When news of a seasonal change of the noon-time menu at Oak was announced we didn’t waste much time paying the restaurant a visit. The gem of the Design District, Oak stays busy day and night. Reservations are a premium in the evening and tables during the day stay filled with happy guests sampling the fare of Executive Chef Jason Maddy.
The refinement of the cuisine at Oak along with the beautiful atmosphere and enchanting cocktails creates the perfect recipe for success.
We started our luncheon with a shared appetizer consisting of baked French chevre that was accompanied by a red lentil dip similar to hummus, but with much more flair and flavor. There was certainly enough going on with this dish that you could easily share with a group of four.
Since it was well over 100 degrees outside we cooled off with a few well-chosen cocktails. Barman Abraham Bedell just came back from New Orleans where he participated in the Dallas extravaganza at Tales of the Cocktail where he served up one of his cooling bar favorites, the Barbados Breeze. This is a frozen blend of Mount Gay rum, basil, coconut sorbet, ginger and lime.
Blenders behind the bar of a craft cocktailist is nearly unheard of, but Bedell enjoys the creating the unexpected.
Our table went into a frenzied mode as we selected several of the new lunch items. At first glance the grilled pork tenderloin sounded heavy, but the dish is served with an apricot and fig chutney along with a flavorful cous cous and was surprisingly light. The pork simply melted with each bite. This was actually our favorite of the dishes we sampled.
The quiche was more like a light custard loaded with Vidalia onions, spinach and bacon. The crust was certainly a stand out.
Chef Maddy said, “The new menu is representative of the seasons and availability from our purveyors and small farms. This will allow us to change it more often so that regulars and new diners alike can constantly taste new and fresh dishes.”
Also representing the seasons perfectly is pastry chef Sarah Green. Green creates the most interesting desserts that actually sell at an alarming rate. We sampled the Polenta Financier, which is actually a tea cake made with almonds. The dessert was served with a caramel corn ice cream and plenty of blueberries. The blueberry is a super food, which is how we convinced ourselves it was healthy for us to order. Licking the plate was just embarrassing, but you will understand once you try the pastry.
Oak has a fantastic mid-day repast that should not be missed.