OlaRight around the corner from the day job's midtown office is Ola on East 48th Street and 2nd Avenue. Ola is the latest restaurant from peripatetic Douglas Rodriguez, formerly of Patria and Chicama. Even though William Grimes' review was okay (one star), Gothamist was curious about the infamous mystery meatballs and killer dates [insert joke here about "dates from hell" but never "killer dates"].

Clockwise from left:  Mystery meatballs, killer dates, and fluke & octopus ceviche

Gothamist ordered the mystery meatballs and killer dates, as well as the octopus ceviche. The mystery meatballs, made from Kobe beef (are you reading, Josh?), were quite delicious, and the killer dates did kill - an almond stuffed sweet date wrapped in succulent bacon and the endive lightened the richness considerably.

Mmm...bacon-stuffed dates, perhaps our favorite tapas. Finally, a fluke and octopus ceviche on sweet-potato - not our first choice, as they ran out of the rainbow ceviche, but good.

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For entrees, there were the sea scallops with mushroom croquettes and spinach (extremely filling, perhaps too heavy though tasty) and the beef salad (spicy with a tart shallot vinagrette). Passed on dessert - too full.

Net net: Food's a bit heavy, the decor's kind of a drag, but the appetizers are very good. Sof we go back again, we'll just be hitting the appetizers and drinks.

Gothamsit, well, Jen and Tania, have had beef with Douglas Rodriguez ever since the Chicama incident of 2002 (being unceremoniously booted out because Douglas wanted the bar space for his friends and the girls fought back by writing a truthful essay on the "Tell us what you think" response card; the maitre d' cried.). And Jen and Tania didn't want to be bitter - the tapioca pudding at Chicama is to die for.