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Ole --What happened?

My husband & went to Ole a few times --probably about 3-4 years ago or so -- & really enjoyed it. We remembered there being interesting specials, great food & cocktails...our friends warned us that it changed, but my husband really wanted to go back. We learned to trust our friends.

Although the restaurant wasn't packed, we waited ten minutes before our water glasses were filled and then another 5 before our waitress our existence although she came back & forth to the table next to us a few times (A, "I'll be with you in a minute" is all I would ask for here).

First we ordered the "famous" guacamole which the menu indicates is prepared tableside. The waitress told us our guacamole was being made & pointed to the back of the restaurant saying there wasn't enough room to wheel the cart into the dining room anymore. The guacamole was nothing special --heavy on citrus & cilantro. The chips were boring & hard. The salsa was oddly smoky & sweet.

For main courses I ordered the Pescado a la Veracruzana which was listed on the menu as being red snapper. The waitress said that the fish served is no longer snapper but tilapia. I remembered from my experience several years ago that this was a delicate dish with snapper fillets over a bed of cilantro rice in a light tomato broth with olives, capers, etc. What I got were two thick & over-cooked white fish fillets which I question whether they were actually tilapia, absolutely covered in a gloppy, over-spiced mess of olives, tomatoes, onions, capers, etc. On the side was a small pyramid of lukewarm cilantro rice. DH got the Costillas de Puerco ("bbq" ribs) with mashed red potatoes. He only ate two of the four ribs which has probably never happened in his lifetime. The mashed potatoes were gluey in consistency (I tried a bite) and he said the ribs were more fat than meat. We also shared a pitcher of sangria which contained no fruit and tasted like sugary fruit punch.

Needless to say, we will not be returning.

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  1. That's too bad. Ole has its shortcomings but I often have pretty good meals there and think of it as one of the only decent places for 'upscale' Mexican. I guess it depends a lot on what you order.

    1. I haven't been impressed with Ole in three or four visits, either. I keep wanting to like it (thus the three or four visits, rather than just one), but so far have always ended up wishing I'd spent half as much and gone to Tacos Lupita or Taqueria la Mexicana.

      But if you're looking for "upscale" Mexican, my wife and I just finally went to Casa Romero for the first time, and thought that was much more like what Ole ought to be.

      2 Replies
      1. re: glenn mcdonald

        I had always been a fan of Ole, so am disappointed to hear these reports.

        But Casa Romero? Really? I went twice (to give them a second chance), but no, I still found their food bland and unimaginative, and the margaritas just plain sour. It was pricey, for sure, but that's all that I found "upscale".

        1. re: chilibaby

          Agreed - Casa Romero isn't awful, but it's really "gringoized" Mexican food - not particularly imaginative. When we first moved to Boston we read and heard many good things about the place but were really let down (though keep in mind we moved from California). We were MUCH happier at Ole - though it's been a while since we've been there. I'd rather go to Border Cafe than Romero any day :-)

      2. Their former sister restaurant in Arlington, now called Zocalo Cocina, has maintained the charm and quality that you recall from Ole. I've eaten there 2 - 3 times in the past year and will absolutely be returning.


        1. Well, as I said, only one visit to Casa Romero, so it's a "try this and see what you think" mention, not a "this is consistently fabulous" endorsement. I agree that Romero isn't particularly eccentric or intense, but I never got the impression that Ole was attempting to be either of those things, so they seem like similarly-minded places to me.

          I've also only been to Zocalo once. It seemed a little less "fancy" than Ole to me, maybe like Ole crossed with Picante, but that may be partly a function of the atmosphere. I don't remember the menu in much detail. Whatever I had was decent, but not inspiring, and we don't live very near it.

          My personal pick for non-cheap Mexican is Tu y Yo, which has actively and repeatedly impressed me. But that's a pretty different feel and taste from Ole/Romero/Zocalo.

          1. Ordered from there today. Had the mariscada and a side of sauteed spinach with pine nuts. Both were good. The portions were too small. The seafood was very good quality, but I couldn't help wishing it was Muqueca's mariscada (seafood not quite as good, but a far larger portion, more flavor, and the plantain side dish for like $8 cheaper). It was definitely enjoyable though. The spinach was simple and predictable but very tasty.

            A nice, light dinner, unremarkable for the price. I'd probably recommend Tu y Yo or Forest Cafe instead.

