Houston Restaurant Weeks: L'Olivier
The grilled salmon is a delicious dish, but there is another entree that you can't miss.
Photos by Molly Dunn
What they're up to for Restaurant Weeks: L'Olivier Restaurant & Bar offers three menus for Houston Restaurant Weeks: two lunch menus, a two-course meal for $20 and a three-course meal for $30, and a three-course dinner for $35. Each menu comes with an optional wine pairing; $5 per course for the lunch menus and $20 for all three courses at dinner. You most certainly can ask for an individual course wine pairing at dinner if you only want one course paired with wine.
Service/Atmosphere: It's no shocker that the service is über-attentive at L'Olivier, and although the kitchen is slammed with Restaurant Weeks orders, the wait staff did an impeccable job keeping us informed on the progress of our courses and drinks. You're going to want to take your time at this French restaurant anyway, so don't throw a fit about the wait between courses. My only complaint was the noise level; maybe it was because the groups around my table were talking extremely loud, but noise seems to carry quite far in the quaint restaurant. But that's not the service's fault, so I am still pleased with the overall service of the evening.
Items that won't be on the regular menu: Just about everything on the HRW menu can be found on the regular menu, however, the beef bourguignon normally comes over house made spinach fettuccine and on the HRW menu it is being served with mashed potatoes, mushrooms and bacon. If you want the pasta with the beef bourguignon (which I recommend) you can ask your waiter to for it to come that way - it doesn't cost extra, either. The watermelon gazpacho and soup de jour (carrot-ginger soup during my visit), along with the duck leg confit, waffle with ice cream and profiteroles are also not on the regular menu.
If you can't decide which entree to get, order the duck leg confit; it won't disappoint.
Don't Miss This Dish: The can't miss appetizer is definitely the house smoked salmon; it is so delicate and perfectly seasoned with salt and cracked black pepper. Pair it with some fried capers and lemon sour cream on top of a crunchy baguette slice for the perfect bite. For the second course, everything sounds amazing and it is, but the duck leg confit is an incredible dish you have to order. The duck is served with creamy flageolet beans sitting in a roasted tomato sauce; the duck is so tender, juicy and bursting with flavor - it is French cooking at its finest.
Don't Bother: Honestly every dish was delicious so it is hard to say which dish you should avoid, however, if you're looking for a super sweet dessert that embodies everything French, skip the waffle with ice cream. It's just a few bites of a waffle with a tablespoon scoop of mint ice cream topped with chocolate sauce. You're better off enjoying the classic crème brulee or beautiful profiteroles with sweet vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.
It's a beautiful dish, but it's kind of small.
Final Verdict: If you're looking for a dining experience that is enjoyable throughout each course, you need to visit L'Olivier before HRW is over. You can get most of the HRW menu items on the regular menu, but for three courses at just $35, you're getting an incredible deal.
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