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Olé Mexican Grill, Cambridge, MA

by TT February 2nd, 2012 | Restaurant Reviews
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On an evening without kids in our company, what better way is there to spend the evening than a leisurely dinner for two at a restaurant?  With last Friday being one of those nights, I graciously accepted the offer to dine at Olé Mexican Grill.  Not only would it be a romantic dinner for two, but it also would allow us to try a new-to-us restaurant.

We arrived at Olé about 30 minutes prior to our reservation.  However, we were able to be seated promptly.  The restaurant was packed but well-staffed, which seemed to keep all of the patrons happily enjoying their meals.  We were provided with menus and water and given a moment to study our options.  We each chose a cocktail and were provided with complimentary chips and salsa.  It must be noted that this salsa was the most unique I’ve had.  It had a smoother texture than most and a hint of sweetness that I could not determine the source of.  Although I typically try to eat few chips to save room for the dishes I order, it was quite hard to do.

When the server returned with our drinks we ordered Guacamole En Mocajete.  This dish is the one item that left us conflicted.  I’ll start with the negative.  Although the menu describes the guacamole as being prepared table-side, that isn’t quite the case.  Our guacamole was made out of my sight, behind where I was seated.  The other negative was that we weren’t asked about preferences, as we have been at other table-side presentations, such as salt or not, lime juice or not.  The positive was that the guacamole was quite tasty as it was presented.

Olé offers two different dining styles:  tapas or entrées.  As both of us love tapas and the fact that eating tapas would allow us to sample more of the menu, we opted for that style.  Being ambitious eaters, we chose five different dishes.  While that may sound like a good amount of food, it probably was the perfect amount for us.

Our first tapas item to arrive was the Ceviche De Atun.  After eating quite a few chips, this dish was a nice change of pace.  Consisting of ahi tuna marinated in lime juice and accompanied by red onion, jalapenos, and olives, it was light and flavorful.  The tuna was tender and the contrast of crunchy onion to tender tuna was well-balanced.

For the next round of food, three of our tapas dishes were delivered together.  The Queso Fundido Con Hongos was a nice variation on the queso that you find at typical Mexican restaurants.  This dish consisted of goat cheese served with adobe marinated shiitake and crimini mushrooms with tomatilla salsa.  The queso was presented with miniature corn tortillas to scoop the melty cheese and mushroom combination.  The meaty nature of the mushrooms made this queso a heartier dish with a great bite from the goat cheese.

A side of Fried Plantains also was part of this course.  This dish was ordered with my husband in mind, as he loves both fried food and plantains.  In order to provide a thorough review of the dinner, I did sample one of the plantains and was pleased to find that it was not greasy, and also had a crisp exterior and creamy interior.  A drizzle of crema added a nice bit of flavor to the dish.

The final item of this course was the Falda Asada Con Mole.  Skirt steak marinated in adobo and cooked until medium rare, it was presented with haricots vert on red mole.  This dish was delicious.  The steak was well-cooked and also quite tender.  Although it was served with more of the mini corn tortillas, I opted to skip them so as not to interfere with the delicious flavors in the steak and haricots vert.

Our fifth tapas item was the Tacos de Pescado, which our server had recommended.  Taken straight from the menu, this dish is “beer battered haddock in homemade corn tortillas topped with cabbage slaw, cilantro pesto, chipotle mayonnaise and black sesame seeds”.  Again, fried foods fall quite low on my list of favorites.  However, the batter was crispy, not greasy, and light, and the fish was flaky.  The combination of toppings worked well together and provided a mixture of crunch, sweetness, and spice.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that although this was a filling meal, neither my husband nor I quit before dessert.  So, with the goal of reviewing the meal from beginning to end, we studied the dessert menu.  We each found a sweet treat to our liking and placed our orders.

My husband definitely chose the better of the two desserts.  I order the Tres Leches Cake.  The cake itself was tender, but it seemed to be lacking the tres leches.  As its name indicates, this is a cake made with three milks, which produces an incredibly moist cake.  While my cake wasn’t dry, there also was no moistness to it.  Additionally, it was to have been topped with Kahlua whipped cream.  Try as I might, I could not find a hint of coffee flavor to the whipped cream.

My husband ordered the Crepas De Cajeta, which were fabulous.  (In fact, I should have asked that we switch plates.)  These crepes were filled with candied pecans, topped with a goat milk caramel sauce, and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The most amazing part of this dish was the caramel.  It was delightfully sweet but also had the trademark, savory flavor from the goat milk.  The pecans had a nice sugary taste that was tempered by the crepes.  A perfect way for one of us to end the meal.

The service at the restaurant was excellent.  At our table and all of the surrounding tables, glasses were kept full, plates were cleared in a timely manner, and patrons’ needs were checked in a reasonable manner.  The only caveat to dining at Olé is that as it is a smaller dining area, it can be loud.  Intimate conversation is difficult, but there is a vibrant atmosphere.  If you’re in Cambridge and seeking some tasty Mexican food, Olé Mexican Grill is a good choice.

Editor’s note:  Our evening of dining was provided at no cost to my husband and myself.  That being said, this review accurately reflects the quality of our experience at Olé Mexican Grill.

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