Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

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Dinner at Olivia

seity1 and brannanjp1 and I had a proper dinner tonight at Olivia. Done right, it's definitely quite expensive, but I think we all left well-fed, and having had enough beer. Ithaca Flower Power is one of their seasonal taps right now! Good choice! (It's the exceptional local IPA.) Not uncharacteristically, JP had Hoegaarden and Denise had Guinness.

It was a good evening for sitting out on the deck, and, thanks to the steadily decreasing length of the day as the solstice recedes into the past, the sun wasn't in my eyes for too long before it was hidden by the building.

The nachos, fresh tortillas topped with white bean puree, goat cheese, and chunks of lamb, were remarkable. The warmed brie, served with little toast rounds and skewers of roasted grapes, was good, but that's not hard with brie!

JP continued with an O Burger, minus the gorgonzola cheese and tomato, and Denise and I shared the sliced sirloin with ginger peach jus (served with pickled raw carrot shavings) and the fettucini with ginger duck, roasted red peppers, and cilantro pesto. All were excellent, though all could have come out of the kitchen a mite hotter. That kind of coordination is probably the sort of thing that improves as the restaurant matures. It was, after all, their first night in business!

Sarah, our waitress, taunted us with a dessert menu listing several things they can't actually serve us yet, and then asked if we'd enjoy complimentary chocolate dumplings. Why, yes! We would! Those delectable morsels, which both Denise and I fondly remembered from Friday night, nicely made up for our inability to order or pay for a dessert of our choosing. (OK, so "fondly" is an inadequate word. These are crispy fried dumplings containing fine chocolate and chambord, drizzled with raspberry syrup. They're really good.)

Will I return? Certainly. But without trying to be too thorough, we spent a lot of money, so it'll be best for a quick happy hour appetizer and drink, or special occasions. I'll also want to check out their Sunday "customer appreciation" prix fixe deal, a three-course meal for $18.

I spotted John Alexander, former owner of Coyote Loco, wandering around while we were dining, and I went over to say hi to him and his wife as we were leaving. I'll have to ask him later how he happened to be dining with Chris and Dan, two folks on about the opposite of Ithaca's spectrum! I should have an opportunity, since I told John there's something I need to talk to him about (some of you know what it is) and wondered when I could call. I'll be chatting with him later this week. Also amusing... he, too, likes the Loco on the bar menu. :-)

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