Posted by Lauren and Nicole
N: Our Christmas Eve Eve dinner was fantastic! Lauren picked out such a perfect restaurant for the occasion. The restaurant was dimly lit, not too loud, and a convenient location from Union Square.
L: However, oola wasn’t very good for photos. I apologize for the poor quality, grainy, blurry pictures in this post, but the food was too tasty not to talk about (and visuals are always appreciated, right?).
L: Unlike the past two years (Wayfare Tavern & Barbacco), this year’s reservation wasn’t just for the three of us! Our aunt Cori, uncle Peter, and cousins Collin and Morgan joined us after watching The Hobbit! Our party of 7 showed up just before the kitchen officially opened (~5:50 PM), but the server sat us immediately. The six remaining booths filled up quickly, but the whole time the small restaurant felt like it was open “just for us.”
N: I started with a Diet coke, but the older folks split a bottle of wine.
L: I l-o-v-e-d this wine. Ruby red, a steady sweetness, fresh and round, slightly acidic, raspberry or blackberry or blueberry flavors… can’t be sure which. I’m glad the adults shared this, because otherwise I would have hogged it all to myself!
N: For my meal, I ordered the asparagus and butter lettuce salad. It was so fresh and delicious. The asparagus were very thick and seemed organic and in season. I love bleu cheese and candied walnuts, so this sure was my dream salad. I also ordered a side of the brown butter brussels sprouts, which were mixed with capers and sage. They were a little too buttery, but that didn’t stop me from clearing the plate!
N: I also had a few bites of the baked manchego and cheddar mac and cheese that my mom ordered. It was great; complete with a bread crumb topping, fresh thyme, and plenty of decadent, creamy cheese.
L: Collin and Morgan (she’s pictured above) agreed to split the lemon and black pepper fried chicken “nuggets” with me. The extremely-better-than-McD-nuggets came with a buttermilk waffle drenched in syrup. I would definitely order this dish again – best chicken and waffles I’ve ever had.
L: For my main entree, I chose the most popular oola dish since it came with overwhelmingly high praise on Yelp: ginger soy glazed baby back ribs with apple red cabbage cole slaw…. now these were transcendental!
L: The meat literally FELL off the bone it was so incredibly tender. Like fluffy pillow tender. Please go eat these ribs now or find someone in San Francisco that will eat the ribs on your behalf. Long ago, the ribs were originally made for the restaurant staff. They were so absafreakinlutely amazing that they’ve never left the menu.
N: Cori and Collin also ordered the ribs; Peter picked the roasted chicken grand mere with parisian potatoes, asparagus, and carrots; and our mom chose the roasted beet and watermelon salad with pistachio, humboldt fog goat cheese, watercress, and lemon vinaigrette:
L: Cori shared a heaping pile of Kennebec truffle oil and parmesean fries with the table. Yum. After my chicken nugget appetizer and baby back ribs entree, a few truffle fries perfectly rounded out my HAPPY MEAL. :)
N: While opening gifts, we demolished a few dessert dishes. The warm chocolate caramel cake was so decadent! The server poured fresh chocolate fudge onto the warm cake, and the heated cake mixed perfectly with the caramel filling and vanilla ice cream.
N: The bread pudding was sweet and kind of lemony. I had high hopes for this dessert because I am a bit of a bread pudding enthusiast, but it didn’t have a chance compared to the butterscotch bread pudding at California Cafe. It was good enough, although the chocolate cake easily stole the show. Yum.
L: I totally agree with Nicole, the frangelico brioche bread pudding was light and creamy, but I wish it soaked up more of the crème anglaise pudding. I preferred spoonfuls of Collin’s warm chocolate caramel cake – just imagine a classier version of Chili’s chocolate molten lava cake and you’ve got the idea.
N: After dinner, we walked back to our hotel and took the classic family photo in front of the giant gingerbread castle. It was such a nice dinner and I would love to go back to try oola‘s changing seasonal menu! We all loved it.
-Lauren and Nicole