Oleana last night
- lissy Jul 7, 2006 03:11 PM
Arrived at Oleana last night at 6:30 in the hopes of being early enough to sit on the patio on such a gorgeous night. We were sad to hear that the wait was about 1-1 1⁄2 hours but quite happy to belly up to the bar with a bottle of bubbles and some prêt a manger. We popped open a bottle of Duval Leroy rose’ and snacked on the prêt a manger. For three of us, we ordered the warm buttered hummus with basturma (which is a dried spiced beef) and tomato and the whipped feta with sweet and hot peppers. Both were quite delicious and sated our appetites until we were seated.
After about an hour at the bar, we were seated out in the garden. I have dined at Oleana several times but have never sat outside in the garden. What a beautiful spot! Our server (I think her name was Shelly) was very friendly and knowledgeable. She answered all of our questions about the menu and told us of the specials.
We started with one of the special appetizers which was a homemade buffalo mozzarella made fresh that day served with tomato, chanterelle mushrooms and corn. Our other appetizer was the Greek tuna roll with zucchini and mint served atop a potato and garlic dip. I loved this. It was sushi grade tuna served raw wrapped in the zucchini and mint with a bit of phyllo like pastry. It is cooked so that the pastry is crisp but the tuna is still raw.
We had three main courses, the first of which was the flattened lemon chicken with Turkish cheese pancake which was a pretty big portion of chicken with something similar to a cheese crepe. Next was the skirt steak with caramelized butter and cheese borek. The last main course was a special which was a kind of swordfish rollatini which was swordfish rolled with white anchovy and bread crumbs served in a very flavorful tomato, pine nut and calamata olive sauce and served with very fresh and crisp sugar snap peas.
It was a wonderful evening of good food served at a leisurely pace in that gorgeous garden setting.
I'm so happy to read a post like this: it seems like Oleana disappoints a lot of 'hounds, and I generally have such good luck there (as long as I skip entrees). I also confess to having gotten a little nervous about all the book-tour-related hype, which is rarely a good marker for a local chef-owned place. Here's hoping that Ana Sortun doesn't have visions of a national franchise with outlets in the native casinos.
If last night was any measure, the book tour hasn't changed the food at all. Despite what some other experiences may have been, I have never had a bad meal at Oleana (though admittedly, it was a good year or two since I had been before last night). And just for the record, I enjoyed my main course just as much as my appetizer.
Desserts have always been a highlight for me at Oleanna, even if the heavy lifting is done by premade stuff like their ice creams. The food seems generally nice but relies more on interesting flavours drawn from the mediterrenean and middle east rather than careful technique.
No way. It's not over-hyped, in my opinion. I wonder sometimes if people are disappointed because it's food that might be unfamiliar to them. It's middle eastern with a twist. If eggplant, and olives and haloumi cheese is a stretch for someone eating there...they may not like it. I dunno. My own experience there has been really exceptional. As for the Greek Tuna Roll, that's fine if you haven't seen one in Greece. It doesn't mean the flavors are out of line, or that the dish is bad.... cooking is a creative thing. And I think Oleana is really exceptional in it's creativity.
I really love the place, and especially their vegetarian tasting menu. it doesn't get better than that for us veggies. Also their apps are just the right size and tastiness. i thought I'd be underwhelmed by the best SanFran has to offer, including Fleur de Lys, because I love Oleana so much, and I was right--there is just something so special about the food at Oleana. Their flavors are subtle and lovely.