Frankly, I really enjoy Ollie’s. Yes, they have orange beef and sweet and sour chicken, but they also have a bunch of noodle soups, roasted meats, and even some attempts at Sichuan.
Recently, I’ve sampled some new plates at the Broadway and 116th location, and here are my findings:
Above are roasted meats, specifically the roast pork and roast chicken. The latter was a tad dry and not immensely flavorful, although the skin was more enjoyable. The roast pork was pretty good, and pretty close to what you'd find in most Chinatown roasted meat parlors. No, not a model specimen, but fairly tender and flavorful, tasting of soy, vinegar and sugar. I asked for a side of hot sauce, which was a straight-up chili paste without any garlic, soy sauce, etc. It wasn't extremely spicy or flavorful, but helped out with the rice. $8.75 was the price, so a bit more than would be charged down on Canal, but cheapish for Morningside Heights.
Before you lies the grilled pork, Sichuan style. The pork seemed fried as opposed to grilled, but it was chewy and flavorful. Leeks were in full force, and black beans were also prominent, adding their slightly sour touch. The dish was mildly spicy, and I am fairly certain no Sichuan peppercorns were used. It was a fine dish for a clean, neighborhood, upstanding Chinese place like Ollie's. Indeed, Ollie's is the type of place that is run efficiently and screams Chinese-American, yet one must applaud them for some of their more "mainland" entrees. Even various parts of pig digestive tract are available, although I shall not be trying those anytime soon.