Eating out can seem like a gamble: How can you be sure that the famed name is cooking that night? Will it be worth the hype? Has the restaurant you’ve chosen lost its edge?
That’s why it’s so reassuring to walk in to Olives and see Joseph Brenner orchestrating the open kitchen. No, Todd wasn’t in the house last Saturday night. It may be his photo in the press, but not so often in the kitchen these days as he jet-sets from Olives to Olives to TV and beyond. But Brenner, who has been his main chef forever, is a really good cook, as well as being friendly and unassuming. Olives in Charlestown may have lost some of its glitz over the years, but the grilled octopus and squid with lots of garlic, olive oil, and a garbanzo salad is fantastic. And the sweet pea ravioli spectacular.
Almost better is the sense of well-being you get sitting at the bar watching Brenner and his cooks — he knows what he’s doing, and does it very well, night after night– just what you want when you go out to dinner.