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Nov 15, 1998 11:19 PM

Malt Balls and Chinese Food

  • j

I found great malt balls in Midtown...and checked out that new Ollie's across from the Sony Theater.

Read all about it on the "What Jim Had For Dinner" page at

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  1. s
    Scott Bowling

    Well, I found myself in a similar situation waiting for
    a show to start at the Sony (Saving Private Ryan, I
    think), though I didn't run around looking for a place
    to eat. We went straight across to Ollie's to give it
    a try.

    It is a very nice interior, isn't it? One thing that
    was definitely not nice was the wait staff. They
    weren't exactly rude, but they weren't very friendly. I
    caught myself wondering if they'd just been recruited
    from the North Korean army. Not only did our waiter not
    offer chopsticks, but didn't bring us water or tea
    until we asked a couple of times. The tea was really
    weak anyway. Yack.

    The entrees (I forget exactly, a chicken and a beef
    dish) were fairly good, but the cold sesame noodles
    weren't so good. The sauce was very thick and had
    little flavor.

    The food was reasonable, for sure, and the movie was
    even better. I'll have to check out the malt balls next
    time around.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Scott Bowling

      Oh, yes, the hostess was very North Korean, emotionally, fer sure. But the waiters, etc, had applied a microthin veneer of friendliness that was perfectly acceptable as long as you didn't look under the curtain. Just like the place deep dining experience, no deep ambiance, no deep food, but nonetheless--if
      you order very very carefully--it can all come together into a heckuva congenial meal; the wires and pneumatic tubes of the assembly-line operation very ingeniously hidden just out of sight (I'm speaking metaphorically here, folks).

      But as for the I wrote, this is NOT a good restaurant, though good food can be had there. I tried to stress that you've gotta stick to fancy ingredients and simple preparations requiring no chefly intelligence. Cold sesame noodles are the exact opposite. Bad order (live and digest and learn...). Likewise "a chicken dish and a beef dish" have
      the ring of disaster (for those of you reading along, you may want to check out my report before chiming in)

      "The tea was really weak anyway"

      that's just because of their high volume. Let it sit (as you must at the more bustling Chinatown places); it's actually a decent jasmine tea

    2. We were hungry and in the Upper West Side, a
      rough situation... Ollie's on 84th & Broadway
      lured us in. In the past their dumplings were
      enjoyable and their sauces and fresh ingredients
      quite wholesome. Now after their renovation,
      their service has worsened (pressure to order
      more and get out fast) and the food has achieved
      the drabness of the surrounding area. Scallion
      pancakes had little scallion flavor, the
      dumplings reminded one of their ingredients, chow
      fun were served with tough meat squares and raw
      onion slices (a new salad in the making?) sesame
      noodles fair...
      And the tea was warm but rather flavorless.