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Oleana 9/28 (long)

b
BrunchOrBust Sep 30, 2007 10:05 AM

Ate on the patio, with a large enough (and willing enough) group to cover a good portion of the menu.

Small plates: We all shared the buttered hummus wrapped in basturma (procuitto-ish? I'd never had it before) and the spicy carrot puree. Although the hummus is definitely worth it despite the "I have this all the time factor", I preferred the carrot puree - it wasn't particularly hot-spicy, just well seasoned with ginger and cumin. The bread that came with included a really delicious foccacia and garden variety (but excellent) white bread. I got the deviled eggs with tuna, which were more like eggs stuffed with tuna salad. Good, if a little rubbery.

Appetizers: The octopus salad (with cauliflower and white beans) was outstanding - it might just be that I'm used to having it as sashimi, but when it was grilled past the point of rubberyness, it was an entirely different flavor - smoky and with a greater depth of fish flavor. The spinach falafel was probably my favorite dish of the night. The texture was an absolutely perfect combination of crisp exterior and moist interior, with delicious sauces (red sauce - beets? did I mention we were sitting on the patio? it was a little dark - tahini, and yogurt), and served with cress on a mini-lavash.

Mains: We got the ricotta and bread dumplings with red wine, porcini, and kale, the swordfish scaloppini with eggplant-macaroni timbale, the scallops with celery root semolina, and the River Rock beef shish kebob with zucchini pancakes. The scallops and swordfish were good but not incredibly memorable. The ricotta and bread dumplings were perfect foils for the most amazing, farmer's-market fresh tomato sauce. The beef and zucchini pancakes were mind-blowing. The beef was tender and richly spiced, and the zucchini pancakes were rich and creamy - I'm pretty sure cheese was involved, but I'm not sure how.

Dessert: We managed to cover nearly everything here. We had the pomegranite granite (I'm biased towards creamy in my frozen desserts, but this packed a powerful punch) with pomegranite sauce on palace bread (spongy, honey-soaked bread). Two had the warm pumpkin turnover (again, I'm biased against pastry, but this was flaky and flavorful) with brown butter ice cream resting on top of walnuts. To my left was a warm chocolate panino (intensely dark chocolate between some sort of unmemorable white bread) with almond cremolata - creamier than I expected, and actually even better than the panino. I had the warm chocolate truffle with honey poached seckel pear and honey pot de creme. The truffle was an actual round truffle, with a crispy shell and an inside along the lines of a flourless truffle cake. The honey in the other two components wasn't at all overpowering, and the dark chocolate helped to cut their mild sweetness.

The meal took a while, (bordering on too long between courses), and our server was just a little off, but the patio absolutely as beautiful as I'd heard it was, and it was overall a lovely experience!