The Uptown 'hood has no shortage of restaurants, but Olivéa, the new food temple from John Broening, Yasmin Lozada-Hisson, Keith Arnold and Stephanie Bonin (the foursome behind Duo), located at 719 East 17th Avenue in the former Aix space, could be just what the neighborhood's been waiting for: an upbeat, vibrant and seriously fun spot to order charcuterie and a lovely bottle of pink wine, namely the Le Preuire de Montezargues Tavel.
I can't think of a better place to spend a Friday evening, which I did just four days after Olivéa's May 4 opening. The small bar, flanked by a walled wine rack, was standing-room only, the dim-lit dining room, all dark woods and minimal splash, a full house. And while it's way too soon to unleash a wave of optimistic judgments, if the effusive comments made by diners on their way out the door are any indication, then I'm not the only one who's smitten.
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Really smitten, especially with Broening's charcuterie. I foraged my way through a generous slab of duck liver mousse with fig compote and pickled onions; jamon serrano with Manchego and membrillo; lamb sausage sided with minted yogurt, slices of smoked duck breast and boudin blanc paired with mustard.
So far, so very good. Already this is a restaurant that's on my list of permanent must-haves in this city.