Thursday, August 25, 2011

Eat It - Oliver's Bistro, 959 West Ave, Miami Beach, FL (305)535-3050

(305)535-3050! How great is that number? I'm so jealous. I'm stuck with a crappy, crappy 786 number because I'm a T-Mobile subscriber, and I must assume that powerful Jewish telecom businesspeople are getting retribution against the German company that provides my mobile phone "coverage" for the ills caused them during WWII. I'm using quotation marks because, if you're familiar with...what the? Why am I wasting my time writing about how crappy T-Mobile's coverage is? Everyone knows that already. If I'm standing under a palm tree, odds are I don't have a signal.

But their customer service is gang busters.

So, last week my girlfriend and I were at a launch party at the swank Mondrian Hotel for a new app called Shooger. It's pretty much going to make Groupon look like MySpace. For my younger readers, MySpace is where people used to hang out before Facebook. But after Friendster. Friendster was first. Ahhhh, Friendster, where did you go wrong?

Though it's totally pretentious and annoying and overpriced, I like that Mondrian. I took this pretty awesome photo with my Blackberry from the pool deck.

So after the sweet Shooger launch party, Renee and I decided we should get some grub. We've always wanted to try Oliver's, so in my fatalistic tone that women just love, I said "what if we get hit by a car on the way home or die in our sleep? Then we'll never have eaten at Oliver's and we've always wanted to."

Upon arriving on the block of West Ave. on which Oliver's is located, I noticed an ex-girlfriend dining with a young man and, finding the situation awkward, hustled by without saying hi. I don't know if she saw me. Kathryn, I'm sorry I didn't say hi. Amazing that we haven't run into each other in like 5 years when I usually can't go 3 hours without running into someone I know in Miami. I'm going to blame it on my debilitating immaturity.

After entering Oliver's, we were immediately greeted and shown to a table. It's a good sign when you're not standing around waiting for someone to help you, even at a little place like Oliver's.

To start, I ordered the Escargots in Sizzling Roquefort Garlic Butter (a reasonable $9.95) and Renee got a Caesar salad (the menu item is a dinner salad for $9.95 but you may order a starter portion for $6.95). She remarked that I couldn't eat escargot since I'm allergic to seafood, but I said "snails aren't seafood." But I'm wondering if they have some similar qualities as mollusks that live in the sea. I'm now realizing that I did have a mild reaction. Stupid seafood allergy affects me even when I'm not eating seafood! This is starting to become severely limiting for someone who likes to eat interesting stuff and then write about it. I will say that it makes ordering off the menu a lot easier. In many Florida restaurants I can ignore about half of the listed items. I can't eat anything at Bond St, so you guys are gonna have to hope that one of my junior guest writers wants to try it out.

Well, my Oliver's escargot might be the last time I eat those slimy little guys, so I'm disappointed I didn't enjoy them more. They were good, but not great. They arrived naked, which I found odd, especially since they gave me one of those tiny forks to scoop the snail meat out of the shell. But there was no shell. Just a plate of garlicky, oily snail bodies. They're accompanied by some rather greasy grilled herb bread. I think there's enough oil and stuff on the escargots that plain bread would be a nicer compliment.

Where do the snails even come from in an escargot dish? Do they just find those out on the sidewalk after it's rained? Kidding. As Richard Grieco said in A Night at the Roxbury, "I just don't want to be sued."

I was planning to write "See? He did say that." Like Dr. Evil after a flashback. See? He did say "See? I did say that". Woh, I just got a little dizzy reading that. Alas, I could not find video evidence of the A Night at the Roxbury scene, other than on my DVD, of course. So I found a transcript and posted that instead. Internet, you've done it again!

For main courses, Renee had Potato Gnocchi, which must have been a special since it's not on the online menu. I unfortunately don't remember all of the ingredients but it was a playful little dish. Highly recommended. I was unable to refrain from sneaking bites throughout our meal. It was a sort of Primavera dish with light cream sauce and lots of fresh vegetables. At $14.95, it was also quite affordable. I ordered the Chili Lime Cilantro Chicken Breast. I was tempted to order schnitzel, but I wanted mashed potatoes, and the schnitzel's side was potato salad. I suppose I could have asked for them to substitute but I felt like eating healthy and avoided the fried schnitzel and opted for the grilled chicken breast. Great dish. Flavorful and juicy chicken with great mashed potatoes with sauteed corn and some very light cole slaw (so light, in fact, that Oliver's just calls it "cabbage"). My dish was $16.95.

The service? Fantastic. We had a wonderful, friendly, attentive waiter. Oliver's provided some of the best service I have experienced in South Florida. This place might just become a staple and I won't hesitate to recommend it to others, particularly my young adult contemporaries who don't want to pay through the nose every time they want to have a decent meal that isn't a hamburger. Seriously, enough with the new hamburger joints.

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