Vahlrona Chocolate Souffle, Oola
"There is nothing like good food, good wine and a bad girl."
So says the fine print on the menu at Oola. It sure does set the tone, and on a Monday night at that.
Monday date night at Oola
The strategic lighting, exposed brick, and soaring-ceilings make you feel a little mysterious, a little daring, a little come-hither.
So while we're being naughty, let's start with dessert first. Our Vahlrona Chocolate Souffle served with a Chambord ice cream sauce, fresh berries, and a cute little puff of meringue was an absolute treat. Pastry chef Alicia Montalvo has a good thing going here. Our souffle was everything I wanted it to be. Light, airy, rich, and downright sexy. Montalvo is planning on featuring a new souffle special every Monday, only on Mondays. I'm already looking forward to finding out what creative concoctions she has up her sleeve.
Hama Hama Oysters, Oola
From one aphrodisiac to another, bring on the oysters. Oola had Hama Hamas and Marins on the menu, both served on the half shell with a mignonette and cocktail sauce on the side. We preferred the hama hamas which had a more buttery texture and cleaner, fresh sea taste. Mmm, I could eat a whole pirate chest of good oysters.
Baby Back Ribs, Oola
If you've never tasted Chef Ola Fendert’s famous Baby Back Ribs, you must. Glazed in a soy sauce, cilantro, ginger sauce, they are the perfect flavor and texture. Eat them with your hands and lick the tangy, salty, sweet, stickiness off your fingers. The outer layer is beautifully caramelized and slightly charred, while the inner bites are falling-off-the-bone tender. The red cabbage-apple slaw on the side provides a nice fresh crunch and a touch of mellow creaminess. They dutifully perform their supporting role in this highly delicious act.
Foie gras and chicken ravioli, Oola
For my main, I went with the Foie Gras and Chicken Ravioli served in a roasted chicken and truffle broth. The ravioli had me at foie gras. When the dish arrived at the table, I was momentarily intoxicated by the unmistakable earthy, pungent, woodsy aroma of black truffle. The al dente pasta had great chew and flavor, and the foie gras/chicken filling was meaty and full-flavored, but texture wise, I wish it was more velvety, molten-foie gras-like, and less meat-like.
"Farmer’s Market Special" Bruins Farms Heirloom Tomato Risotto
The "Farmer’s Market Special," part of Oola's new summer menu dedicated to showcasing seasonal, local-sourced organic ingredients, was an Heirloom Tomato Risotto made with chunks of heirloom tomatoes, stewed cherry tomatoes that burst in my mouth, and oven-dried tomatoes that added a touch of smokiness. The combination made for a complex and bright sweetness. The risotto was topped with a creamy, mild goat cheese, and seasoned with fragrant lavender – the perfect complementary accents.
(In a way this dish reminded me of a way fancier version of what I used to eat as a child. Surprisingly, for a period in my life, I was a picky eater, and the only way my parents could get me to eat rice was if it was doused in ketchup. OK, you may or may not think less of me now. What's done is done.)
Parenthetical aside, Oola may just have what it takes to make Monday the new date night. Nothing like a souffle and some footsie to take the edge off a new week.
Oola Restaurant & Bar
860 Folsom Street
(between 4th St & 5th St)
San Francisco, CA 94107