Saturday, May 29, 2010
Oleana (Cambridge, MA)
If you lurk on message boards you may have heard of Oleana. A Middle Eastern restaurant in Cambridge, MA. Reservations are pretty much required to sit inside but the patio is first come first served. Not being able to get a reservation because I hesitated in making plans due to some indecision issues, I thought it best that we get to the restaurant early. It opens at 5:30 and we arrived around 5:10. We were able to get one of the first few tables on the patio. It isn't very big and there was a pretty good line out front by the time the restaurant opened.
J and I wanted to have room for dessert (even though we really don't have much of a sweet tooth) because the reputation of the pastry chef was excellent. We decided to have a few small plates and split and entree. As usual I don't have pictures of everything. I don't like to disturb and be obnoxious during dinner.
We began with Warm Buttered Hummus with Basturma & Tomato and Whipped Feta with Sweet & Hot Peppers. The hummus was topped with butter then wrapped in the beef and topped with fresh tomato puree. It was good but the whipped feta with peppers was even better. Each table receives a bucket of breads and pitas at the beginning of the meal as well.
Our next small plates were the Sultan’s Delight: Tamarind Glazed Beef & Smokey Eggplant Purée with Pinenuts and the Spinach Falafel with Tahini, Yogurt, Beets & Cress. The beef was delicious. Tender and sweet, moist and succulent. The eggplant was ok but not my favorite. The falafel was the best I've ever had and J thought it was fantastic as well. The tahini was very tasty but the beets and cress (which seemed more like arugula to me) weren't what J was hoping for. I welcomed them as unique additions. I did manage to get some pictures after we'd eaten a bit of them so they probably aren't as beautiful as they were. They were quite gorgeous when they came out. There was a large basil leaf on top of the beef. For our entree we split Lamb with Turkish Spices, Pide & Everything Green with Garlic & Yogurt. The "everything green" seemed to be some deliciously sauteed broccoli rabe. The lamb was a ground lamb kebab (kefta style). Way more moist than what we usually eat at our favorite Lebanese restaurant.
We each opted to get a different dessert J had a special of chocolate baklava. I didn't really like the bitterness of the chocolate nib sauce. My dessert was to DIE for though. One of the best desserts I've ever eaten: Salted Butter Ice Cream & Petite Caramel Soufflé with Pineapple & Cashew Crisp. I'm not sure what was better the ice cream or the souffle. It was best when each bite contained a little of each of the dessert. We had beautiful weather for sitting on the patio and I would go back if I had a chance.