Farrah Olivia by Morou: Restaurant Review

This post is a little while coming but I have finally managed to steal some time to get it done. So I was to taken to FarrahOlivia as part of my birthday and I was not disappointed. I had wanted to get there since I heard Chef Mourou Ouattara mention it when he was on “The Next Iron Chef”.

chef-morou

So we had reservations for 8 p.m. on Saturday night, a rather bone chilling one in Northern Virginia I might add. As you walk into FarrahOlivia you automatically feel a sense of intimacy and calm. We walked up to the hostess, confirmed our reservation, hung up our coats and were promptly led to our tables. The interior of the restaurant is cozy and crisp and contained no more than what I would estimate to be about 20 tables. As you are sitting there and you hear the conversation going on around you, you quickly understand this is an event and there are some serious foodies in the room. You look around and there are pictures of his daughters lining the walls. But anyway enough about the atmosphere you want to know about the food.

By a stroke of luck my birthday fell during Restaurant Week so we got a great price and some great selection. I decided to use the RW menu and have a wine pairing for each course which was only $15 extra. I have to say that I was a little disappointed that they had just recently taken orange braised pork bellies off the menu, I had heard the were delicious. To start out we were served this little puppies, not sure what was in them there were hints of cinnamon, but they were exquisite.

So for my first course I opened with a grit cake with a black corn puree over braised red cabbage with a little hint of what I determined to be turmeric. The grit cake was rolled into a tasty batter and then deep fried, though it was not greasy at all. The smoothness of the grits against the crunchiness of the crust on the outside was a perfect match. When combined with the sweet braised red cabbage, an unusual combination I thought, it was absolutely delicious.

After we had gotten though that then came the main entrée, venison with a raspberry sauce and mushroom salad. Now some people don’t like the gameyness of venison but I was interested to see what he would do with it so I gave it a try. The raspberry sauce actually was a perfect accompaniment to the venison, a beautiful way to cut through the gameness. While at this point I thought this was a good dish, I didn’t think it was great until…. well until I had the wine that was paired with it, a nice Cabernet called Twenty Rose. When you put the venison which was perfectly cooked, the raspberry sauce, and the wine together in your mouth you will be overwhelmed by the complexity of the flavor combinations. What a treat.

kora-restaurant

Farrah Olivia lives again inside Kora.

Finally came desert. I had the citrus cheesecake which I must admit was nothing to write home about but hey Morou isn’t a baker he is a chef and the food was delicious. You will notice that he changes the menu depending on what is the freshest and most available so make sure that you check to make sure the dish you are wanting is on the menu or at least be aware that what you see on the website does change often, the venison I had for instance is not even on the menu now.

Before going to FarrahOliva’s I had heard a lot of bad rumors about the service but with the exception of the timing between the main entrée and the desert which was much too long the service was friendly and quick. Overall, I would recommend anyone I know to go and experience the culinary mastery that is Morou’s FarrahOliva.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Farrah Olivia by Morou
600 Franklin Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Update: Chef Morou has since closed this location. However, in December of 2010, Farrah Olivia was reborn in an innovative combination in Crystal City with this other restaurant Kora. Read about it here. Trust me its still worth going.

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