Sunday, January 31, 2010
Hanging at Olives on Ludlow
We met a group of my husband's gym friends who get together every month for a "final Friday" gathering. Recently their venue has been Olive's, a restaurant that has filled a niche in Clifton for the past couple of years.
While the cooking is serviceable at best, the place has managed to hang in there by doing a few things well. Start with a good location and ambiance for the upstairs sections--as opposed to the chilly and rather gloomy large dining room downstairs-- where a large bar and many bar tables provides a nice perch for watching the sidewalk action on Clifton's main commercial drag. Daily specials -- including two-for-one martinis on Fridays -- are a good idea and I'm sure it's helped keep patrons coming in the door.
The menu is pretty wide-ranging, with appetizers (mostly fat-laden but that's what a lot of people like), salads, sandwiches and a fair number of entrees. The portions generally are large and the kitchen is rather heavy-handed with butter and oil. Therefore, it's a challenge to find healthy options.
Pictured here are a soup special -- it was black bean and red pepper, rather an odd combination and someone overdid the salt, so I could only eat a little of it. My husband often orders the pasta puttanesca, which is a vegan dish--tomatoes, eggplant, and a spicy kick perhaps from cayenne pepper. It's listed as an appetizer for some reason, but it's plenty as an entree. I also got an individual flatbread, kind of like a small pizza with a very thin crust.
Olive's is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, and also serves brunch on Sunday.