After visiting Sarma and loving everything about the place, I knew I needed to try Ana Sortun’s other restaurant, Oleana in Cambridge. So my coworkers (and now new dining partners in crime) Brad and Amanda and I made a reservation and decided to check the place out.
When we arrived, the hostess asked if we wanted to sit outside. Since it was so beautiful out, we didn’t hesitate in saying yes. The patio area was the perfect choice, and included a fountain, lush greenery, and even a small garden area where we were serenaded by two musicians.
Oleana features Eastern Mediterranean flavors, focusing mostly on Turkish influences. The menu includes a large small plates section, called meze, along with a few main dishes. We decided to get a bunch of small plates so we could try a little of everything. We were first brought a variety of breads in this adorable little soft basket tied up with a fun purple tassel. One of the breads was sprinkled with pistachios, and the other with sesame seeds. Both were spectacular.
Then on to our meze choices: We decided on the warm buttered hummus with basturma and tomato; spinach falafel with tahini and beet yogurt; spicy fideos, chick peas, swiss chard, and orange aioli; Vermont quail kebobs with baharat spice, barberries, and pistachio; a lamb and grape leaf tart with cumin, orange, orzo, and spicy feta; and one of the specials made with burrata, roasted tomato, and toasted almonds. Everything was incredibly tasty, but my personal favorites were the lamb and grape leaf tart and quail kebobs. The tart incorporated a lot more lamb than I thought it would, and it had this really homey and rich taste I wasn’t expecting. The quail kebobs were so flavorful. I’m not really sure what baharat spice is, but I want to put it on everything I make now.
And what’s a good meal without dessert? Brad told us that everyone raves about their Baked Alaska, which is made with coconut ice cream and passion fruit caramel. So we obviously had to try that. And we also decided on the Turkish-style profiteroles with brown butter crème, sesame caramel, cashew, and halva. After we devoured both desserts, I came to one conclusion: There is nothing wrong with coming to Oleana and only getting dessert. They were beyond delicious. The Baked Alaska lived up to all of the hype. I don’t know how they got the meringue to stay so light and fluffy and still keep the coconut ice cream the perfect consistency inside, but they did. And they did it very well. As for the profiteroles, I normally think of large puffs of pastry, but their version was small bite-sized clouds of heaven. And the sesame caramel cashews? Well let’s just say, if I found the large stash of nuts in the kitchen, I would probably steal them, spend the rest of the evening inhaling them, and not even feel bad about it.
After being blown away with my meal at Sarma, I didn’t think I would be as impressed Oleana. However, Ana Sortun didn’t let me down. Guess I’ll have to head back–especially since there are about 15 more things on the meze section of the menu I still need to try.