Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Dinner at Oola

I met Harriet last night after work for dinner at Oola.

Although Oola has been open since 2004, this was my first visit here. It is a bit off the beaten path, in San Francisco on Folsom Street, between Fourth and Fifth. But, just as diners know about Lulu down the block, Oola is a popular place, both for casual dining and for cocktails at the bar. Now that I know about Oola, I will keep it in mind for a place to eat when at the Moscone Center for meeting (just a block away) and will recommend it to people staying at the Intercontinental (also a block away).

My reason for choosing to dine on a Monday night was that the menu on Oola's web site mentions a Monday special of Lobster Pot Pie. Since I love lobster, I was disappointed to learn, once there, that the menu that is on the web site is out of date. Mondays are now "Soufflé Mondays," with a special soufflé being featured each Monday.

Despite the lobster disappointment, we enjoyed a very tasty, well-prepared dinner.

We started with the Roasted Beets and Watermelon Salad, which was perfect on this warm evening...very refreshing and flavorful.

Harriet's main course was the Hamburger, served on a brioche bun with tomatoes, watercress and grilled onions. She added Truffle Cheese for even more flavor. Her burger came with French Fries which were so good, I "stole" several.

My main course was one of Oola's "signature" dishes, the Foie Gras and Chicken Ravioli.

The ravioli are handmade and filled with chicken and served in a truffle broth. The truffle broth was so delicious, I sopped up ever drop with either bread or more of Harriet's French Fries. Oola offers the ravioli in a small serving of 5 or large serving of 10 ($15 or $26). Knowing that we had ordered the soufflé for dessert, I opted for the small serving. It was perfect.

And then there was the Soufflé. Last night it was a Dulce de Leche Soufflé served with cinnamon ice cream sauce, caramelized bananas and two little cookie sandwiches filled with caramel. It was perfect for sharing and made to our order.

The food and drinks at Oola are outstanding. The menu is small, but has something for just about all tastes and appetites. Service is attentive and friendly. Executive Chef and co-owner Ola Fendert brings to Oola her previous experience at such prestigious restaurants as Chez Papa Bistrot, Scala's Bistro, and Alain Rondelli.

The ambiance is a bit disappointing. The dining room is very dark, almost too dark to read a menu. Seating is in booths and along a banquette on the wall. Harriet perfers to sit in a straight chair and fortunately, we were able to sit at one of thefew tables by the banquette where there was a chair on one side.

Would I return to Oola? Yes and no. Probably not for a special detour or destination but if someone wanted to meet there, I'd be there in a flash. And, I will certainly recommend Oola to people who are in that neighborhood; it's not that far from the ball park either. And, after business hours, it is easy to find street parking nearby.

And, one added observation: I absolutely love the quote at the top of the menu: "There is nothing like good food, good wine and a bad girl."

Bad girl signing off...

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