Olla Miami – Unforgettable Mex on the Beach
By Romi Clav
Chef Scott Linquist, the genius behind Wynwood’s Coyo Taco envisioned an upscale Mexican inspired eatery catering to the locals on the quiet side of Lincoln Road…Man, did he deliver with Olla. The restaurant offers highly imaginative fare,worthy of even the pickiest palates without straying far from the authentic tastes and laborious preparations that give each of the country’s regions its distinct flare.
The variety and seafood forward menu was in fact impressive but what wowed us and elevated the experience was the realization that two can dine, drink and have a gourmand-worthy experience without selling an organ in the black market.
OLLA’s first date-worthy magic is not in the vibrant Diego Rivera inspired murals, warm lighting or even the killer Chamoy flavored Michelada base made in house that’ll make you forget you’re in Gringolandia…it’s in the sauce..err sauces. This is the place where chips and salsa while perusing a menu becomes a tantalizing distraction.
The carefully curated menu is broken up into tapas style servings and gives diners the option of sampling hard to find items such as cheesy Huitlacoches, the famed corn truffles and Chapulines for the adventurous types jonesing for a taste of roasted Oaxacan grasshoppers with marcona almonds and chocolate.
Definitely start with the unique Olla-Fina-Rita – Don julio reposado, grand marnier citrus, agave nectar. The spiced rim is potent and will open your appetite up wide.
What instantly caught my eye and made it’s way onto the table was the Cordero which was a dignified and herbaceous take on lamb tartare served on warm wedges of fry bread; I instantly fell in love.
Another raw favorite was the Erizo which were two tostadas loaded with pickled veggies, cool avocado and sea urchin. There was a nice contrast of crunch and the unmistakable bite from the chile de arbol that went so damned well with the sweet creamy decadence of the uni. The taste was to die for and presentation stunning to look at without being showy for the sake of being posh, it was just right.
On the heartier side were the seafood enchiladas that were loaded with king crab, lobster and this deliciously creamy requeson sauce. These came in the restaurant’s namesake pots which sum up the laid back style behind the inspiration of the menu.
In fact, every plate was a testament to the quality ingredients that inspired Chef Linquist’s passion for Mexican cuisine and the complex profiles in texture, taste and presentation that shape OLLA. This passion transcends the typical landscape where tradition and flavors get appropriated, cheapened and reduced to some runny eyesore confined to a flour tortillas, melted yellow cheese product and iceberg lettuce smithereens…Not here, not on his watch and please don’t overlook the tomatillo sauce. Lincoln Road is again becoming a destination to have a fabulous meal. Thank you Olla!