REVIEW: MILO AND OLIVE

Milo and Olive is the latest from the much beloved Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry, and Sweet Rose Creamery team.  Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan offer up a bakery and neighborhood pizzeria that may  prove the perfect marriage of their creative talents. 

Two communal tables seating eight guests each welcome patrons while the same number of seats stretch along the back counter from which one can watch the kitchen at work.  The space may be diminutive but the food coming out of the open kitchen belies its size.  Take-out is also a popular option with a queue forming during lunch to bring back delectable offerings to the office.

The menu is divided into veggies and grains (Roasted McGrath Farms pumpkin in brown butter sage, Buckwheat honey, black pepper; marinated green beans with Drake Family Farms goat cheese, toasted pine buts, cipollini onions, golden raisins, capers, honey rosemary vinaigrette as examples), Fish (branzino ceviche with fennel hearts, chilis, scallions, fresh lime, sea salt; fried local squid with crispy lemon, salsa verde), Meat (sausage and beans with escarole, parmesan broth, grilled ciabatta; fusilli eggplant, sweet peppers, roasted tomato, black olives, bread crumbs) Salads (arugula and radicchio with fried capers, shaved fennel, anchovy dressing, Parmigiano Reggiano; roasted seasonal vegetables with chickpeas, faro, feta, red onion, arugula) and Pizza (crispy pepperoni, tomato fresh mozzarella; butternut squash, fresh mozzarella, caramelized onion, sage, brown butter, farm egg) as examples of but a few of the items you’ll be salivating over.

The Monster can’t decide so he indulges and orders the Acua Pazza featuring PEI mussels, Manila clams, sweet shrimp, white wine, garlic, fresh herbs AND the free range chicken meatballs with roasted tomato and arugula AND the crispy duck leg with See Canyon apples, treviso agrodolce, rosemary AND the margherita pizza with fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, olive oil and sea salt.  A nap will most assuredly be in order after lunch.

The seafood is the first course and it is wonderful, fresh, with a broth that sings.  That it will ultimately be the least impressive dish is akin to finding fault with the Mona Lisa.  Perhaps her look isn’t mirthful enough. 

Meatballs are next up and they are off the hook fantastic., garlicky with a little kick.  The sauce should be bottled, The Monster would pour it into a bowl and pretend it was soup.

The duck takes its turn and it’s a terrific winter dish.  Perfectly crispy skin, tender meat, a touch of fruitiness from the candied apples.  By this point The Monster is wondering if he can eat here everyday.

Lastly, the pizza is everything you’re looking for in a pie.  When you throw on some fresh mozzarella and crushed red pepper look out. 

For dessert, the recommendation is the lemon pudding.  Just wow.  That’s all The Monster kept saying.  Wow.  Over and over.  Wow. 

Yes, portion size relative to price is an issue.  But with friendly service and a killer selection of baked goods Milo and Olive will fast become a new favorite.

Why go?  You love naps.

Monster rating: 4½/5 Monsters

2723 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90403

(310) 453-6776

Milo & Olive on Urbanspoon

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