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Feb 24, 2008 01:55 PM


Okay- I think I am a bit early on this as I think Olana just opened last night- but Chowhounders won't disappoint me, I'm sure.... so, anyone been? Olana, the house (in Hudson,NY), is one of my favorite places so I am very eager to hear of Olana the restaurant. Will be in NYC in mid March and am interested in booking if it seems good.

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  1. We went to Olana on Saturday night, the first night that it was opened for the general public. The place is huge, with a large and very popular circular bar area in the front of the house. The large main dinning room was less popular, probably in part due to some weird lighting resulting from a back lighted winter scene which casts a weird florescent lighting pall to the room. The smaller back room was packed, as it is much more intimate, comfortable and far more appropriate for a nice dinner. The banquettes and chairs are bordello red, and much of the décor has a combination of red tones and wood. In additional to the seasonal scenes in the main dining room, there is a large mural of the Hudson River that you will either love or really hate.

    The front of the house staff, managers and waiters were very professional, and seemingly well versed. However, the servers and busboys were totally confused and were dressed in mismatched white tops and black pants that seemed more appropriate at an inexpensive Latin American than at a more upscale restaurant.

    Hopefully they will quickly fix the main room lighting, and get some training and uniforms for the servers and runners.

    What may take longer to fix is a menu and kitchen that seems to have no direction. Part of the menu is Hudson Valley local regional cuisine, and the other part is an interpretation of Italian cuisine. Clearly Chef Al Di Meglio is searching for his own style and while some may like this fusion of two styles, it just didn’t wow us. We sampled both types of dishes and found the duck, rabbit and pork loin dishes not nearly as good as at other top regional places. And the Italian dishes; including burnt orange and duck ravioli, cavatelli with mushrooms, and a Brodetto seafood stew with bulgur (not couscous as listed on the menu), missed the mark and were not up to par with other top Italians. It clear Di Meglio has talent and hopefully he will evolve into a menu that can be executed to perfection by the kitchen staff.

    The wine list is being developed according to the sommelier and at the moment is both eclectic and a little weird. It is also very high priced, starting at around $60 a bottle and climbing rapidly into the hundreds of dollars.

    We will give Olana a few weeks to iron out the kinks and hopefully allow Di Meglio and the kitchen to find their direction.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Martin_Chamois

      Thanks very much for the review. I have also been waiting to find out how it would turn out. I guess I will wait until I hear that they have gotten their act together. Particularly disturbing is that the wines are so expensive. I hate when the wine prices are way out of proportion to the food prices, which is too often these days.

      1. re: rrems

        Word is they will be adding New York State wines to wine list including some Hudson Valley and Long Island wines. As such, prices SHOULD be in high $30's to mid-$40's range.

      2. re: Martin_Chamois

        Thank you very much for the informative post. I guess I will see if the news is better closer to my trip. Post again if you return and find things improved!

      3. You may still want to make a reservation as many of the opening day/week issues will be fixed over next two weeks. As we wrote, Chef Di Meglio's menu and preparation may strike a favorable note with your tastes, despite the fact it just didn't work for us.

        1. I was there saturday night as well. I agree that the lighting is a major problem in the main dining room, but I disagree with the food review. I think it is fusion of regional dishes with an italian flavor. I had the risotto with king crab, sea urchins & black truffles. For dinner I had the stuffed rabbit. The risotta was excellent with a blend of flavors from the crab and well cooked risotto. The stuffed rabbit was tender and very flavorful. As well, the portions are controlled and neither of us left stuffed. For dessert with shared the banana napoleon and it was good. Seemed like a banana cake and banana mousse layered between chocolate pieces. On a final note, they are giving 15% off the bill this week to get people in the door, so it might be worth checking out.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ajr524

            Can you give me an idea of the prices? It sounds great but I would like to get an idea how much it will cost, and menupages does not show prices. Thanks.

            1. re: rrems

              Two people, one app, 2 entrees, 1 dessert, 2 drinks - about $130 (w tip and 15% discount.

              1. re: rrems

                Two people: two appetizers, two appetizer sized pastas, two mains, one bottle of merlot - discount + tip = $210

                1. re: Martin_Chamois

                  Thanks, MC and ajr. Sounds reasonable. I've reserved for next week.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Three of us had dinner at Olana tonight and it was absolutely superb. First a delicious amuse of smoked fish(can't recall exact description). Appetizers were lobster, pappardelle with rabbit, and risotto with crab, sea urchin and black truffles. Our main courses were delayed, so they gave us an extra course, the crespelle, which was truly amazing. The main courses, monkfish osso bucco, beef filet with bone marrow dumplings, and grilled berkshire pork were heavenly, We shared the banana napoleon for dessert, and it too was exceptional. Nice petits fours too. They are still giving a 15% discount on food, and the wine we ordered, a Bandol, was a bargain for just over $40. The atmosphere is elegant, with well-spaced tables and the most comfortable chairs I have seen in a restaurant in years. Subdued noise level, and a really good attitude on the part of the staff made this a memorable meal. We will be returning.

                2 Replies
                1. re: rrems

                  rrems: You are my hero. You have my taste and I shall be making a reservation within the next coming months thanks to you.
                  That beet salad is one of my favorite things on a menu so I will definaitely be looking forward to that one.
                  Do you happen to know if there is a panna cotta or bread pudding on the dessert menu?

                  1. re: idia

                    I'm fairly certain there was no panna cotta, and I don't recall a bread pudding but not 100% certain. There were also a few differences between the menu on Menupages and the actual menu. Maybe with any luck they will have a working website soon. If not you could probably ask them to email the menu to you.