Saturday, March 28, 2009

'Chef's Table' at Olives

On Friday night Mr. Charlestown Culinary and I decided to join the tail end of Boston Restaurant Week and ended up at Olives in Charlestown, sans reservation. When we showed up, the restaurant was fully booked. Although after a little back and forth whispering, we decided to stay – we figured we could always elbow for a meal at the bar or have a drink and go someplace else for dinner. We were not expecting that the hostess would come over to us shortly to offer us the two best seats in the house – the 'Chef’s Table' .

At Olives, the 'Chef’s Table' is two seats at a counter that directly look into the kitchen. On the backside of the pasta station, these seats gave us a birds-eye view of Bobby making order after order of Sweet Pea Angnolotti, the new girl making countless orders of Seared Scallops (with Chef Joe Brenner very close by her side), and the rest of the action on the line.

After conversing with the line on their favorites, Mr. Charlestown Culinary started with the Beef Carpaccio (pictured below), which was served over a gorgonzola potato cake and mixed greens, topped with scallion aioli, balsamic drizzle, onions and shaved Parmesan cheese. My choice of the Sweet Pea Angnolotti was driven by being able to watch Bobby make my dish directly in front of me. For this dish, he cooked the stuffed fresh pasta in a butter broth, plated it on a Fontina cheese fondue, topped it with sauteed fava beans, peas and asparagus, then finished the dish with greens dressed in olive oil.
For our entrees, Mr. Charlestown Culinary chose the Wood Grilled Bass. The fish was served on horseradish whipped potatoes and finished with bacon, fennel, green beans and a lobster salad. From recommendation of the kitchen, I had the Seared Sea Scallops (pictured below), which were served with a spinach pesto cous cous, bacon, tomato-based sofrito and smoked paprika.
While we ate, Chef Brenner came over periodically to talk about everything from spring onions (‘Spring means no more turnips and carrots!’) to NCAA picks (sorry Chef about Gonzaga…) to Gordon Ramsay's show Hells Kitchen (completely staged) to Todd English’s visit to the Charlestown location (always visits the kitchen first) to the ribs on my blog (better than Red Bones). Mr. Charlestown Culinary and I couldn’t get enough. When our dessert was delivered (a flourless chocolate cake served with mango and sour cherry sauces), we were both slightly disappointed that our meal was coming to an end. Fortunately though, our server and the kitchen encouraged us to stay, which we did until the kitchen closed.

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