finally, after 7 years, i found someone willing to go to oleana with me last saturday night. (and it's quite nice, by the way, to find another eater in cambridge. i thought they'd all left for the west coast, but someone new showed up--thx hrt). service, though a distinctly secondary consideration, was competent, brisk, cheerful, and not servile, and the bread on the table was excellent and warm (sweet baguette and another one, za'atar-dusted, olive-oily, focaccia-like)--so oleana was already way ahead of the game. the order:
- goat cheese beignets with beet and orange carpaccio and beet sorbet. freshly fried and deflating gently on the plate. i tried to cut the first one and caused it to collapse completely. the second one expired whole in my mouth. the red beet sorbet was surprisingly good.
- swordfish steak with syrian lentils, fried pita, and tahini. the fish was good, but the lentils were remarkable. there was a slightly musky sweetness (we think it comes from pomegranate molasses) and onions sauteed to the point of liquidity (but not quite).
- lamb steak with fava bean moussaka. the lamb was good and perfectly-cooked, but the moussaka was, again, remarkable. instead of the usual slab cut from a tray, this moussaka was made as a single portion with not much bechamel, then wrapped in a layer of grilled eggplant.
- toffee date pudding, with dates, tangerine sections, orange cardamom ice-cream, and orange peel confit. (there's no way, in my mind, this combination of flavours can go wrong.)