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Page history last edited by Mark P 15 years, 4 months ago

Oola Review


Oola served us quite good contemporary food, including some terrific appetizers, in a very hip setting.


Our meal started off with a quite good mostly traditional style Caesar salad (i.e., made entirely of romaine hearts but not eaten with one's hands) that had some terrific croutons. They had just the right amount of crunch before they crumbled, a hard feature to find.


Scallops wrapped in a thin sheet of potato arrived next, and these were very good. The scallops tasted seared and the potato veneer was so thin its contribution was subtle but appreciated. The plate arrived with sun dried tomatoes, which did go, and a cold bed of asparagus with no texture and no flavor and obviously did not.


Although the scallops would be hard to top, our plate of baby back ribs did so and won the best dish of the meal award. The meat came easily off these toothsome ribs and the barbecue sauce, sweet but not too sweet (the menu says cilantro, ginger, and soy), brought it all together. The red cabbage coleslaw was good as well. Supposedly the secret to the ribs is that they are deep fried.


Meanwhile, our sea bass, heavily crusted with something mushroomy, most attendees didn't like. Sea bass is a delicate fish and the coating dominated its flavor. I don't think the fact that it was served on a cold bed of soggy bread chunky (think croutons or the kind of bread in bread pudding) helped endeared it to anyone either.


We also got a hamburger which was good but cooled off fast (that's the trouble with sharing -- it takes a while to get to some dishes) so many of us rated it by imagining what it was like warm.


Our last entree was lamb daube: lamb and vegetables like carrots and turnips served stewing in a lot of sauce. The lamb, easily split with a fork, was definitely good when soaked in the juice; when sharing some people got the lamb without the juice and initially had worse opinions of the dish. The carrots and turnips got a mixed reaction.


We also got a side of fried with parmesan and truffle oil. Most of us couldn't taste the truffle oil, though it was extremely obvious to one participant. The fries, with parmesan or without (as served with the hamburger), were solid: one person proclaimed "I'm into the fries" even after they were cold.


As for dessert, we tried the flourless chocolate and raspberry cake. (We have to order flourless chocolate cakes if they're on the menu.) The cake was pure very dark chocolate with a raspberry syrup decoration. It was the average good-but-not-amazing cake and came with a flaky thin flaky thing that reminded us of a sugar cone.


We also tried the cheese plate (in honor of a former member perhaps?). Its most remarkable feature was the pairings. The drunken goat cheese was well paired with walnuts and grapes. The roquefort went excellently eaten in the same bite as its accompanying pear chunks. But the fried camembert, served with pistachios, onion jam, and honey, we didn't like at all. The cheese had "no flavor" as one said; another called it "fried brie." (I guess one could say this too was appropriately paired since onions and honey have a strong flavor and so covered for the lack of taste of the cheese.)


As for drinks, I had a very good watermelon cosmo. Slightly pulpy, it balanced the fruit and alcohol well and even at $8 I'd definitely order it again. Others had glass of kiante classic (sp?) that was average. I'm told it had a strong taste of tannins at the end. A roseblum (sp?) zinfandel was a bit sour and just okay. The drinks we had later with dessert were definitely solid: latte, coffee, and a proper jasmine tea served in a special teapot with much real jasmine floating in a special separated subsection.


Service was pretty good. Although there was one bump -it took us a while to manage to order dessert-, there were unexpected bonuses such as the provided wet napkins to help clean hands after the main course. Incidentally, one person remarked the moisture was on the outside, as if they'd been left in the rain.


The decor screamed hipness. The wait staff, some with spiked hair or single ear rings, contributed to the image. The restaurant, narrow, small, high-ceilinged and with an attractive bar running nearly its length, had style as well, playing club music that felt like it belonged in the fifth element. Even the bathroom played such music. I've read that this is a place with other cooks go at the end of their shift; given that Oola was more crowded when we left at 10:40pm than when we arrived at 8:00pm, I can believe it.


Total was $42/person including tax and tip but not including drinks.


Original Announcement


This Wednesday at 8:00pm let's try Oola, an "American bistro specializing in 'San Francisco' cuisine," located in SOMA. With a web site


that displays quotes like

"Great food is like great sex. The more you have, the more you want." -Gael Greene

how can one go wrong?


As always, please tell me if you are coming.


Comments from Other Attendees


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