The Olive is the latest effort by restauranteur Greg Morris, operators of the well-received Oaks Gourmet as well as the effortlessly popular Oakfire Pizzerias. The restaurant, open since early June, located at Grafton, is offering traditional Italian fare, with a Cal twist, to replace the trenzoid steaky fare previously dished out by the “other” outlet of BOA. Instead, diners can now “eat in the chill balance of bamboo, marble, glass, and leather—an orchestra of rock star eats and throngs of chic.”
Various salumi & formaggi ($18). Subtract the crusty fennel salted flatbread and this would be one heck of a salumi plate down to the fig jam and spiced nuts. If it’s good enough for Lisa Cohen, it’s probably god enough for the rest of us. The staff is more than happy to denote the variety of all cheese and meats served.
Roasted beet & burrata salad. $15
It’s seemingly difficult to discombobulate a roasted beet & burrata salad, but often the burrata is manipulated and overdressed. Here, gold and red beets were both roasted til tendered and plated to only hug, but not molest, the burrata, an ingredient , regardless of intended cuisine. Sprinkled pistachios gave a great counter crunch to the milky burrata, and the sherry reduction gave the cheese depth.
Pancetta wrapped prawns.
Some restaurants get overzealous with their prawn descriptions. The Olive clearly forgot an adjective in front of theirs. While these prawns may not have been giants, they were definitely healthy. The judiciously applied pancetta wasn’t overwhelmingly salty, and served to merely add a trendy swiney flavor. Unfortunately, the prawn itself was a bit overcooked, and the polenta tad under seasoned.
Chocolate torte, panna cotta & blueberry bread pudding.
These were served all on the same plate. Service staff didn’t advise whether or not this presentation was the norm, but it worked. Start with the panna cotta, ramp up to the powerfully sweet torte, finish off by letting the blueberry bread pudding (texture close to a muffin) soak up the chocolaty exuberance.
Here at The Olive, the appetizers seemed to be the strong suit, with the popular lobster mac faltering that particular evening. This slant towards small(er) plates will probably suit the WeHo crowd just fine. If there can be a WeHo “neighborhood” spot on the screaming section of Sunset swatched in wall ads, The Olive will be it. On weekdays, the public (read: reasonably priced) parking structure is literally right across the street, and there is an excellent happy hour to liven up the sidewalk seating from 5pm to 7pm. On weekends, brunch is available at the hotel restaurant, and the choice seats would be on the patio overlooking the pool & the hill.
The Olive Kitchen & Bar
8462 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
T: (323) 650-1250
NB: gratis dinner, thanks to PMG for hosting. At this dinner, I realized Elina S. is the only person who can drop F-bombs with such grace and aplomb.
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