Celebrated downtown lunch favorite Olio Market has recently added dinner service on Friday and Saturday nights. We decided we’d stop in this week to find out whether dinner service measures up to their delicious lunch offerings. When we arrived we realized there was good news and there was bad news. The good news is Olio’s dinner menu offers gourmet foods at very good prices. The bad news is Olio’s dinner menu is basically their lunch menu with 3 dinner dishes added so ultimately you’re paying lunch prices and getting lunch portions and that’s why it’s affordable. Think of it as eating tapas. They seem to run around $8-$10 per plate.
The corn soup is a bit different than you might expect. Normally when you get a corn soup you find kernels of corn in it. This might be looked at more as a cream of corn style soup with bits of duck in it. The pieces of duck were tough and a bit hard to chew. This soup was a swing and a miss. I’m told soups at Olio are normally pretty good so I would definitely take another shot at one of their soups. After the corn soup, we dug into the least healthy and also most delicious of our food choices bacon cheese fries. The cheese was wonderfully rich and creamy. The bacon tasted fresh and high quality. If you don’t love these we can’t go to dinner together!
The meatloaf was soft and moist but really lacked flavor. The meat was bland and boring. It needed flavor or spice or something. This dish is so boring I could fall asleep eating it. This comes plated with shells and cheese plus green beans. The green beans were well seasoned and cooked al dente. They are actually some of the best we’ve had in town. I’m sure this will make most of our readers laugh, but I’d go back just for the green beans. Loved them!
We also tried the duck grilled cheese (gruyere, white American, duck confit, green tomato) which is the sandwich that’s made Olio one of downtown Jacksonville’s most celebrated lunch spots and got Olio featured on the travel channel’s search for “The Best Sandwich in America.” This sandwich is flat out awesome! In this sandwich, tender duck meets buttery bread meets wonderful cheese. The piece for me that made the sandwich was the green tomato in the middle. The tomato added a bit of tartness which provided a canvas which all the other flavors sat atop.
The couple of folks I was dining with both had sandwiches (unfortunately I can’t recall which ones) and raved about how good they were. Overall, we’d recommend Olio to grab a sandwich for lunch downtown. Sandwiches are where Olio really shines. If you’re headed out to dinner and looking for something more substantial you may want to head somewhere else.