            1. I too had a very bad experience recently. I could of possibly had one of the worst servers I have ever had- EVER! RUSH RUSH RUSH! My date and I both felt that she was annoyed w/ our presence. I wish I had her name cause it was so aweful I wanted to craft a letter to them complaining. But she never told us her name. She came over to us while we were clearly STILL EATING our main course and tried to drop the check (mind you the place was still busy it was an hour+ to closing) we asked her to take it back as we were hoping for dessert. Everything else was super - the food was fabulous although courses arrived 5 minutes after the previous course so our table was bursting at the seams. I loved Ole - but I must say it will be hard to go back. She was outright rude. And I embarrassed for I had talked about how great it would be to my date and they entire time we dined we conversed about how rude she was!

              1. I was there Sat night. Two of us shared very tasty tapas: Avocado and chicken soup, Scallops over salad, black beans, spinah with pine nuts. The salsa was pretty mild-but the addition of habanero salsa solved that. Everything was delish. DC had chocolate bread pudding--which I resisted, but he loved to pieces--and he's not a dessert or chocolate guy.

                So, our experience compared favorably to lots of those listed above. Whatever the case may be, I hope they get past any bumps and mishaps they might be going through, because Ole is truly a gem.

                1. Went for the first time last week. They actually make a pretty decent Margarita (the Ole) which is prepared without sour mix. I ordered the mariscada which was scallops, shrimp, clams and mussels over cilantro rice. It had some good scallops and shrimp, but the mussels were a little small and there were only a couple tablespoons of rice at the bottom of a large plate. My GF ordered the stuffed peppers and like them a lot. The check was $95.00 for two people, with tip. In all, ok, but on the pricey side, and a little skimpy in the portion size.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wontonton

                    Just went for the first time tonight. I also had the Ole margarita, which I really enjoyed - and I hate margaritas. I also also had the mariscada - I'll second that the mussels were disappointing, but the scallops and clams were actually exceptional, imo. Other diners had the roast pork soft taco (very good!!), the tuna soft taco (excellent) and the chiles rellenos (good). Crepes with a silky goat's milk caramel sauce finished things off, with a couple of tasty liquor coffees. Having read this thread before going, I was worried. I was pretty pleased in the end. Yes, it was a little pricey for what it was - $141 for 4. But I certainly have no complaints about the food itself.

                    Edit: I had a decent sized disc of rice at the bottom of mine - certainly as much as I wanted!

                  2. I have had the guacamole twice: Once about 2.5 years ago and once about 3 months ago. I felt the second time that there was a major quality decrease, but given the elapsed time I can't swear to that. I also found the chips poor. I did like their salsa habanera.

                    I have had the mariscada there also. I thought it was good to very good, but the portion was depressingly small for the price, and there was hardly anything with it. I would not order it again for these reasons.

                    1. I had written this place off, after enjoying it a lot in its first couple of years. A recent revisit changed my mind: the food had gotten less traditional, more creative, and much better. We had a bunch of small plates that were great. Drink were quite respectable, too; this is a good place to get Central and South American cocktails (margarita, Pisco sour, mojito, caipirinha). Sitting in the atmospheric rear dining room was a plus, too. I think I like this place better than the more traditional Zocalo. I wonder if this split in cuisine directions was what led the brothers to dissolve their partnership.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        A foursome of us went to Ole last night, fearing a bit of the worst with the comments above, and had a very pleasant meal. Started with the guacamole, which was done tableside and very well indeed. Chips were warm and fresh.

                        For our meals, three of us shared six of the 8 "small plates". The beer-battered shrimp tacos were excellent; the two scallop tapas were both very well done with very fresh scallops; the tacos with grilled chicken was good but somewhat pedestrian, though the grilled diced pineapple was yummy; the tuna seviche was made with great tuna but suffered from an overabundance of green olives, which others may love but I do not; and a good but boring enchilada with goat cheese and mushrooms.

                        The fourth diner had the salmon entree, which was delicious and a fairly sized if not enormous portion of salmon on top of a tasty potato gratin! No room for dessert. Drinks were beer for two, and tasty Ole Margaritas for the others. All in all, a very nice meal for about $180 for 4, including tax/tip.

                      2. I went to Ole once or twice, but after eating at Tu y Yo I've never looked back. If you're looking for authentic regional Mexican cuisine in a slightly more "high-end" atmosphere than a tacqueria, Tu Y Yo will be right up your alley.