>> Sunday, August 8, 2010
On our last day in New York, we decided it would be nice to slow things down and try to get more of a local feel of the city so off to the Union Square Greenmarket we went. As suggested by David Lebovitz, the Greenmarket is a fresh food market brought together by local farmers. Everything looked amazing and of course looking at food always makes me hungry. Since we were unfamiliar with the city it was a little difficult finding a place to eat because we’d always be walking in the opposite direction of where good food was located. Luckily for us just a couple blocks away from the market, we just happened to run straight in to Todd English’s Olives restaurant.
Atmosphere: A warm modern setting with beautiful greenery and floral accents, which really livens up the dining area.
Price Range: Mid $20s-$30s
Food and Wine: Immediately after settling in to our table our server greeted us with the great news that Olives was still serving specialty set menus similar to what they had during the NY restaurant week. We had a choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert, how could we resist? Both my dining companion and I decided to go with the set menus and pick different items so we could try as many dishes as possible, which was a brilliant idea, being the foodie that I am I’m not going to complain about trying numerous different flavors and dishes. Since that decision didn’t take long we started digging in to our lovely bread basket to find roasted onions on our focaccia, what a treat along with dual olive tapenades, which sure was fitting.
Our starters were a Green Tomato Gazpacho topped with a spicy green bean vinaigrette, which I didn’t really find spicy but well flavoured, and the Strawberry Salad served with corn bread and arugula parmesan with ice wine vinegar. The corn bread had a nice crisp exterior and gave the salad some nice texture. My entrée was the Grilled Skirt Steak with creamy corn, basil pesto and polenta fries, even though I rarely eat steak cooked beyond rare, this steak was still moist and very well flavored. She got the Butter Roasted Merluzza which is a nice white fish served with chorizo fried rice and a sweet carrot puree, the rice was nice and crunchy which the puree gave the fish an added sweetness.
After our mains we could barely wait for dessert and it was definitely the highlight of my day. The Wild Maine Blueberry Panna Cotta was amazing, not overly sweet by itself and if you wanted to add more layers of flavor and texture there was always the cornbread and kix on the side. The bittersweet Chocolate Panna Cotta had an amazing mouth feel with the shaved brownie bits mixed with white chocolate fudge and a wonderful cherry ice to top it all off. My friend said it reminded her of the good ol days of eating a cherry lollipop.
My Picks: Both Panna Cotta Desserts
Overall: It truly was our luck running in to Olives at Union Square, not only did the setting help cool us down after a hot afternoon wondering the city but the food truly did warm our stomachs and prepared us for another long journey on the streets of NY.
Olives New York
The W Hotel (Union Square)
201 Park Ave. South
New York, NY 10003