Oleana - yo, that's some good cookin'
Dinner at Oleana, a run down:
Started with the spicy carrot puree. A friend had just made this for a recent dinner, but Oleana is clearly doing something better because I could just not stop eating it. Maybe it's the spice-dipped foccia or the quality of the carrots, but man - yum.
We split two appetizers: Sultan's Delight and Spinach Falafel. Sultan's Delight came with a perfectly cooked, meltingly tender shortrib in a tamarind glaze. On the other side of the plate: a smokey complex eggplant puree, unhindered by tahini. Spinach Falafel on homemade flatbread with tahini, yogurt with beets & curly cress was soul satisfying. There was some type of pickled vegetable in there too. DC pointed out he would have liked something a bit crunchy in there - the falafel was more soft than anything - and I would have liked a bit more acid, but otherwise this was lovely.
For dinner, Scallops with Chorizo Gnocchi, Sun Chokes, Asparagus & Golden Raisin Crumbs for me; Crispy Duck with Butter Toasted Pita, Cinnamon Rice Pilaf, Fresh Chick Peas, Eggplant for DC. My scallops were seared to perfection, the sun choke puree was lovely and the the asparagus with golden raisin crumbs was really interesting. The chorizo gnocchi, however, were soft and bready and not ok. They really should have been grilled. And strangely, they were a lot better cold out of the fridge the next day. Go figure. DC won the battle of the entrees - that duck was just awesome.
For dessert, we split Sicilian Almond Cremolata, Warm Chocolate Panino. It's a nondairy ice cream, in case you were wondering, cause I sure was. Came with crunchy almonds that were completely addictive. Incredibly dark chocolate in the grilled panino - I gotta start making these at home, as they are clearly perfection on a grill.
Why do I not go here all the time? Definitely great cooking in Cambridge.
As gini's lucky DC I can't add much to a great review - the cremolata was like an almond milk sorbet - creamy but not heavy. Those chorizo gnocchi were just strange and mushy and didn't really work, but that was really the only wrong note in the meal. The duck entree was fantastic - the tender texture of the eggplant played very nicely with the rich duck meat. I'm not sure that *fresh* chickpeas are a major revelation as compared with dried chickpeas, but they were interesting to taste. Someone near us got the baked alaska, which looked great, and behind us at the bar someone had the flaming cheese, which is always entertaining. Overall, really a great meal.
I'm with you Gini--we went here for my birthday (without reservations on a Monday we sat at the bar, which is what we prefer anyway) and I got the vegetarian tasting menu, which was big enuf to share w/my 1 entree DC :) every course was just delectable...and DC's cod and veggies in parchment was great too.
We are lucky to have it :)