Oak Steakhouse opened this past Thursday. Before we even included it in the newsletter, I made sure to grab a reservation for Saturday night. The only available time was 5:30 p.m., which was cool with me because I go to bed early like an old person.
The brains behind Oak Steakhouse is a group named The Indigo Road. In addition to Oak, they own O-Ku Sushi in South End and have plans to open another Italian restaurant in South End in 2018. The group’s strategy is to have a steakhouse, sushi restaurant and Italian restaurant in each market they enter.
“The Charlotte community has been very welcoming to O-Ku Sushi and we look forward to expanding our reach in the local culinary scene with the addition of Oak in SouthPark,” said Steve Palmer, managing partner of The Indigo Road. “We are hopeful that Charlotteans offer it the same warm reception as O-Ku.”
Judging from early crowds, Oak is off to just as hot of a start as O-Ku.
First, let’s talk cocktails.
Here’s what we drank:
- Oak Manhattan ($16) – Woodford Reserve, vermouth, maraschino liqueur, bitters
- Oak Dirrrty Martini ($14) – vodka or gin, fine pickle brine, bitters
- 75 & Sunny ($14) – Bombay sapphire, Domaine de Canton, cucumber simple, cilantro, jalapeno, lime, bitters
- Absinthe Minded ($15) – lucid absinthe, rum, lime juice, orgeat, cilantro
I think of most steakhouses as red wine spots, but don’t sleep on Oak’s cocktails. While expensive, the cocktails were much better than I anticipated. If I had to recommend one, it would be the Oak Dirrrty Martini.
OK, now on to Oak’s appetizers.
We got slightly aggressive and ordered several appetizers.
- Pan Seared Scallops ($17) – pork belly, tomato jam, shaved fennel, watercress, radish
- Pork Ravioli ($14) – lemon zest, herbs, beurre monte
- Oysters Rockefeller ($3.25 each) – Benton’s bacon, parmesan reggiano, hollandaise, spinach, breadcrumbs.
- Tuna Tartare Lettuce Wraps ($17) – rogue farms butter lettuce, preserved lime, sweet sour soy glaze
Both the scallops and the ravioli were outstanding. If I had to recommend one appetizer, it would be the Pork Ravioli. I know, I know, it feels weird to order ravioli from a steakhouse, but trust me.
Entrees and sides
For our entrees, we ordered:
- Debragga of NYC 12oz. Dry Aged C.A.B. NY Strip
- Mixed Grill ($57) – 5oz sliced tenderloin, 7oz sliced NY strip, one double lamb chop, confit fingerling potatoes
Our sides included:
- Three-Cheese Lobster Grits ($17)
- Grilled Asparagus ($13) w/ herb bearnaise
- Truffle Frites ($9) w/ micro parmesan, herbs
- Whipped Potatoes ($8)
- Pork Belly Mac & Cheese ($10) w/ breadcrumbs, herbs
Unless you’re hungry for a big helping of meat, I recommend splitting the Mixed Grill. The Three-Cheese Lobster Grits and Pork Belly Mac & Cheese are must-order sides. Both are rich, but delicious.
You would think I’d be full, but don’t worry, I strategically saved room for dessert.
You’ll be tempted by the Oak Chocolate Cake ($10 chocolate cake w/ chocolate mousse, silky chocolate ganache, fresh fruit) but go with the Creme Brulee Cheesecake ($9 chantilly cream, fresh fruit).