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Must Haves at Oleana and Bergamot for Tonight/Soon?

opinionatedchef Jan 17, 2014 01:05 AM

Hoping to eat at Oleana and Bergamot tonight and/or soon.
Any favs on the current menus? Thx so much.

I must say, i really like the components used by both chefs, but the one time we went to Bergamot i was actually shocked about the child size portions (for our appetites ,that is) which left us both hungry. The current menu actually has a chicken THIGH, a giannone chicken thigh with a beef sausage, for $26. That got my eyebrows shooting right up there....I mean, REAlly, you can't give someone two thighs for that $26 or close? Aside from my own reaction, i just think it looks stingy.
Here are the links: Thx again for your help.

http://www.bergamotrestaurant.com/menus/dinner-menu/

http://www.oleanarestaurant.com/eat-a...

  1. rlh Mar 2, 2014 07:56 PM

    Having NEVER been to Oleana and reminded of that sad fact by this thread, we went Saturday night - and I GET IT - wow!

    EVERYTHING was delicious - standouts for me were the deviled eggs, lamb tart, duck soup, and striped bass special, as well as their take on Baked Alaska for dessert as well as the profiteroles. Wine was interesting, paired well, and priced fairly. Service was solid and readily available even in the full rooms at peak time. Eager to go back - soon.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rlh
      a
      addiez Mar 4, 2014 01:00 PM

      The lamb and grape leaf tart? My gosh, that was amazing.

      1. re: addiez
        opinionatedchef Mar 4, 2014 01:29 PM

        YES! same for me

    2. rlh Feb 28, 2014 10:21 AM

      Returned to Bergamot for yet another special occasion dinner last night - and once again left VERY happy, satisfied, and impressed as well as NOT overstuffed in spite of 3-courses. The service and ambiance was excellent as always - good music, not too loud, nice lighting, and attentive not intrusive servers. Every seat, including the bar, was occupied on a cold Thursday night.

      The definite high notes of the evening were the goat cheese chive butter with the warm crusty bread and the cheese course (possibly the best ever of a number of awesome ones I've had here - the pairings like spiced walnuts, salty marcona almonds, and orange cornbread are just spectacular choices). That "new" pastry chef Kelsey was responsible for both - and we told her what a star we think she is on our way out!

      Everything was good - the cocktails to start were a perfectly balanced gin-based special and a riff on an Old Fashioned with blood orange - Paul is a top notch bartender for sure.

      Starters of a lime-spiked vegetable soup and bucatini with short rib ragout were tasty but the least distinctive things we had. The scallop dish is a great creation, but like pretty much every scallop dish I've had this season, it suffered from too few, too tiny scallops, even though they tasted great. The char main was awesome - I could have that every time I go there.

      The help with the wine pick was great and steered us very nicely to a Northern Rhone (red) option that worked really well (and was among the lowest price options we were considering, BTW) with our food choices. The decanting tableside of this modest wine did open it up and make a difference - another very nice touch.

      FWIW, I saw the chicken "thigh" mentioned in your post (or maybe the menu has been revised) - it was a nicely-sized quarter with leg that looked and smelled delicious with perfectly-browned and crispy skin - the braised beef next to us was huge and smelled wonderful as well.

      I did notice that the tasting menu being served on the other side of us seemed to be 5 courses directly off the menu with nothing extra or special - not sure I get the appeal of that...

      Bergamot has consistently delivered for us for years - not one disapointment (even on New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day!) - every visit makes us want to return sooner next time - and bring friends (if only that bar were larger or that bar food menu were available in the dining room....)

      5 Replies
      1. re: rlh
        m
        Madrid Feb 28, 2014 12:12 PM

        If they aren't filled with regular menu patrons, having the bar menu at tables is a good marketing move for groups. We've gone back to Rendezvous three times on Mondays since hearing that the Monday tapas menus is also available at the tables, so you don't have to wait for bar seats to open up. We are parents who need to get in and out quickly.

        1. re: rlh
          opinionatedchef Feb 28, 2014 05:20 PM

          <happy, satisfied, and impressed as well as NOT overstuffed in spite of 3-courses. >

          Sorry,rlh, but you got a major guffaw out of me.
          Worrying about getting overstuffed on 3 courses at Bergamot- is just not on my bucket list.

          1. re: opinionatedchef
            opinionatedchef Feb 28, 2014 07:06 PM

            rlh, just to be clear, i was not intending to be swarmy; just jokin around. I would be thrilled to have a stomach as small as yours.

            and the way you feel about bergamot reads like us and how we felt about evoo when it was there. great to have a place like that.

            1. re: opinionatedchef
              rlh Mar 1, 2014 07:50 AM

              Ohhh - you should see my stomach...but that aside, the portions were highly variable but skewed toward the small side in the case of the scallops - the char and the bucatini, in particular, were really "normal" (of course, I have been getting indoctrinated in this by Weight Watchers for the past month, so my perspective may be skewed) - in any case, everything here just works for us - and we did not leave hungry in the least.

          2. re: rlh
            k
            kewpie Feb 28, 2014 06:10 PM

            Bergamot has really delicious food& drinks!

