Olive and June
Driving up to this quaint little place feels more like stopping by a friend’s than arriving to a culinary destination. High walls surround the patio area, which are dominated by a huge, beautiful, shade-casting tree. Upon stepping in, I felt like I had been transported to “the old country”.
The multi-story patio, the casual feel and the smiling faces, coupled with the converted home reminded me of many restaurants I’ve visited in Europe; this restaurant is built into its surroundings, instead of the other way around.
At Olive and June, we were greeted by the hostess and the general manager and taken inside to our table. Low ceilings with an open area create a dining room that is cozy, but if you’re one who isn’t interested in what the table next to you is discussing, it can be a bit distracting.
I loved the clean, open, and modern look and feel of the place. The booth where we were seated was abundant and comfortable. I took a few minutes to walk through the rest of the place, and other than the addition of a bar area, the second floor had a similar look and feel.
Now many friends have recommended this place, and upon finding out we were invited to dine here as guests, proclaimed we were in for a treat. I was excited to get to what I always consider the most important part of the meal, the part where you eat.
I always like to order something that looks good to me, something I know is popular, and then take a recommendation from the waiter. We ordered three different starters to cover our bases. Each one was splendid in its own way.
We had been told we had better try the meatballs here so we chose that as part of our first course. Meatballs, in my opinion, are a very easy go-to menu item ― a little beef, a little pork, and a decent red sauce. On the other hand, with it being a common home run dish it’s also fairly difficult to be surprised or wowed by them. Olive and June accomplished both.
The contrast of spice, savory, and the sweetness from figs (yes figs) put my wife and me in the awkward position of quickly eating our fair portion of two meatballs each, so we could nonchalantly claim a third and final meatball. We both knew this was the beginning of a special dining experience.
Next, we tried a prosciutto dish that contained peaches, cucumber, pickled chili, and basil in an olive oil that was nothing short of divine. The sweet, salty, and spiced crunch of this dish was delicious. Our third and final dish in the course was a very rich and densely flavored polenta dish with a fresh poached egg and foraged mushrooms.
This dish reminded my wife of a childhood favorite dish from Romania and I can only say that the earthiness and umami rich tones are worth the fact you’re likely to fill up on it before you ever get to your main course.
Yes, my friends, this meal was this memorable already and we had only just begun. For my main course, I ordered at Texas New York Strip with a panzanella salad and tomato vinaigrette. The steak was cooked and seasoned well and the portion was generous, so much so I took the majority of it home for later.
My wife chose a pasta dish with a red sauce. All pasta is made in-house and you can always tell when it is. The freshness of the pasta and the balanced taste of the sauce were well received by my wife. Our third dish was a risotto with salami, green beans, marscapone, white wine, and oregano. OH MY WORD, this dish was phenomenal.
I have had risotto quite a few times, but the layers of flavors for this particular one had my head swimming, I will be going back to this place, if for no other reason to experience this again. Unfortunately, the menu changes weekly which likely means this was a once in a lifetime dish for me. That being said, it’s easy to understand why they change the menu. I’m confident every experience here, while consistent in quality and delivery, is unique from any other.
Lastly, dessert. Now to be honest I shouldn’t have. But to be even more honest ― how could I resist? My wife ordered a panna cotta and I ordered the chocolate roulade. Though perhaps these desserts weren’t as fresh as they could be, we finished them both, and even fork fought for the last bite of the chocolate dish.
Olive and June also has a beautiful patio; so, if the inside is too noisy, head outside. Don’t be afraid to try a dish slightly out of your comfort zone, as you are highly likely to experience something great. My friends were right, I did thoroughly enjoy it, and I genuinely believe you will too.
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