James Beard winner Ana Sortun's Oleana has been open near Central Square since 2001 with rave reviews by all that have been. Focusing on "Arabic influenced foods of the Mediterranean with a strong lean towards Turkish", this was right up T's alley, and right up mine by being a prime example of farm-to-table with most of their produce coming right from Sortun's husband's farm in Sudbury, Siena Farms.
In we headed, up the ramp (looking like a ghost), to the dimly-lit restaurant with winding turns and many smaller rooms spread about.
We sat & enjoyed a chilly glass of wine while
admiring the table and deciding on our meals.
We decided to split three meze courses and have an entree each. The first 6 meze course on the menu are more of spreads and small snacks, while the rest range from a shared app to a full app. We started with the spicy fideos & chicken peas with green chard and orange aioli.
I love spice, so I was excited, but sadly it wasn't spicy at all, and I also didn't taste any orange in the smear of aioli, but I did enjoy the dish as it was light and a good start.
Next we had the spinach falafel with tahini, yogurt, beets & crinkled cress.
This meze course was both T and my favorite dish of the whole night. Light, fluffy, and not even a bit dry, the spinach falafel was delicious, and especially perfect paired with the beets and the pickles on the side.
Our final meze course was the one I was most excited for. As you may know I love octopus, and feel a need to order it everywhere it is offered to get my fill. This dish seemed so perfect for me, grilled octopus carpaccio with spring pea, pepper & a spicy olive salad.
It was fine. That's it, just fine. I knew I had high hopes, but I was so disappointed. The octopus was not carpaccio, rather they were large chunks. The spring peas were delicious, but the "spicy olive salad" was not even close to a hint of spicy. There was a nicely crisped toast-like cracker under the components, which was a great touch, but the rest of the dish was just fine.
For my entree I went with the flattened lemon chicken with za'atar & a Turkish cheese pancake, one of their most famous dishes.
Oh, you can't see this picture? Me neither, because I couldn't see my food at this point. Right before our entrees the lights went low low low and we had to squint to see our food. Nevertheless, I could feel I was eating on a sort of platter, which made me feel like I was at Medieval Times or in Game of Thrones, which was exciting. The chicken was delicious, and well-prepared. Not overly lemony, a large portion, and a nice combination with the pancake, my only complaint was the fact that the cheese pancake was almost too cheesy, as I felt the cheese of choice overpowered the delicate lemony chicken flavor.
T on the other hand went with the tamarack tunis lamb with Turkish spices, pita & everything green with garlic & yogurt.
He was in love. The dish was like a deconstructed gyro, with perfectly balanced & prepared components. The lamb was ground and made into a sausage before being grilled, which made it quite moist and "uh-mazing" (in the words of T).
For dessert we opted to split the chocolate hazelnut nightingale's nest with chocolate truffle & a fig leaf ice cream.
Perfectly portioned for our needs, the salt of the hazelnuts played well with the nest and truffle, and was overall a great dessert.
After a quick tea from their expensive coffee and tea menu, we headed out, but not before checking out the neat little bathrooms. With mirrored tiles mixed in with regular tiles, it's a nice surprise!