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Restaurant Review: Olio Crudo Bar
updated: May 24, 2014, 12:00 PM

Review by Abomb

Olio Crudo Bar
11 West Victoria Street
Price Range: $12-29
Rating: [3/3 eds]

The lovely Lauren of edhat invited me to do a restaurant review with her this past week (ok, ok…I invited myself) at Olio Crudo Bar. This is the newest addition to the Olio series of restaurants. Crudo means "raw" in Italian, so it highlights raw ingredients with an Italian flair. Olio also has "cotto" and "altro" items on their menu ("cooked" and "other") for those who are not keen on raw ingredients. Lauren and I sampled a little of everything. Dishes range from $12 to $29 and they are all small plates, so you need to order several to make a full meal.

Of note is the size of this restaurant - it's probably the smallest restaurant I've ever seen. It's in the space on Victoria street that used to house the Herbal Spirit store. It consists of a long bar, a few high tables, and one small couch area. They bring dishes out one at a time, probably because more than one plate can't fit on the table at a time! Or maybe because they want you to enjoy the ingredients of each dish on its own. Probably a little of both.

They started us off with an Italian cracker served in a very interesting ceramic holder, so that the cracker was standing upright. When we inquired about this, we were told it was a unique way to display the cracker, but it was also used because it didn't take up too much space on the table. Very thoughtful, these Olio folks!

Lauren started off with the Salmon Carpaccio, which she said was sliced to perfection. The fish was fresh and tasty, probably would have been quite delicious all on its own. The white soy sauce and spicy ginger vinaigrette was a nice balance, but they were a little heavy handed on the pour.

Carpaccio di Salmone

We then shared the "maiale" - pressed kurobuta pork belly with Brussels sprouts and a fuji apple chutney. The flavor of the pork belly was rich and decadent (as it should be) and the apple chutney had some kind of spice in it that added a really nice flavor. It was difficult to get it all in one bite on the fork, but I figured it out. My only complaint was that I prefer pork belly with a little bit of crispness and the texture was pretty soft throughout.

Maiale, pressed Kurobuta pork belly

Next up were the ricotta dumplings with speck and a creamy porcini and truffle sauce. This was definitely the winner of the meal. The texture of the dumplings was perfect - they were not too heavy and had the lovely creaminess of ricotta. The porcini truffle sauce was SO good - so much intense flavor packed in. If I had had a spoon, I would have eaten every last bit of sauce. I had no idea what speck was when I ordered the dish, and I was happily surprised to find what tasted like bacon. And who wouldn't be? I later learned that speck is an Italian cured pork. Truffles, pork, mushrooms, cheese…it was like an umami bomb in my mouth! This was also one of the larger portioned and filling dishes of the night.

Gnocchetti di Ricotta

We also splurged on dessert, and went with the peanut butter semifreddo with rhubarb jam, which was recommended by our server. It was a delicious play on a PB&J. The semifreddo was light and airy and really hit the spot on such a hot evening. The rhubarb jam added just the right amount of tartness.

Burro di Arachidi Semifreddo

Overall I really enjoyed the meal and the ambiance. Being the mother of a toddler, it was quite a treat to enjoy a night out in a place where I could never bring my child. And of course, the company was the best part! I have to be honest, I was still hungry when leaving, and I'm glad I picked up a flight of Enjoy cupcakes over at the public market before I met Lauren for dinner so that I could stuff one in my face on the way home!

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Angie and Lauren are looking for a new restaurant to review where cupcakes are encouraged to be stuffed into the face.


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