Note: Olana has closed. Our obituary is here.
I visited Olana again the other night with a friend who was known to the house (earlier report here). We were fed what amounted to two full dinners, of which half was comped. I loved the wild mushroom salad and sausage-wrapped veal. Among pastas, there was one that incorporated chocolate that was fantastic. Less impressive were ricotta meatballs, which were too tough. Among the three desserts we tried, a carrot cake took the palm.
Olana is now a year old. It has survived, despite not receiving a full review from the Times. The front dining room was close to full at prime time on a Thursday evening, and the rear dining room was closed for a private party. That’s not bad for an off-the-radar restaurant in a location without much foot traffic, where all of the entrées are above $25. If you want a less expensive option, a $35 prix fixe will be offered for the rest of the year.
Service glitches that we noted on an earlier visit are no longer an issue, although the sound system was a trifle too loud. The menu skews Italian, and has nothing to do with the Upstate New York estate for which the restaurant is named. That’s no reason to avoid Olana, which offers a comfortable, refined dining experience that is welcome in this neck of the woods.
Olana (72 Madison Avenue between 27th & 28th Streets, Flatiron District)