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Slightly too drunk to give a fair review of Douglas Rodriguez's new place right now, will fill in more details tomorrow morning:

1. It still smells of fresh paint.

2. Much better than Chicama.

3. Great scallop ceviche.

4. Very good service.

5. Good Mojito.

6. Good Martini-Mojito.

7. Great saffron-citrus margarita.

8. Lovely mixed grill, but they should heat the plate.

9. Very nice foie gras empanadas.

Overall, a great addition to the neighborhood, which has too many steakhouses (a huge chris's ruth is about to open across the avenue) and not enough of anything else.

M
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When you recover, and if you have the time and are comfortable, I'd love to hear more about this. (If you'd hold off on swooning descriptions of the cocktails until mid-Sept, I'd appreciate it. :wink: )

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A sober(er) version:

Ola, Douglas Rodriguez's latest restaurant, opened in the space previously occupied by The Alamo. I have never dined at the alamo and while it seems like the remodelling was done in a haste (hence the fresh paint smell) and on a lower budget than what was available at Patria or Chicama, the results are pleasant. It was reported that the restrooms were, regrettably, not renovated.

The menu bears some structural resemblence to that of Chicama. A short list of small dishes (e.g. foie gras on toast), a list of cocktails (swooningly described below), ceviches and some 'pure protein' entrees on one side and a list of appetizers/tapas, some 'new ideas', a mixed grill offering and side dishes on the other. The wine list offers an extensive list of relatively inexpensive bottles and several beers. One thing that struck me as odd was the indication on some dishes that they are low-carb (or pure protein). I would like to think I've imagined this, but the dessert menu had one dish prepared with Splenda...

We sampled a Cuban Mojito, served with much more than a sprig of mint and probably quite a bit more than a single shot of rum, a Martini-Mojito - much sweeter and with more lime and, quite unnecessarily, a frozen citrus-saffron margarita that had just the right amount of saffron to flavor without overwhelming. I believe all cocktails are priced at or around $9.

Mackerel ceviche with horseradish and scallop ceviche with lime and aji were both very lightly pickled and served in what would pass as a sauce on a flat plate (rather than immersed in liquid). Both dishes were good, although the horseradish sauce had some parts that brought tears to my eyes. Ceviches are priced around $15.

From the tapas, we tried a very nice (although not quite latino) dish of foie gras and fig empanadas and a dish of oysters rodriguez that suffered from typical fried-oyster issues (i.e. the oyster flavor was not pronounced).

Finally, we had a mixed grill plate - lamb chops, short ribs, sweetbreads, kobe skirt steak and a highly spiced sausage. All items were quite good - the sauce/marinade on the skirt steak was somewhat overwhelming but the meat itself was of very high quality. We advised the kitchen that serving this dish on a warm plate would allow diners to enjoy it before it gets cold. We had two (very unnecessary) glasses of some Spanish red with this dish.

She had dessert, but I don't quite recall what it was :blush:

---

Ola

304 E 48th St.

Phone: (212) 759-0590

M
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Slightly too drunk to give a fair review of Douglas Rodriguez's new place right now, will fill in more details tomorrow morning:

1. It still smells of fresh paint.

2. Much better than Chicama.

3. Great scallop ceviche.

4. Very good service.

5. Good Mojito.

6. Good Martini-Mojito.

7. Great saffron-citrus margarita.

8. Lovely mixed grill, but they should heat the plate.

9. Very nice foie gras empanadas.

Overall, a great addition to the neighborhood, which has too many steakhouses (a huge chris's ruth is about to open across the avenue) and not enough of anything else.

I was waiting to make a second trip before writing about it, so we went on our second, past friday - You beat me to it so I'll just compare and contrast to your points.

1. Paint - I agree

2. Better than Chicama - I'd say the same.

3. ceviche ? I had snail with cilantro,tomato avacado - ceviche is my weakness so I tend to have a positive bias :smile:

4. Slow (I never care about it)

5. Good Mojito : First had tad bit more of mint - more ice, more booze :smile: Also tried chacsha and kiwilime a.k.a kiwiriania (sp?) killer drink

6-7: read 5

8. Bite size tapas - Rodriguez's Oysters - similar to Oyster Rockfeller

9. Potato Crab empanadas with cream and caviar - again bite size

A. Crispy Cuban Pork - A nice sized well done pork.

B. Seating on the lower level is a bit tight

C. While it is still new, you'll get to see a lot of eye candy - Ford girls with chaparones (Sp?) I gather there are two big apartment Ford Agency has in that neighborhood - and Ola serves for the weight watchers Inc.

