Restaurant Week: A New Craving for ‘Olives’

Would it be immature to say that I was initially against going to Olives, the W hotel’s premiere bar and restaurant, because of the fact that I…well, hate the taste of olives? But I was eager to try something new and their superb choices for appetizers, main entrees, and desserts on their Restaurant Week menu quickly confirmed that it was time for me to face my fear of Olives.

I went with my mom (cue: “AWW!”) to the self-acclaimed “interpretive” Mediterranean hotspot, and I don’t think we could have had a better time. The décor is beautiful, complete with a rod iron, spiral staircase that leads to an exclusive area upstairs.

I'm not sure which was better, the ambiance or the food...

I’m not sure which was better, the ambiance or the food…

Gents, this is the perfect place to awe your lady.  My mom and I remained on the ground level and sat next to the open kitchen—which sounds unappealing, but I loved the fact that I could look over the bar and watch the chefs make each entrée.

Enough about the ambiance, let’s talk about the food. Appetizers came first. I ordered the Watermelon Salad, which tasted as amazing as it looked. The concept of gourmet watermelon—drizzled in feta cheese and topped with pumpkin seed brittle—confused me, but I was excited to try it. And I’m glad I did. I can’t remember the last time I had such fresh fruit but it made sense considering that Olives gets their produce from the neighboring farmer’s market in Union Square.

Olives' Watermelon Salad is definitely one of the top 5 best dishes I've EVER had.

Olives’ Watermelon Salad is definitely one of the top 5 best dishes I’ve EVER had.

Across the table, my mom chose the Roasted Tomato Bisque. Your eyebrows are raised and you’re wondering how my mother could possibly order such a hot dish on a scorching summer day, right? Well, I was surprised too—that is until I had one spoonful and found myself craving more…and more. It was just creamy enough and had great flavor.

We veered off the Restaurant Week Menu and opted for the Spicy Meatballs as an additional appetizer (YES, we were hungry). They were in fact spicy, yet very bearable, adorned with delicious peppers and immersed within a sweet-and-sour type sauce. This dish is offered all year around, so Restaurant Week or not, definitely give them a try if you want to heat things up.

Main entrees were next. For my mother it was the Roasted Red Snapper, and for me it was the Chicken & Gnocchi. I had a bite of her snapper, and again it was the one of the freshest pieces of fish I have ever tasted. It came with a citrusy beurre banc sauce (literally translates from French to “white butter”) and veggie faro, which paired well with the snapper.

When was the last time you had gnocchi outside of a creamy alfredo-y or tomato sauce? I hadn’t even thought about the potato-stuffed shells as anything other than an Italian dish. But Olives was the place that did it, and was successful I think. I was a bit wary about the pulled chicken that was coupled with the gnocchi—or rather, the miniature ‘potato dumplings’— since I’m not the biggest meat-lover. The chicken had a great rosemary flavor and surprisingly went well with the gnocchi. I was very pleased.

Throughout the entire meal, the entrees at Olives convinced me that the chefs had once been on Chopped; you know, that show on Food Network where novice chefs are given three or four ingredients that don’t make up a traditional entrée, but they are expected to whip them together somehow and make a gourmet dish. Who else would ever think to pair watermelon with feta cheese and pumpkin seed brittle? Or gnocchi with pulled chicken? Either way, I’m not complaining.

Olives put a twist on the traditional PB&J and I loved it.

Olives put a twist on the traditional PB&J… and I loved it.

Dessert reaffirmed my comparison.  I chose the PB&J, but we’re not talking store-bought jam and peanut butter between two pieces of dry bread. No, not even close. It was a vanilla bean custard, flan-like dish topped with blueberry jam and topped with crunchy peanut bits. It was great. My mom ordered the white chocolate fudge carrot cake, which she enjoyed as well.

I was so pleased with my trip to Olives that I am itching to go back later this year and try dishes outside of their Restaurant Week menu. If you’re looking for a date option for that special someone with a great ambiance and unique, mouth-watering entrees, then Olives is your place.

Make your reservation here.