In Our Backyard - o lar
For those of you who don’t smoke however, there’s post-insulation pleasure to be had in Piermont at a new restaurant called o lar, a tiny gem of creatively combined Mediterranean, Italian and Spanish food traditions. O lar means hearth or home in the Galician dialect of northwest Spain and partners Miguel Dominguez and James Corona have basically pulled a few tables and chairs around their magnificent mound of a pizza oven, carefully edited the menu, and opened one of the best eating establishments to hit Rockland in years.
But superb flatbread pizzas are just the beginning. (Although, if you gotta have pizza in a place with a pizza oven, don’t pass up the mozzarella, tomato and prosciutto pie piled with peppery fresh arugula. It’s mildly spicy and refreshingly light.) There are also tapas, including a tender grilled Iberian octopus with white bean puree that would slither off the plate if it were any fresher. And the Rioja piquillo peppers with crab and goat cheese are a creamy delight. Greens can be had by way of six nuanced salad combos such as the shaved fennel salad with green apple, walnuts and Manchego (a sheep’s milk cheese), or the salt roasted beet salad with frisee, toastedpistachios, ricotta salata and a feather light dressing of Cava (a sparkling Spanish wine), olive oil and an artful side smear of thick, aged balsamic.
Hearty main dishes include a roasted baby chicken snuggled up in a shallow earthenware pot with fingerling potatoes and pungent with rosemary. The whole thing gets slid into the monster oven and emerges fifteen minutes later, browned and sizzling; makes you feel all cozy before you’ve even tasted it. And the pasta? Well, a dish of lamb shank ragout with gnocchetti made from goat cheese, ricotta, potato, porcini crema and truffle oil was the first time ever that I’ve had gnocchi that weren’t starchy bullets of blandness. These jet-puffed little miracles were the perfect foil for the richness of the braised lamb.
A paella Valencia of clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, scallops, chorizo and saffron rice looked mighty impressive steaming on a neighbor’s table and I need to go back immediately to sample the grilled polenta crostini with mushrooms. Or wait – I could munch on Spanish fries – big crunchy potato chips nestled into a brown bag and then move on to pan-seared Scottish salmon with roasted parsnip and blood orange citronette. But then I’d be too full for the truly mind blowing wild mussels; succulent and smoky with chorizo and wine. Hang on…I need to leave room for a bite of my companion’s rigatoni with sausage, broccoli rabe and roasted fennel, or at least a shot of espresso …
¡Dios Mio! The food at o lar is too delicious to appreciate in just one visit… or two…or three. Fortunately, with it’s intimate “mi casa es su casa” atmosphere, reasonable prices and charmingly personal service, o lar promises to be easy to visit again and again. Just remember – no liquor license or credit cards yet - so bring your wine, a handful of cash, a good appetite and enough patience to wait for a seat at this runaway hit of a restaurant. Or call ahead and place an order for take out. Olé!
587 Piermont Ave
Piermont, NY 10968
Sunday to Thursday 4:00 – 9:00pm, Friday & Saturday 4:00 – 10:30pm, Closed Mondays