. Friday was a lovely warm spring night and mini golf seemed like a great way to enjoy the weather. After I crushed R, Chucky, and Alice (2 under par, and 2 holes in one!) a celebratory burger, fries and shake seemed in order.


We went to the Dedham location. It is nestled in a strip mall. We were disappointed to find that they do not serve shakes. Instant demerits for that - what kind of burger joint doesn’t have shakes? We both ordered a bacon cheese burger with Cajun fries. We were unimpressed. The burger was squished, the bun was a little soggy, and of course, the meat is overcooked, as you can’t order its doneness. The fries were on the limp side and the Cajun seasoning was underwhelming. I don’t understand the hype. Our two burgers and large fries came to $14 and at this price point, I should be able to say more than, eh, the burger is better than McDonald’s (but not the fries).


R is itching to go to Sonic, now that it has arrived in Massachusetts. Prepare to be underwhelmed some more.