Cafe Society

Olivea introduces a new menu -- but keeps the duck meatballs

Just when you think everything that needs to be said has been, something goes and changes. In the case of my review of Olivea, it's the menu. John Broening and his crew made the switch to a fall/winter menu just days after I finished my final review meal in their dining room. And while it is not an earth-shaking change (Olivea is not, for example, suddenly becoming a sushi restaurant or anything), it is significant in a couple of cases.

For starters, there are the starters -- the addition of a country pate with peppered pork tenderloin that I want to try, like, now. There's also a Tuscan soup on the board; a plate of fritto misto with lemon aioli (another reason to return); a new flatbread with bacon, crème fraiche and onions; and a potato torta that needs investigating.

The entrée list has been more altered than turned with the seasons. The lamb gnocchi that I wasn't crazy about? It's been replaced with a mushroom gnocchi. But the duck meatballs have been left (thankfully) alone -- perfection needs no tampering.

And then, right at the bottom of the new board, I noticed something that really caught my attention: "Red wine braised half chicken with mushrooms, green olives and faro." It was the chicken dish I'd had (and not loved) as a Sunday special -- the one I saw as an experiment in need of further tuning up, as a test plate not yet ready for full menu status.

Apparently, Broening felt differently. So I'm going to have to pay another visit to Olivea to check it out.


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Jason Sheehan
Contact: Jason Sheehan