Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Oleana - a Turkish Delight

In my pre-blog life, Nick and I went to Oleana for dinner once and had one our best meals in Boston.  Since then we have been looking to go back and indulge in Ana Sortun's delicious Mediterranean/Turkish inspired menu with desserts from Maura Kilpatrick.

On a recent Saturday this summer, Nick and I decided it was finally time to head back and made reservations for 9:00pm.  Since these were on the later end of the evening, we decided to make a stop at Lord Hobo for a couple of delicious beers.  At Lord Hobo we actually were able to sit at a table and just enjoy ourselves rather than stand around at the crowded bar.  With their extensive menu of beers, both domestic and imported, there was plenty to choose from.

Shortly before 9:00, we walked into Oleana and grabbed a drink while we waited for our table to clear.  I switched gears from beer to a lovely white Sangria loaded with fruit.  Shortly thereafter, our table in the bar area was ready, and when we sat down we almost immediately placed an order for the Warm Buttered Hummus with Basturma and Tomato.  When you think of hummus, you (or at least I) think of it being cool and from the fridge.  Warm hummus does not sound like it should work, but wow!  Based on this version, I would almost never go back to cool hummus again.  This is a must order.

Warm Buttered Hummus
Breads, Olive Oil and the Hummus
Of course, being somewhat obsessed with haloumi, that was another appetizer we ordered without hesitation.  This Grilled Haloumi is served with peaches and a chard rib salad with sundried olives and sweet pepper broth.  Served in a skillet, the haloumi had a nice grilled outside and lovely texture.  The chard rib salad was interesting since I usually discard the ribs when I cook it at home!  But everything here worked well together, and the flavors of all the ingredients were prominent but complemented each other.

Grilled Haloumi
For main dishes, I got the Trout Spanakopita with cucumber, avocado and salmon roe.  Here, instead of using the more traditional filo dough to surround the spinach mixture, the fish itself actually acts as the outer wrapping.  It is such a surprising plate, but amazingly delicious and well executed.  The trout is flavorful and still stand out with all the other ingredients on the plate.  The little bit of salmon roe is the perfect contrast in texture and a perfect surprise to keep your palette interested.  Trust me, you will not miss the filo dough one bit!

Trout Spanakopita
Nick opted for a compilation of an appetizer and side for an entree.  First to arrive was the Octopus and Olive Shish with a carrot and fennel saganaki, feta and walnuts.  The octopus was cooked perfectly, which doesn't happen often.  This dish was a great medley of delicious flavors.

Sorry for the blurry photo - second Sangria must have kicked in!
Because the Moussaka left such an impression from our original visit to Oleana, Nick knew he would have to get it again, and it did not disappoint!  This combination minced lamb and eggplant pie topped off with whipped fava was amazing.  We had hoped that the moussaka in Greece would have tasted like this, but it was all a distant second.  Maybe we just didn't go to the right places for moussaka, but this version, with the bit of gaminess from the lamb, the heartiness of the eggplant, and lightness of the fava, is pure heaven.

Finally, for dessert, we had to order the Baked Alaska - I had seen too many amazing photos of this dessert to pass it up!  Shockingly, this was my first Baked Alaska experience and it was unbelievable.  This dessert is a tower of coconut ice cream and a passion fruit caramel topped with about 6 inches of toasted meringue.  When it arrives, it's impressive, and we dove right it.  This was truly unreal.

The Baked Alaska
Inside the Baked Alaska
When you return to a place that you remember being so amazing, it sets the bar extra high for the return visit.  Oleana more than fulfilled our high expectations.  If you have not been, I would recommend a trip immediately, and if you have been, I would suggest a return trip soon.

Oleana on Urbanspoon


  1. Oleana - and that baked Alaska - is one of my top experiences in the Boston/Cambridge dining scene too. After reading this, I want to come back asap!

  2. Oleana's baked Alaska!! be still my heart.

  3. I <3 Oleana, and Lord Hobo is one of my favorite spots. This is my kind of night!

  4. I've only been to Oleana once (many years ago), and had a really weird experience. It seemed like an off night. I've been hearing incredible things since, and your food looks amazing, so I think I really need to give it another shot!

  5. I love Oleana. The baked Alaska and their chocolate-hazelnut baklava are two of my most-favorite things. I really need to get back there soon.

  6. Oh how I adore Oleana -- especially the baked Alaska. It's dangerous having it just a block away!

  7. I love Oleana! Hands down my favorite nice restaurant in Boston. I've had some stellar meals there.


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