Saturday, February 21, 2009
The vibe at Olea is a little different for dinner than it is for brunch. Whereas during the day it feels kind of like a quirky cafe, at night everything seems much warmer and more alive.
Neither of us were in the mood for a ton of food, but we did split an appetizer, the Calabrian Bomba pita dip. It's a chunky, spicy red dip made with tomatoes, red peppers, eggplant, capers, garlic, chives and olive oil. It was so good that we were halfway through before I remembered to even take a picture.
For my entree I had the paella special, which was good but not great. I'm hardly a connoisseur of paella (though I do enjoy it), but this seemed a little too thick and sticky for my tastes. It was very hearty, but not as subtle as I would have liked. There were a few mussels and clams and more than a few whole baby octopus, so there was no skimping on the seafood, which was great. I'd recommend it, but I wouldn't expect anything spectacular.
My date ordered the Orecchiette, which is served with white beans, Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, parmigiano reggiano, and pine nuts. Simple, if not particularly adventurous, to be sure. It was good, although if it had been my order I would have wanted them to cut back a smidge on the white beans. That's nitpicking, though - it's a good dish.
Olea's one of the neighborhood's great little restaurants, and is always in the mix when I'm deciding where to go eat. It had been quite a while since I'd been there for dinner, and I don't plan on waiting so long to go back again.