photo credit: Richard Casteel
If you’ve only heard one thing about Olamaie, it probably has something to do with the biscuits—a not-very-well-kept secret menu item from the first few years Olamaie was in business. These days the biscuits are readily available on the menu, and they’re every bit as good as you might guess—warm, flaky, and probably made with more butter than we’re comfortable imagining. And they’re just the start to what will probably be one of the most impressive hours you’ve had in a while, packed full of modern and fine dining takes on Southern comfort food.
Just north of the Capitol, Olamaie looks a little bit like it was plucked off the cover of Southern Living magazine. The renovated 1930s bungalow is complete with well-manicured hedges, white wood paneling, and a cute patio where you can sit and sip on sweet tea from a mason jar while chatting about the weather. Parts of it feel frozen in time, but the dining room is decidedly more modern.
Start with a round of buttery biscuits and let them whisper soft, sweet nothings directly into your arteries while you mull over the menu. If you’ve spent time in the South, you’ll see familiar sounding dishes like butter beans and red rice with Gulf shrimp. But you’ll also see things like smoked beef belly with a Poirier's cane syrup glaze, or Hopi blue corn hushpuppies with caramelized onion dip and trout roe, that all feel like Southern classics that are dressed up a little and made more modern. Look to your left to see a perfectly cooked piece of blackened fish over a bed of decadent blue crab rice, while to your right, another plate holds a heaping pile of savory beef tartare on a creamy spread of sous vide egg yolks. The pork chop—brined, thick-cut, and coated in a sweet, strawberry black pepper glaze that chars up nicely—is among the best we’ve ever had.
The cocktail menu is mostly named after old classic films and albums. Drinks lean towards lighter and more refreshing flavors—with ingredients like cherry tomato-infused vermouth or salted grapefruit cordial—that all further contribute to Olamaie’s old school-meets-new school approach.
A dinner at Olamaie is more than just excellent food and cocktails. It’s an all around comforting experience, with service that feels inspired by the tenets of Southern hospitality—warmth, kindness, and good cooking—all wrapped up in a fine dining package. It won’t be long until you’re the one telling your own stories about biscuits to anyone who will listen.
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They’re fluffy, rich, and incredibly buttery—these might be the best biscuits we’ve ever had. And they’re served with a side of honey butter that adds a great sweetness to it all. We could make an entire meal out of these.
Jefferson Red Rice with Gulf Shrimp
The shrimp are large and tender, but the rice is the star of the show here. It’s rich and savory with great texture in every bite, and just a bit of vinegar-y spice from the Tabasco. And the house crackers that accompany it all taste like little buttery cracker versions of the biscuits—a great transition when you’re not quite ready to move on from that first course.
This is one of those times where Olamaie does a modern riff on a classic. The beef tartare is as savory as you’d expect, but with a bit of apple and mustard seed for some tart sweetness that balances it all out. And instead of an egg yolk, there’s a sous vide yolk sauce on the bottom that you’ll want to wipe clean with a biscuit at the end.
Grilled Pork Chop
We’ve had dreams about this pork chop. It’s thick cut, brined, and glazed—as a result, every bite is sweet, salty, and incredibly juicy. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself instinctively reaching for the bone at the end to scrape off any last lingering bits.
Blackened Dayboat Fish
The fish changes from the time to time, but what you can expect is a perfectly cooked filet over a mountain of Carolina Gold rice with blue crab sauce. It’s rich, decadent seafood on seafood, and it’s absolutely worth ordering.
An incredibly dense flan that lacks some of the custard-texture we’ve come to expect. But what it lacks in fluffiness, it makes up for in deep, rich flavor. We’ve had some desserts here in the past that we liked a bit more, but this still manages to end the meal on a high note.