Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

Olivia report

brannanjp1 reminded me that I hadn't really provided my usual depth of coverage of Friday evening's grand opening party at Olivia, the new restaurant from the owners of Stella's at the former location of Coyote Loco. I got an invite because David Raimon, of Creative Catering and Gables Inn and Turback's fame, is their catering director, and seity1 and Laura (briefly) joined me there on Friday.

Many of you probably already knew that I really missed Coyote Loco. Steve Worona and I used to eat there regularly, I'd been to office happy hours and going-away parties and birthday parties and lots of other meals there, and despite the occasionally iffy service, I was always happy to go back. The calamari was the best I've ever had, the regular menu was very good and rarely too pricey, and the specials were often fantastic. I almost always had a Loco Gold when I was there; it was their signature margarita, far and away the best margarita I've ever tasted. That's the one thing I've thought of most when lamenting the lack of Coyote Loco over the last year, so I was delighted to see a margarita called "Loco" on Olivia's bar menu. It's clearly a nod to the place's former occupant, and a damn fine margarita. After so long, it's hard to tell whether it's identical, but I think it was excellent.

There were fruit platters and cheese and cracker platters out, and smiling people both outside and inside the front door to welcome us. They had people walking around with trays of hot hors d'oeuvres (actually, tiny samples of many of their dishes) and samples of their drink specialties all evening, and the bar was ready to make any drink you might care to purchase. Denise and I started with a pair of Locos. :-)

The food samples I remember included little spring rolls, chunks of grilled swordfish with lime and cilantro, seared tofu, braised duck, and tender strips of steak. A lot of them were on small cracker-sized slices of focaccia, for ease of serving tiny portions.

Olivia's drink menu includes some very creative stuff; I liked the Nantucket and the Stiletto. Their wine list is extensive, but needs more Finger Lakes wines, and I was pleased that the beer list (a dozen on tap, and another dozen in bottles) includes no crappy beer. (J.P., they have Hoegarden!)

I love the sign out front, especially when it's lit. Both inside and outside have undergone thorough facelifts. There's hardly any blue left, except in the men's room! (The ladies' room is a shocking shade of green. Impossible to miss when Denise opened the door a crack so I could see it.)

The prices are comparable to Willow's; a little higher than Dempsey's because Dempsey's includes everything and Olivia has everything à la carte. It'll be pricey for lunch, but worth splurging occasionally during the day. I sure won't eat there often, but I do plan on paying a visit from time to time. I suspect I'll also pop in for a drink on my way home from work occasionally, since it's so perfectly en route!

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