          3. Bob Dobalina Feb 27, 2014 05:15 PM

            We popped in to Oleana tonight and had a bunch of meze.

            I thought the Mushroom Musakhan—Leeks, Chestnuts & Sumac - was transcendent - may have been the best bite I've had in the past year. Crispy, crepe-like flatbread, with mushroom, leeks and a chestnut sauce - so earthy - umami heaven.

            We also enjoyed a special - pulled pork with orzo, tomato, green olives, feta - like a Greek gouvetsi, but the pulled pork was a nice touch and the green olives gave the dish a needed acidity and bitterness that elevated it. Also the squeeze of lemon.

            We also enjoyed avocado and dukkah (which apparently has replaced the long-standing carrot and dukkah) - the avocado surprisingly went well - felt a little more indulgent and more dippish, where the carrot felt more pointy in flavors. The pomegranate seeds strangely worked, although overall it was sweetish - may have enjoyed more dukkah. But yummy all the same.

            Fried Cauliflower, Beirut-Style Slaw, Pickles & Tahini was a small pile of deep-fried cauliflower, a slaw that seemed like a normal slaw - the tahini was a good touch - the cauliflower tasted a little like the cauli in the sandwich at Strip T's - the slaw and the tahini helped to balance and lighten the friedness of it.

            Whipped Fava, Beet Tabouleh, Radicchio, Green Olive & Pinenut was also good, although was not as fava-y as I might have liked - but the beets were good - again, all the components together made this work.

            Last but not least, side of kale. It was buttery tasting. It was salty. It was good.

            We were too full for dessert but noted that my wife's favorite dessert of all time - the almond cremolata with the grilled chocolate Panini - has been "ruined" (my Freudian slip) - the cremolata now comes with a citrus soup, candied kumquats and a chocolate bar. Boo! ;)

            I can see some folks finding the place a little pricey ($94 for our dishes) for what you get - the pours on the wines are not awesomely generous (although the wines are out of the ordinary, and they always seem to have a Chinon Blanc-type that we really like for the acidity and sourness to counter the mezes).

            But I have never had anything less than great chow here flavor-wise.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Bob Dobalina
              opinionatedchef Feb 27, 2014 08:59 PM

              we were there tues night . i prob should have postponed it because i felt sicker as the night progressed, and we left early/no dessert and vowed to return asa i have recovered.
              5 mezze and 1 entree: 4 delicious, 1 o.k. and 1 reject.
              --Just did not care for the flavors of the Octopus 'Empanada' (Napoleon really) Very heavy on thick tomatoey carrot flavors.
              --Whipped Fava, Beet, etc. not too exciting, but very pretty and neat textural composition

              --My evening fav was the Lamb and Grape Leaf pie w/ Spicy feta. Nothing pleases me more than tasting a very unique delicious dish with element(s) that I can't identify.
              --Quail Skewer- the most succulent quail i have ever had, so moist and boldly spiced. No wonder it's her 'fav dish' per her Eater Boston interview.
              --Lamb and Sweet Potato Tagine- Fully snarfed by My Love.
              -- Lamb Manti -tiny star shaped dumplings filled with a very flavorful braised lamb, and topped with spiced yoghurt and thick tomato paste. Small portion but surprisingly filling. A PERfect dish of manti, far superior to any others i've had stateside.
              -- Excellent red sangria; not too sweet and with a distinctly different wine than i have had in other sangrias.

              Looking forward to feeling better and returning for a relaxed feast (and dessert).

              p.s. is that spinach falafel really special (waitress recommended it)? what is katmer? anyone had the duck?

              1. re: opinionatedchef
                v
                VintageMolly Feb 28, 2014 08:11 AM

                You've never had the spinach falafel at Oleana? Oh my, you MUST get it next time. It is incredible.

                1. re: VintageMolly
                  m
                  Madrid Feb 28, 2014 08:48 AM

                  the last time I had it was probably 2 years ago, but before that (haven't been that often lately) usually had it every time. it's wonderful!

                  1. re: Madrid
                    b
                    bear Feb 28, 2014 10:25 AM

                    You can get a spinach falafel wrap at Sofra when the craving hits.

                2. re: opinionatedchef
                  melpy Feb 28, 2014 10:27 AM

                  The recipes is in her cookbook, Spice. I had to make it at home it was so great. I think you can also find it online.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    Jolyon Helterman Mar 1, 2014 02:25 AM

                    That quail dish is probably in my Top 10 for the entire city. Perfect.

                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                      opinionatedchef Mar 13, 2014 09:09 PM

                      We went back tonight and were able to try most of the dishes CHs rec'd to us.

                      The WOW dish of the night was the Duck entree. With this one, Anna enters the ring with Ribelle, both for the minimalist menu description of this dish and for its amazing complexity and deliciousness. When it was first placed before me, i was convinced it was the wrong plate, but further exploration proved me both wrong, and ever so happy to be wrong. While not described as such, this is a soup, a bowl of deeply flavorful rich broth in which are found a sea of treasures: crunchy-skinned wedges of just- roasted duck breast, greens, grains, beans, even a few noodles. I'm not sure i have ever had such a memorable duck entree.

