The Top 100 List #97: Olivea’s “Head Cheese”


Olivea’s “Head Cheese”

Location: 17th st

Rating: 6 (out of 10)

Price:  ?

The Skinny: Head Cheese, as most probably know or can guess, is not cheese at all.  It is, however, a “Head”.  The head of a Pig, to be exact.  At one point in the dinner, the waiter – knowing my interest in the dish – showed me a picture on his phone of the pig head they were going to cook that evening.  And there it was, all frozen and solid in the freezer, like a mafia goon or a Dahmer victim.  Apparently, they cook the head on down slowly, and remove the skull from the meat, but keep the liquid.  It is this liquid that has all of the fun collagen from the skull that will solidify with the meat once cooled.  The dish arrives to you a solid block, ready for slicing and eating with bread.

Now doesn’t that sound delicious?

In actuality, it is pretty decent.  It tastes like a good salami, which of course it is not.  It’s got a good pepper, meaty flavor that goes well with a cracker or on its own.  Nothing that I’m dying to have again or recommend to friends, mind you, but decent.

PS: I do not get the worship of Olivea.  The owners created a terrific restaurant in Duo, so I had high hopes for Olivea.  Let-down.  Nothing was all that terrific.  Not the famed “Head Cheese”, not the “Duck Meatballs”, not the “Carmel Tart”.  It was all just ok.  Nowhere near TAG, Fruition, or even Duo.


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