A Visit To Oak For Lunch

by Steven Doyle

Mid-December we checked out the just opened Oak  in the Dallas Design District, and we have been back several times since and enjoyed dinner and on separate occasions fantastic cocktails. It has fast become the hottest ticket in town where reservations are definitely required if you are not interested in dining before six or after ten.    

Why all the buzz? Well, it’s a beautiful new restaurant in a fantastic location. However the crew at Oak is a great assemblage of local talent including the exec chef Jason Maddy, sous chef, Brian Zenner and pastry chef Sarah Green. Also, the design team of Royce Ring and Alex Urrunaga of Plan B who did the recent Bolsa Mercado, the Candle Room, Whiskey Cake and Cedars Social went all out.

The restaurant is introducing other features to the menu as they progress and last week announced the addition of a luncheon menu. We had a chance to stop in for a visit yesterday and was quite pleased with what we found. The menu slices off some of the dinner menu; items which made the most sense like the house-made pastas. Then added a fleet of sandwiches.

Expense-wise, it ranks with other local fine dining restaurants serving lunches, like Stephan Pyles or Craft, with appetizers starting at $6 and most other items starting at $13.

For $13 we tried the burger which was cooked perfectly medium rare on an insanely good grilled ciabatta and horseradish pickles. The burger included a side of very light and crisp sweet potato chips. We had enjoyed the Brussels sprouts in the past so made sure those hit the table. The roasted sprouts are now our favorite in Dallas (always looking for challengers in this category) and made with “panko bread crunch” and minced garlic.

We started the meal off with a few well chosen appetizers including Oak’s cannellini hummus which comes with sides of feta, a kalamata olive spread and chopped piquillo peppers. We also ordered up the Foie Gras Torchon served with candied kumquat, black pepper gastrique. Never a miss at any meal.

There were plenty of salad options, and the table struggled with ordering a few of these including the Yellow Fin Tuna Niçoise with quail egg, haricot vert, kalamata olive and tonnato. We will be back very soon to order from that side of the menu.

Ordering from the sandwiches and main courses presented a bit of a challenge. Everything sounded so good. There was a lamb bacon BLT that was screaming its name to us, but we went for that burger, a chicken baguette, veal schnitzel with a side of spaetzle and pasta Bolognese. All perfectly fine selections since there really isn’t a wrong choice at Oak.

We could not leave Oak without trying at least one of the desserts made by Sarah Green. Chef Green told us that she has been selling out of her desserts almost every night, and said that she had never seen a crowd order so many. This one is a Lemon Bar Cheesecake with sour cherry, almond shortbread and a grapefruit macaron. This is why she sells so many desserts.

There is talk of an upcoming addition of brunch to the Oak line-up and look forward to that.

For those working around the Design District, Oak is a great lunch option. There were also many of the “ladies that lunch” type filling up the room. It is easy to see why.

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Filed under chefs, Crave, Dallas, Design District, Food Porn Alert, Steven Doyle, Wine

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