                      My Love was thrilled with his roast zaatar chicken atop a mixed cheese pastry crepe. Except for the tender pastry,
                      i wasn't thrilled with it but he raved and raved.

                      For mezze we repeated the Grilled Quail and the Lamb and Grape Leaf pie, and added the requisite Spinach Falafel and the Mushroom Musakahn . The first two were as winning as last week. And, while the falafel was certainly unique, I felt that the pita , pickles and sauces were really included to fill out the plate, to justify the $11 for a plate that, in reality, was just 3 spinach falafel balls. The memorable falafel were dense, moist and creamy, though i much preferred eating it naked rather than making mini roll-ups with it.
                      The Mushroom Musakahn was unusual and fun. That wonderful flaky griddle bread (for Sofra's roll up sandwiches) was the base for a slightly sweet chestnut spread, which was then topped with dollops of sauteed chanterelles, caramelized leeks and spices. We were surprisingly civil about how we split everything, but i could easily see this dish inciting some dining table arm wrestling ! (I should mention that these 4 mezze plus 2 entrees and 1 dessert was too much food for [even] us, and our entree leftovers came home w/ us.)

                      The only big letdown tonight was the dessert. The baked Alaska there is over the top for me, so i had the Almond Cremolatea, which i thought i remembered liking. BumMER. Rather meh and small ice cream scoop in a pool of kumquat juice, with a single sliced candied kumquat and a thick solid bar of uninteresting dark chocolate on the side. No stellar elements and it just didn't work. Maybe I should have ordered the chocolate hazelnut semifreddo....
                      Red sangria was great; unique spiced table breads were too. Service was efficient. Now that we're back on track w/ Oleana, having tried a good many of their current menu dishes,I have a good sense of what they're about these days, and we look forward to returning. Thx to all for your specific recommendations!

                  2. Small Plates Feb 27, 2014 12:42 PM

                    That chicken was delicious. My husband had it a few weeks ago, and it was probably the best I've eaten in a long time. It was not a huge portion, but we ordered a few things, and it satisfied. I was more overwhelmed by its yumminess than its meagerness, I would have to say. Bergamot is not a place we go for a feedbag - but we always leave sooooooo happy!! (Especially if we have been able to snag a seat at the bar where I can have the lobster melt!!!) :)

                    1. w
                      WanderingVoyager Feb 27, 2014 07:00 AM

                      When I go, I always get the hot pepper labne- I tried to recreate it at home (by straining yogurt, etc.) but it wasn't quite as good. It's one of my favorite dishes on the menu. I also recommend the spicy fideos and the chickpea terrine. Honestly, I prefer their meze more than the main courses so I only order a few main dishes to share within the group. But you CAN'T miss out on dessert here. Their menu changes quite frequently and I've never had anything bad. After having katmer in Istanbul, I was thrilled to see it on Oleana's menu last August. While it was quite different from my Istanbul katmer, it was a delicious variation.

                      1. opinionatedchef Feb 10, 2014 12:42 PM

                        http://boston.eater.com/archives/2014...

                        This is a neat feature on ana and oleana..

                        1. j
                          jajjguy Jan 18, 2014 09:35 PM

                          The desserts at Bergamot have gotten a complete makeover since the arrival of amazing new pastry chef Kelsey. I've been eating a lot more dessert recently. Save room.

                          1. n
                            nonaggie Jan 17, 2014 02:17 PM

                            We were there recently and particularly enjoyed the whipped fava (kind of a variation on hummus), mushroom musakhan, and Meyer lemon parfait. But we love almost everything we have at Oleana and mostly just try to order things we haven't had before...

                            1. Bob Dobalina Jan 17, 2014 02:06 PM

                              The portion size complaint at Bergamot should be nonexistent now - has been fixed for a long time.

                              I like the dumplings with chard and mushroom at Oleana. My wife loves the almond cremolata dessert with the chocolate panini. I don't get the love for the falafel - I mean, it's good, but it's not measurably better than other falafel to me.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                k
                                kewpie Feb 11, 2014 05:35 PM

                                Bergamots $39 year round 3 course meal might be the best deal in town. very high quality and fantastic ingrediants. the charcuterie is tops

                              2. Infomaniac Jan 17, 2014 01:52 PM

                                Oleana had a striped bass special a few weeks ago that I'd order again.

                                1. s
                                  sallyt Jan 17, 2014 01:11 PM

                                  You can skip the sole at Oleana.

                                  DEFINITELY get the falafel. My DCs loved the sultan's delight (I don't eat beef so can't comment!).

                                  1. c
                                    cambridgeMike Jan 17, 2014 12:39 PM

                                    the lemon chicken and the quail were two standouts for me at Oleana.

                                    1. t
                                      TeacherFoodie Jan 17, 2014 12:33 PM

                                      I really enjoyed the scallops and the deviled eggs.

                                      Enjoy! Such a great place!

                                      1. melpy Jan 17, 2014 03:11 AM

                                        The whipped feta and the falafel were stand outs for me at Oleana.

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