1628 Oak Lawn Avenue
Dallas, TX 75207
Jason Maddy is the Executive Chef at Oak and I recently read that he is one of the 2013 James Beard Award Semifinalists!! Congrats to him! It's a very prestigious title to receive in the food industry. It maked me even more excited to be there.
It's located in the Design District. An area in Dallas I don't frequent much but would like to... There's some cool places there! One thing I really liked was that they had a pretty big parking lot. hehe. It's always frustrating to try and find parking downtown.
Walking around the building... I really liked the architecture of the building. They had big open windows and made the place look very welcoming. Upon entering, we were warmly greeted by the host. I was immediately impressed by the place. The decor was awesome. It was classy, sophisticated, yet warm and welcoming. The furniture was eclectic but yet everything fit together beautifully. We got a nice big booth for just the 2 of us. It was very comfortable and well lit! I don't like it when it's so dark for "mood lighting" that you can't even see your food!!
Our waiter was very nice and took our drink orders. We each got a cocktail. Designer's Touch (veev, strawberry, basil, sesame oil) on the left. The Antoinette (tito's vodka, prosecco, cointreau, blackberry puree, lemon) on the right.
We each tried both of them. He liked The Antoinette and I liked Designer's Touch better! Haha! It all works out. :P If you like blackberries you would like The Antoinette. But I particularly liked Designer's Touch because of how interesting it is. It has sesame oil in it!! I could smell and taste the sesame oil which was super fragrant, but totally works with the strawberry and basil. Definitely surprised me a little. It had a hint of savory, but with the sugar rimmed glass was still a sweet drink. The flavors all worked and balanced together. YUM!
We were given their Winter 2013 menu. If you look at their website, some of the items have changed on the current menu. Everything sounded awesome.
After we ordered we were given some bread. Raisin Bread and French? bread with cinnamon butter. Both were great with the cinnamon butter. So far so good!
I already knew one of the appetizers I wanted to get. Moroccan Octopus & Pork Jowls (aji panca, radish, cilantro) $16~
Anything with crispy pork is good by me! The plate was beautifully presented. It was so colorful and clean and delicate. It was AMAZING!!!! The pork had just the right amount of fat and crisped to perfection. The octopus had great texture, although the pieces were quite small. There were also small dices of apple with the cilantro oil which added a light sweetness. The entire dish had so many complex flavors and everything worked together so well. I wanted 2 more plates of this! Did NOT disappoint! I'd say it rivals the octopus and pork belly dish at Spoon. Although the octopus at Spoon was better and the pork at Oak was better. hehe.
Kabocha Squash Ravioli (winter squash, fennel pollen, sage butter) $15~
I absolutely love Kabocha squash. It almost reminds me of pumpkin. When the plate came we were a little disappointed in the portion size. There were only 4 small pieces of ravioli... Although presented beautifully as well. Again, very delicate and clean. Soooooo good! I really wish there was more! The pasta on the ravioli was cooked perfectly al dente. You get the sweetness of the kabocha filling with the creaminess of the sage butter. All the additional elements just made each bite better. It's really just too small! haha. I need MORE!!
Scottish Salmon (rapini, hedgehog mushrooms, sauce choron) $29~
For the entree we shared the salmon. The waiter offered to have the dish split for us with no charge. The half size (shown in the picture) was so cute and small. haha. Very nicely presented on the plate. I liked how they offered to split it and was still beautifully presented. The salmon had a great crispy skin on it. It was a tad overcooked for me since I like my salmon a bit pink in the middle but it was still really good. Underneath the salmon there were actually small dices of radish (I think) and smoked salmon along with the rapini. I had to google this.. Sauce Choron is basically a variation of Bearnaise with the addition of tomato paste, hence the orangey color. It was perfect with the salmon and mushrooms. The plate was like a work of art, as was the other dishes we've had so far. This is one of the reasons why I started taking pictures of food years ago. I love seeing food presentation. It's an artform on it's own. :)
Brussels Sprouts (panko bread crunch, garlic) $7~
As you know, I'm obsessed with brussels sprouts... one of my favorite vegetables in the past few years. I had to get this. And it was definitely the right choice. It was sooo good. I can just get 2 orders of this alone and have it for my meal! It was nicely charred and had so much flavor and texture from the garlic and panko topping. My bf said it might even be better than the appetizers we had earlier!
We cleaned every single one of our plates. And surprisingly, we were quite full! Initially seeing the portion sizes, we were worried there wasn't enough food, but turned out to be perfect. But of course, I had to see the dessert menu. hahaha. I've waited too long to come here without having a complete meal experience!!
Peanut Butter Cheesecake (chocolate, banana, macaron) $8~
We shared this. Surprisinly the portion of the dessert was pretty decent! haha. It was so pretty once again. I've been impressed with all the presentation during this meal. The cheesecake was creamy and peanut buttery. The base of it was almost like a chocolate brownie. I loved the crunch of the tuile that surrounded the cheesecake. The bruleed banana had a nice crunchy sugar shell. There was also a banana puree under the macaron and bruleed banana. The macaron was chocolate with peanut butter filling. It was amazing. But we didn't force ourselves to finish it. We took half of it to go (which made a nice late night snack later!!)
This has been an awesome experience. I had high hopes for this place and it blew it out of the water. From the decor to ambiance to food to service, everything was spot on! Our waiter was great. He was friendly and attentive enough without being intrusive. He joked with us but didn't get too chummy. Everything was presented in a timely manner and explained. It's been one of the best meals I've had in Dallas in a while. I think the last time I had a great meal like this was Chef John Tesar's Spoon. And I prefer the ambiance at Oak more. But the food at both places are spectacular. I'm so glad I got to go. It had been a great day and couldn't have been a better ending. I look forward to going back to Oak in the future. I definitely recommend it for foodies and special occasions. I'm still drooling as I'm writing about all the food!! :D
Quality of Food:
~~ CHOMP CHOMP ~~