Monday, May 20, 2013

Baltimore's BLACK OLIVE has only one bump and some best bites (5-19-13)

For my birthday after attending the Baltimore Lyric Opera yesterday, I
chose BLACK OLIVE in Fells' Point ( which serves
up some fine Greek food in a very nice setting to boot. It is classy
and a bit pricey, but we all had a great time.
Will and I started with a glass of Domaine Sigalsa Assyrtiko White
2011 which was, as most Greek wines, crisp and refreshing and SUPERB
with both our shared starters of TARAMASALATA and GRILLED OCTOPUS
SALAD with red onions and capers. The tarama was rich, creamy and
divine, truly a gift for the Greek gods at least. The bread was a
wheat crusty type of bread, not your traditional pita, and was tasty
as well. An herb oil with sesame seeds was also a big hit, especially
with Samuel.

Samuel had the RACK OF LAMB and they had the nerve to charge $5 to
substitute cous-cous (which comes with many dishes) for the
cauliflower! No matter, he devoured two and a 1/2 of the tasty moist
meaty chops seasoned perfectly.
Will and I had a bottle of tasty red after he rejected the first taste
of 2011 Teselepas Aghiorghitiko Nemea as too perfumey. The 2007
Manosakis Nostos from Crete did arrive chilled, which I really did not
like. The blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and Rousanne is a Rhone-
style but with a Greek intensity.
Will and I split two main dishes. The hit was the RACK of LAMB and
GRILLED SHRIMP COMBO which came with 4 gorgeous chops and three huge
tastily seasoned moist shrimp. The Grilled Cauliflower was also
excellent with a dash of olive oil and seasonings that were just
Sadly, the dud was the LAMB KLEFTIKO, pieces of gristly, overcooked
lamb in a parchment with a superb sauce of lemon, Kefalograviera
cheese and herbs. It is a shame the loving care for the rack missed
this dish totally when it came to destroying most of the meat into dry
chewy cubes. The couscous (which it came with) was wonderful with the
lemony-cheesy sauce!

It was my birthday, so an orange slice topped with a scoop of vanilla
ice cream arrived with a candle in it surrounded by blueberries, apple
slices and other fruit. It was a cute touch, but I skipped the ice
cream as I am still trying to diet. Instead, Will and I sought to try
a scoop of the BAKLAVA ICE CREAM, the menu saying it was conceived and
created here. Well, it tasted more like cinnamon (which Will does not
like) ice cream with some cookie pieces for crunch. Samuel loved his
REINE DE SABA, but at first he wanted nothing as he chose to look
at only the names and not the descriptions. Upon reading he discovered
it was a Flourless Belgian Chocolate Cake with roasted Hazelnuts and
Chocolate Ganache. He gobbled up the cake, but oddly left the sweet

It was extra nice that at the end of our main course, the owner, a
sweet older Greek guy, came over to check if all was okay. We did not
have the heart to tell him about the lamb in the one dish. I would go
back if I happen to be in the neighborhood, but would not drive to
Baltimore to eat there, although he did tempt us with his recipe for
soft shell crabs, which he said he had run out of that night! TOO BAD!