For our 5th anniversary dinner BIG NIGHT we went to Olio and everything was just right. The Tony Shalhoub-like character ("Primo") can be seen pacing back and forth in his immaculate kitchen domain you can clearly see through the rectangle opening that shows you where all the action happens. He nods at us gracefully but he's got serious thoughts about food going on in his head. The dishes we sampled all had an exquisite attention to the perfection of details in both presentation and flavor.
The decor is a three room mix of wooden, modern and calming with muted green and orange hues throughout. The atmosphere is classy and relaxed. The back bar area is a scene waiting to happen. I can see groups meeting there for fun drinks and serious undisturbed discussion.
Our hostess, waiter and server were all equally accommodating without being the least bit intrusive of their diners' desire for the easily attained intimacy. Each table is a separate little piece of Mediterranean bliss.
We began with a very nice Spanish red by the glass and two antipasti. The Camarones Con Chorizo and the Babaghannouj. The celebration of our marriage was met by a perfect marriage of this take on surf and turf. The chorizo was slightly spicey, very tasty, juicy and crispy simultaneously. The large grilled prawn was a perfect example of how important the process of selection is to the ultimate flavor. This glorious specimen from the sea was slightly grilled but cooked thru to great effect.
The Babaghannouj was lemony, garlicky and tahini-y without taking anything away from the fresh delicious flavor of the eggplant.
Steve, always looking for an angle, opted for the poetry of "Primo's" Risotto del Frutti di Mare except he wasn't about to ask any stupid questions like the patron did in the movie. But in keeping with the spirit of the greatest restaurant movie of all time I had to go with this dish and make the comparison. When it arrived even a Risotto novice could see the artistry at work here and the simmering "Fruit of the Sea" was lovingly displayed on top and throughout, not too busy but enough for a tasty morsel in almost every bite. The Risotto itself was enough of an accomplishment, this chef knows this is more than just rice and seafood it's a marriage of complexity and simplicity and could go up against the very best in the business. A triumph.
Anne had the Miali al Forno, sauteed pork medallions with wine-reduction and mushrooms (shitakes) what a good looking and great combo that was. Tender and delicate and not a bit of leftovers, nouvelle cuisines still lives here. Just enough and not too much, very gourmet. The vegetables were also well chosen. In the end we shared a single espresso and then were off to continue our anniversaire de marriage. We were still very much in love with each other and both now in love with this great restaurant, the fine service they give to every customer and especially the attention to detail in every dish they serve.
Highly recommended for your BIG NIGHT.