Last Wednesday, Wobbly Olive co-owners Sean and Inez Fitzgerald hosted friends and local writers for an unveiling of their new fall and winter menu. We were lucky enough to snag an invite, and got to enjoy a little taste of autumn before the calendar officially calls it so later this week.
The menu features classic Wobbly Olives dishes, like chicken and waffles, with nuanced upgrades that provide for a more robust, satisfying meal, just in time for the chill. The aforementioned chicken and waffles have evolved past spring’s floral syrup, now showcasing chocolate chunks with a lightly breaded chicken breast and accompanied by Grana Padano cheese shavings and rich, smoky coffee gravy.
The poutine is always a solid starting point. Elsewhere, Wobbly Olive’s new trio of dips is a hearty appetizer, with za’atar grilled flatbread and tortilla chips to scoop up an indulgent truffle garlic hummus; baba ganoush; and Mayan pumpkin seed dip offering a creamy consistency coupled with a nutty, crunch.
In typical cold-weather fashion, Wobbly’s also providing a number of ways to eat your liquids, like a new ramen bowl with smoked rabbit and grilled pork, jalapeño dashi, pickled vegetables, sesame mirin and udon. French onion soup, laden with savory onions, brings golden sherry with a Gruyère crouton softening in the broth.
And though fall just isn’t complete without pumpkin popping up in everything, Wobbly goes beyond pumpkin muffins and spiced lattes and integrates pumpkin into savory dishes, like the pumpkin trash can chili. In an adorable pumpkin bowl, it was surprisingly filling with large, tender bites of lamb and cannellini beans. A pumpkin-beer base and pumpkin seeds on top, with a long, slice of grilled ginger and jalapeño cornbread, round out what could be a full meal in itself.
New small plates feature filling vegetable dishes like roasted-mushroom crêpes, filled with roasted corn, sautéed spinach, basil mascarpone in a red pepper emulsion that makes you forget you’re meatless. For a lighter vegetarian and gluten-free option, the hemp rolls offer Soju sushi rice wrapped around bean sprouts and hemp seeds with a firecracker tamari sauce and a mellow lemongrass wasabi. Elsewhere, a large, stuffed Portobello rocks pork belly to heighten the ‘shroom experience, filled with a composition of colorful veggies in an apple brown-butter vinaigrette.
Since you’re about to pull out sweaters and jackets anyway, what’s holding you back from succumbing to temptation and going big?
In that spirit, dig on entrées like the incredibly flavorful grilled-chicken stuffed with pimento cheese, next to red beans and rice, sautéed brocollini and red-eye gravy. Or the butterfly pork chop on top of sweet potato and apple hash with an oh-so-fall apple-cider gastrique and pecans. An upside-down lamb shepherd’s pie touches on Sean’s Irish roots, but throws in a little lemon zest to make it pop.
Between the apples and pumpkins, the season makes for some serious desserts evoking both sweet and savory. Using spice cake, Wobbly drops an unusually fall-appropriate white chocolate carrot cake with luscious lemon marscarpone icing. An apple tart tatin yields caramelized Granny Smith apples woven together with ginger syrup in supple, puff pastry topped with a scoop of homemade praline ice cream. Or do indulgent pumpkin torte cheesecake with pecan praline and dark chocolate ganache, topped with a candied orange slice.
Wobbly Olive continues to heighten the culinary level of the Powers Boulevard corridor. Its approach to constructing the new menu was simple, and makes for a delicious look ahead at the cooler months. Says Sean: “Our inspiration was to find a balance while spinning pretty traditional fall and winter dishes.”
Tell the aspen groves: The leaves can officially start to turn.
[Images: Bryce Crawford and Dionne Roberts]