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Milo and Olive - Mediocre at best

Saturday night we dined at Milo and Olive, and I could not be more underwhelmed. My jaw is still agape at what could possibly merit the slobbering effusive reviews and lines out the door. First of all, the physical setup of the place is absurd. A few communal tables and a bar. I've seen larger living rooms. Most importantly, the food. We had the Milo chopped salad, which was essentially a pizzeria salad that might be 10% better than one you'd get in a foil container from any take out joint. Decent, but it was nothing more than that. Then we ordered the sunchokes. I like sunchokes. These were sickeningly sweet, with a sugary glaze surrounding them. No balance, which is a theme for the chefs here - a complete lack of the concept of balance. Finally, we had two pizzas. The roasted potato with rosemary cream, caramelized onions, Parmigiano Reggiano, and the Burrata with La Quercia prosciutto, tomato sauce, arugula, olive oil, and sea salt. The Potato pizza was good. Not great, but good. It was by far the most put together dish that the restaurant served as far as flavor, compatibility of the flavor profiles and balance. The buratta pizza was a complete failure. I'll forgive them for the cold temperature (which I don't prefer), putting cold buratta on a pizza after cooking it and then covering it with cold arugula will reduce the temperature, but cannot forgive the flawed thought process behind its composition. The tomato sauce was hyper sweet and acidic, the buratta was cold and flavorless, the arugula didn't add anything to the dish, and the biggest failure was the prosciutto, no flavor at all. It painfully needed to be strong and salty in order to counter all of the other elements and it was literally nothing. The crusts were decent. Better than a take out joint, but not state of the art gourmet either. We didn't even bother to try the vaunted desserts because everything else was just painfully mediocre. My point is this, I can go to Pizzeria Mozza who BTW will accept a reservation, not wait outside on a bench forever to get in, sit like a civilized person at my own table, and eat pizza which is the same price but is literally 10 times better than the pizza and Milo and Olive, Oh, and I can get a spectacular salad, and get an amazing starter....and get a luscious memorable dessert. I guess if this place serves the purpose of reducing the crowds at Mozza, I'm all for it. But I'm not returning.

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  1. Wow, that stinks.

    I've quite enjoyed my meals at M&O; nothing earth-shattering, but both the pizzas and pastas have always hit the spot.

    I'm not sure why they would put cold arugula on a pizza; was it, perhaps, closer to room temp? Or outright cold, as though straight from the fridge?

    The buratta makes more sense, though temp matters less than flavor. It's certainly not the most flavor packed of cheeses, but Pizzeria Mozza tends to nail it.

    Anyway, from my experience it sounds as though you had an off night. Granted, I've only ever been for lunch.

    Lastly, in terms of the space, I believe they are expanding into the space next door, which should GREATLY help your absolutely valid complaints.

    1. OCMUTT, next time you want pizza and a nice wine on the westside, go to South End on Wash Blvd nr Abbot Kinney in MDR...tell Mario i sent ya!

      1. I agree generally that most things are mediocre (and I would add overpriced considering the setup) but I keep going back for the pork belly sausage pizza and, recently, the lasagna (also with the same pork belly sausage and kale). I also very much enjoyed the minestrone there. And I too hate the communal seating so get takeout 90% of the time. Burrata served at anything colder than cool room temperature is just wrong and a complete waste. The portions tend small (except pizzas). I got some kind of pasta to go once and I believe I involuntarily snorted when I saw the pathetic portion. It was about 5 bites of food. Never again. Now I know to just stick to the 3-4 things I can rely on.

        1. I agree that for a high end pizza place - Milo and Olive - can't compare to Mozza. It's overpriced and cramped - totally agree.

          But, I have to say that Milo and Olive is wonderful for brunch or lunch. Great specials, excellent unique breakfast entrees & delicious pastries to boot.

          All my friends that I've taken there for brunch have loved it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: toffifay

            Maybe they could put up a sign - "Warning, our reputation is based entirely on brunch and lunch. Try dinner at your own risk and pleeeeeeeeease don't hold dinner against us."

            I'm still scratching my head over the sunchokes and the burratta pizza. Did someone, or a group of people actually taste these and arrive at the consensus - "Hey! This tastes GOOD!" ?

            1. re: OC Mutt

              The one thing I've had at M&O that is chow worthy (crave worthy) is the garlic knot: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/milo-a... and the pork belly pizza with egg measures up to any pizza in town: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/milo-a...

              1. re: Servorg

                I've actually enjoyed the vast majority of my experiences there, food-wise. There was one visit where the food only seemed okay, but otherwise I think it's very tasty. Agree that the garlic knot is consistently chow-worthy. I also really like the pepperoni pizza since they slice the meat *so* thin.

                Seating is indeed cramped and uncomfortable. I used to have some pretty enjoyable interactions w/ strangers at the communal tables, but it seems that, on my last few visits, like nobody wanted to talk. =(

                I also don't live far from the place, so I think that makes the seating discomfort far more tolerable for me....

          2. My GF just went there with a friend and when I asked about her experience said, this is another place she is fine never going back to.

            1. I enjoy the pizza at M&O, quite a bit.

              Roasted carrot soup is an underrated gem, the Margherita and Bianca are works of wonder.

              My only lament about the place is its distance from my geographic comfort zone. But that's a "me" problem.

              1. Sounds like expectations might have been too high. Mrs. JAB and I enjoyed it for a late night meal after the chow meet down the street. #freekevin

                1. I had brunch there once, recently. The pastry we ordered seemed like care was put into baking it. The coffee was so-so, and I don't remember the brand. My dining companion had a dish of polenta with a poached egg and greens. It was well seasoned, hot, and tasty. I had the cheese eggs on top of cheese bread with some prosciutto (a $3 add on suggested by the waiter) and it was good, not great. The seating was cramped, and not to my liking. Had I known it was so small, we would have gone elsewhere. The service was good, though. All in all, not worth a return visit IMHO.

                  1. I've had positive experiences there - best is the service, the food is good, but in my 4 or 5 visits, I've never left having tasted something I feel compelled to have again.

                    We all knows restaurants who serve dishes that you get time and time again. Because you crave them. You're addicted in some way. You gotta have it. You're gonna order it. Again. And again. And again.

                    Haven't had that experience here yet. I do like their pizza dough.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: foodiemahoodie

                      Yes, you have an excellent point. The "crave" factor is the barometer I use to determine a restaurants' overall quality. And there is nothing and M&O that I remember fondly, or will ever want again.

                      1. Funny, but I consider M&O's pizza crusts as good as any around, maybe the best on the Westside. I don't eat in, always take out because I don't care for the seating arrangement either. Maybe it will change with the expansion. I'm not a fan of arugula on pizza, favoring the marguerita, sausage and pepperoni.

                        1. Yea, I agree that unless you're going by yourself to sit at the bar and consume a whole pizza, it is not worth it at all. And there is better pizza to be had, its not great just better than most of whats out there in the immediate vicinity. Everything else about it is overhyped, just like huckleberry. I think it's a badge of honor for some SaMo hipsters to stand in line on the weekends and sit in uncomfortable seating for their food. I'm over that stage of my life, thankfully.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                            I bet if we vote JULY to be BREAD month, someone will say, "Does that include PIZZA?"