I was invited out to Olives for RW dinner last night. I had never been to Olives and the menu sounded good, so we gave it a try. I was a little nervous that the place would be sub-par now that Todd English is a celebrity type and has places all over the country, but we were all very satisfied with our meals.
There were three choices for each course. Apps consisted of sweetbreads, caesar salad, and scallops. The salad and scallops were ordered as none of us are organ eaters. The salad was pretty standard and the croutons seemed a bit stale, but the crispy chicken thigh braised in 40 cloves of garlic was delicious. I tried a bite of the scallops which were grilled and served with a brandade, tomato and citrus vinaigrette. Pretty tasty.
For dinner I had the grilled skirt steak which was cooked perfectly medium rare and came with polenta, shrimp and endive. There were only two medium sized shrimp, but they were bursting with flavor. The chicken dish and the ravioli were also ordered and got good reviews.
For dessert we ordered the falling chocolate cake and peach crisp. The cake was very good, but the sweet corn ice cream that came with the peach crisp was delicious. I kept stealing bites from my girlfriend. There was that disntinct sweet corn flavor in every bite. I'd order a dish of that on it's own.
I really enjoyed dinner and the place was packed. There seemed to be a lot of those "we are ultra wealthy and we are going to act like it" folks in the dining area. Sort of surprising since it was a discount night and the normal menu looks reasonable anyway. Maybe it's the celeb chef thing...must sound good to people.
All the good steak houses can buy a grade lower quality beef and 30 day age it on property which yields a more tender, buttery steak. Other perfectly articulated restaurants can not dedicate the floor space to aging the beef on property so they have to buy better quality wich makes it more difficult for the dish to be profitable. Even skirt steak is expensive when compared to pork loin,chcken and many fish selections so for a meat choice during RW you will find that to be the only choice.
BTW I had several meals there in the years past and the meal never sat well with me several hours later. After different visits with different entrées each time I have come to realize that the food is just too rich there. I wonder if the rich composition is still the case.
A bit of a sidebar here, but is skirt steak something of a standard in Boston during restaurant week? I went to Blu and they were serving it as one of the choices, and also Taranta which was serving hanger steak, but which I believe is similar. I ordered it in both places, and liked it just fine, but am wondering if it has a cost effectiveness or other quality that prompts restaurants to serve it during RW.
You know, I guess you are right. I just looked at a current menu and it's not that cheap. They had a side menu next to the RW menu that I took to be the "normal" menu. Guess it was just supplimental.
As for being rich, that was the comment heard throughout the night. Lots of butter, cream and cheese. I guess I'm sort of use to butter and cheeses growing up with the irish family, but the two people who rarely use them picked it out right away.
A $30 prix fixe meal might be about the only thing that would get me back to Olives. I always thought the food was good, but it was ridiculously rich and over-the-top, and it certainly wasn't cheap. Sounds like you had a good experience though, probably the only time it might be worth giving Olives a try again, in my book.