Tag Archives: Italian
I love Italian food, but I feel like, in the U.S., it’s often dumbed down to gummy pastas tossed with red sauce and smothered in gooey cheese. Olive & June has pasta, sauces that are red, and lots of cheese – but in dishes that are cool, creative, and adventurous.
The setting is gorgeous, built around a huge old oak tree in the space formerly housing El Arbol. The interior is bright and modern, with sleek white banquettes, a huge patio on the second floor, and an open kitchen on the ground floor:
Our wonderful server explained that the menu offers piccoli piatti (little bites, appetizers to your appetizers, she said) and contorni (sides) as well as the more familiar antipasti, entree, and soup/salad sections. She was very helpful in steering us to vegetarian options.
Which are plentiful except in the entree section. Eating bits of different things suits my ADD personality, but vegetarians who want just one dish will have to go with the pasta.
First though, they can have, as we did, crostini with lima beans and mint, involtini (zucchini roulade with breadcrumbs), and testaroli (little crepes) with basil pesto. You can get veggie protein with the farm egg on polenta or with the bean-topped crostini.
Little touches, like the mint with the crostini and the fresh tomatoes in the involtini, really stood out.
While we were waiting for our main course, we had a bit of Olive & June’s bread — with light, fluffy, delicious homemade ricotta in place of butter.
For our main course, we had butternut squash mezzalune and cauliflower/mascarpone ravioli and , as well as the kale contorni.
Golden raisins in the mezzalune brought out the sweetness of the butternut squash. The ravioli were terrific — light, with cauliflower florets, greens, and orange/grapefruit segments adding depth of flavor to the cheese-filled pasta.
In addition to wine, Olive & June has Italian liquers. My friend had a grappa. Next time, we will try something more unusual.
And there will be a next time, I hope, maybe out on that patio. I still haven’t had the burrata, marinated beets, grilled pumpkin, risotto…this is awesome Italian food.
I don’t get excited about pasta as a vegetarian entree option. Unless it’s homemade pasta with sharp cheese and crunchy corn. It’s carby comfort food. The salad was delicious too, full of local greens. Il Posto didn’t have any vegetarian protein when I visited, but it might on a day when local beans are in season. Low-key, neighborhood bistro ambiance + seriously good Italian food + nice wine list, with decent options by the glass.