Breads and Olive Oil
Beet Hummus, Sunflower Seeds, Urfa, Pea Greens
Moussaka—Tahini, Fava Beans, Lamb and Fried Peas
Vermont Quail Kebob, Baharat Spice, Barberries, Jasmine Rice and Pistachio
Turkish-Style Profiteroles—Brown Butter Crème, Sesame Caramel, Cashew, Halva
Orange Blossom Baba – Poached Strawberries, Mint-Pea Ice Cream, Pistachio
Whether as a result of the Mediterranean tapas, a peaceful garden patio or the significant talents of Chef Ana Sortun, Oleana has been thrilling Boston diners ever since opening its doors in 2001, the subsequent opening of Sarma doing little to diminish the buzz around what is still one of the most coveted reservations in town.
Multiply awarded for everything from service to food to setting, bold flavors invigorating local ingredients to put a unique spin on traditional Mezze and dishes predominantly from Greece, walk-ins are generally reasonable for the bar or small front dining area assuming early arrival and with greetings from a hostess just past 6:30pm a small two-top was suggested, the wood benches oddly similar to those at Bondir while sliding pads hung from the wall to offer some back support.
No doubt a diverse set of offerings, the best way to dine obviously sharing with a sizable group, it warrants mention that even solos are well suited to enjoy Chef Sortun’s creations and after listening to the rundown of daily specials a dialogue with the waiter showed him to be a wealth of knowledge on several plates’ composition, the eventual trio of three savories satiating but still leaving room for two desserts.
Expediting from a small kitchen, wait-times for food after ordering stretching up to forty minutes, a quick perusal of the dining area speaks to diversity of age, race and gender, the bag of two Breads and good Olive Oil sorely tempting and soon finding itself put to good use with a bowl of intensely pink Hummus served without Pita, but instead as a smoothly textured salad tied together by Urfa, Greens and Seeds.
More leftward skewed in price-to-portion ratio than Sarma, the $13 “Kebobs” featuring a mere mouthful of Quail atop a soft Rice Cake teaming with spices under a crunchy Pistachio crust, better value was found in the scalding hot Moussaka still sizzling in the vessel which it was made in, the lamb thankfully allowed to show off its natural flavor despite the flavors of Sesame, Citrus and Fava Beans without the more commonly seen melted Cheese.
Passing on the signature Baked Alaska on account of Passion Fruit, instead opting for another famous dessert in the Turkish-Style Profiteroles plus a seasonal syrup-soaked Cake, the rumors of Pastry Chef Maura Kilpatrick’s skills proved quite accurate as relates to both preparations, the former punching up the texture of Cream filled Donuts by way of crushed Candy and Cashews in a slick of Caramel while the latter offered a soft sponge saturated in sweetness with Strawberries, crumbled Pistachios and refreshing “Mint-Pea” Ice Cream.