Classy but affordable French restaurant, L'Olivier opened in Montrose last week and its namesake chef Olivier Ciesielski found a few moments before their first ever lunch shift yesterday to speak with Eater Houston. He gives his recommendations for first date dishes, talks about why working super long days is also rewarding and gives a mouth-watering description of an apple tart.
How was your first week?
My first week. You know when someone opens a business, it's exciting, at the same time it's scary. The first week is pretty nice. What we did, with dinner, we didn't say anything to anybody to have people come to the restaurant, so we can correct our mistakes. But the first week was very nice. Some good people, foodie people came to the restaurant, and we had a good time.
What do you think was the biggest success of the week?
The surprise. People surprised about what we're doing here. The price and they love the location.
Did you open for Easter Sunday?
No. We try to have everything perfect and we just opened last Tuesday. It was a little bit too short and most people had already planned for Easter. But we'll be open for brunch next Sunday.
What is the most popular dish so far?
I think the steak frites or the ceviche. As dessert, the floating island. Some people are like, "we haven't seen this in forever," and some people are like, "what is this?" So, that's quite a surprise. What we do is take a traditional French dish and a little American and twist it.
If someone came on a first date to your restaurant, what would your recommendations be?
On a first date, I would say the ceviche. Because it's something that's very refreshing. What we do is use some Japanese lemon, yuzu, some pineapple, fresh fish of the day. Main course, I would say the tuna. We do a tuna with Asian spicy sauce, and we pan sear very lightly, put it on a bed of haricot verist and spicy sauce. You know, everything we do here is very simple, but with all of the flavor. And for dessert, we have a nice, crispy apple tart. And it takes about 15 - 20 minutes to prepare it, but when it gets out from the oven, the smell of the puff pastry and the caramelized sugar on the apples, smells so good. People love it. Yeah, it takes a little bit of time [to prepare], but it's worth it.
How are you dealing with the newness of everything? The stress?
You know, you get the stress everyday, but when you start to work, you forget the stress. What takes all my stress away is when I see the customer leave with a big smile. That makes my day. And I don't care if you work 20 hours a day, because when you see people leave the restaurant with a big smile, you're like, "wow, I did a good job."