D. Surprised to find the names of every employee and their roles listed in the menu ...

E. Will they dilute the mojitos as time goes by ?????

F. Not inexpensive nor a highway robbery.

Edited by anil (log)

anil

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D. Surprised to find the names of every employee and their roles listed in the menu ...

This was the practice at Chicama as well. William Grimes wrote a condescending "Critic's Notebook" piece about it in 2000.

I had lunch at Ola today and found the food to be substantially the same as the food at Chicama. I enjoyed my meal. I like Douglas Rodriguez's food. I think he's probably a better chef than his current restaurants indicate.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I hear the high protein/low carb items are there because Doug is doing Atkins and figures a healthy percentage of customers are doing the same.

The boss had lunch there yesterday and liked it very much, especially the raw macha clams with a vibrant parsley/cilantro sauce.

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I didn't quite understand that dish. Am I correct that macha clams are synonymous with razor clams? If so, I'm confused because the macha clams that were served at Ola did not seem like what I know as razor clams. They were regular-clam shaped and quite chewy. I didn't like the one I had very much. I spoke to DR for a couple of minutes but got sidetracked on various other topics so I didn't have a chance to ask about this.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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D. Surprised to find the names of every employee and their roles listed in the menu ...

This was the practice at Chicama as well. William Grimes wrote a condescending "Critic's Notebook" piece about it in 2000.

I had lunch at Ola today and found the food to be substantially the same as the food at Chicama. I enjoyed my meal. I like Douglas Rodriguez's food. I think he's probably a better chef than his current restaurants indicate.

Come to think of it - I forgot about the same in Chicama - Thanks for pointing out.

My best experience in Chicama; which I could not repeat at Ola was four of us ordering four different ceviche and getting a taste of each.

anil

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I hear the high protein/low carb items are there because Doug is doing Atkins and figures a healthy percentage of customers are doing the same. 

You think so ? I thought he wanted to attract the Ford girls as regulars :smile:

anil

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E. Will they dilute the mojitos as time goes by ?????

I doubt it.

I used to work @ Chicama before I moved from NYC and I'm happy to say the drinks were always slammin!

My fave was the 'ChicamKazee'.

I have a feeling I'm going to love the 'KIWIprihina'!

2317/5000

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  • 4 weeks later...

New York magazine let my man Platt loose on Latin food again. You may recall, this is the guy who taught us that comidas criollas meant "homestyle" cooking. This time, he has an innovative take on chicharrones de pollo:

"the classic Dominican dish chicharrón de pollo (pulled chicken legs spiced with cumin, among other items, and splashed with lemon aïoli)"

Well, he says it the chef's version. Actually, the restaurant sounds worth checking out:

the review

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a creative new dish called tuna a la plancha. The tuna in question is a brick of sushi-grade bluefin toro, seared on one side only. The unseared side is rolled in olive oil and smoked paprika, so that when you bite into it, there’s a kind of symphonic textural progression from hot cooked to rare to cool, smoky sweet.

This sounds quite appealing.

I'm not sure about some of the sauces though. The huacatay with grilled lamb chops and shredded shank sounds okay but the "faintly creamy" part gives me pause.

Some intrepid person will have to get their boots on the ground here.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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After two more dinners, I stick to my opinion that Ola is, for the most part, significantly superior to Chicama. Of the appetizers, I would focus on the ceviches, the meat balls and the empanadas. If specials are available, they are also worth trying (such as grilled squid with a croquette of squid ink rice in aji amarillo sauce). Of the meat entrees, the mixed grill, the lamb dish and the tenderloin were all good. Crispy pork would probably be way too fatty for most people.

Interestingly, cocktails have been taken off the dinner menu (not selling enough wine?), as has the crew and cast credits.

M
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  • 2 weeks later...

went recently and liked it. instead of the bread basket, we were presented with a plate of black and green olives marinated with garlic in olive oil. from the ceviche menu, we chose the rainbow ceviche (salmon, mackerel and scallops); from the tapas menu: oysters rodriguez, squid stuffed with braised short ribs, fried octopus, and a special composed of three different arepas (short ribs, chicken, and hudson valley foie gras). good mojitos and caipirinhas. a nice oloroso sherry. for dessert: cafe tres leches, which was quite delicious. in short, i thought it compared favorably to chicama, 'cept there's no "mango foam"at ola.... :rolleyes:

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After two more dinners, I stick to my opinion that Ola is, for the most part, significantly superior to Chicama. ...

I still vote that mojito are better at Chicama :smile: and the crowd at the bar is more level-headed :smile:

anil

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