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Both Odam and Chronicle Have Mixed Feelings on Olamaie

The modern Southern restaurant elicits wavering reactions from critics.

Robert J. Lerma/EATX
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Both the Statesman and Austin Chronicle reviewed the upscale Southern restaurant Olamaie this week, and weren’t overly impressed. Even though Statesman critic Matthew Odam admires the purpose and intent of Olamaie, he still feels the restaurant needs some fine-tuning. He was awed by some aspects, like the menu’s wide breadth of Southern regional cuisine, and certain dishes, including those off-the-menu biscuits that everyone’s raving about. However, there were also inconsistent dishes, as seen by his response to the fish:

An appetizer of smoked wahoo ($15) made for an excellent creamy spread flavored with a zippy mayonnaise-based barbecue sauce found in northern Alabama. But I was unsatisfied with a skinny and bronzed cut of overcooked Day Boat grouper ($30), though the plating was beautiful, with broccoli green-wrapped sweet potatoes, dots of pecan butter, and a dollop of incredibly rich sweet potato puree.

The dishes were hit or miss for The Austin Chronicle’s Melanie Haupt as well, who didn't have good experience with service, too. While some dishes disappointed her, others blew her away, like the Smoky Hen of the Woods appetizer:

The rotating, seasonal menu is a mixed blessing, because if it were a static offering, I wouldn't ever order anything but the Smoky Hen of the Woods ($23). It's the best vegetarian dish I've had in Austin, period. It's an unusual stew of field peas and mushrooms that is both hearty and flavorful. Simply put, the dish is a revelation and I look forward to its return to the menu.

THE BLOGS: MJ and Hungryman loves the rich food at Kin and Comfort, and Smoking Ho didn’t regret his revisit of Franklin Barbecue.


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