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Oak - Providence

Went to Oak Saturday night. Have not been there since they first opened up. Was not in the mood for a big dinner so tried their burger and fries for dinner. Burger was cooked medium rare, just like I ordered. The fries, however, were nasty. They took them out of the fryolator too early, so they were actually not finished in the middle. Believe it or not it took me a few fries before I realized what the problem was. Meanwhile, my wife's meal was pretty good (an asian noodle bowl with scallops. But if you can't even do fries right... ).

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  1. Oak is really bad. I've never heard a good thing about it. See the review I wrote a while ago -- http://www.chowhound.com/topics/162663

    1. Yikes, sounds bad. And, like you, my server was not good. She almost seemed annoyed when I ordered the burger for dinner instead of a high priced entree, and when I told her (admittedly at the end of the meal) that the fries were not cooked in the middle she just gave me a perfunctory "I'll let the kitchen know".

      1. We go there once in a while for brunch----convenient and easy w/our kids, and the breakfast stuff is good.

        But that location is CURSED. The place before it---something Grille? Horrible. Before that, J. Elliott's? Great sandwiches and etc., but horrifically bad service. It's a perfect spot and good, small space inside, but no one can seem to get the concept of good service at that address.

        1. On a rare visit to RI back in '05 we tried brunch at Oak instead of the Modern Diner and it was not good at all. A meal wasted.

          Perhaps the beloved French Pastry Shop -- surely one of the most wonderful establishments I've ever known -- used up all the good juju at this location.

          1. I had a terrible meal at Oak in January. I wrote a review of it on my blog...and suggested that if you are looking for that type of food, go to Blaze East Side. It is my faovrite restaurant in Providence, and does what Oak tries to do very, very well.

            1. I've had good luck there at brunch (just stay away from the eggs benedict) usually when other places have been too crowded, but nothing on their dinner menu has ever been good. There is one waitress there who is horrible. It's like you are in her way. Another waitress, I really like and always remembers me. She waits dinners at 10 Prime too, so I know her from there.

              1. "But that location is CURSED."

                Actually, you're not far off the mark on this statement: a former owner/chef commit suicide in the kitchen about 4 years ago.

                1. I'm 1 for 2 with Oak. I had an unpleasant brunch (with poor, nasty service to boot) but also a very nice dinner, so who's to say?

                  I too vastly prefer Blaze, but I'd recommend people go on their own and draw their own conclusions...

                  - Garris
                  Providence, RI

                  1. Blaze is just so much better all around: better service, more creative menu, better execution, more interesting decor. Doubt I will ever go back to Oak. Seriously. Why would I with Blaze around just down the street, not to mention Pizzico, my beloved Ivy, etc.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jenkins

                      I love the Ivy too. Have probably bumped into you in one of those Hope St. places, heh.

                      Overall, I liked Blaze---I did have the best piece of key lime pie ever in my life there (and I order it a lot). Don't know who does their desserts, but it was memorable. But they only gave us great and friendly service after the mayor got up from his table and kissed/greeted someone I was there with (we were a party of 8---I am not dropping names and don't know him personally) while we waited for them to See If They Could Seat Us (they didn't take reservations for 8). Well, we got seated right quick and everything changed from there, but it was kind of irritating to have that matter. It was a little pretentious and maybe not fitting of Blaze, fer pete's sake. But overall, decent food and great key lime pie.

                    2. you never have to leave hope village to get a great meal! i haven't tried pizzico yet (i have no idea why i havent- but that will change soon), and, i actually had some very good steamed peking ravioli at gourmet house- i was definitely surprised.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tomatosoup

                        I've heard some recent negatives (both from friends and here) about Pizzico---have not been there in months, but I have always liked it a lot.

                      2. just to add my voice to the chorus of oak-bashing, i have been three times--twice for dinner, once for brunch. my first dinner, which was not bad, but kind of underwhelming, was right around the time they opened. the brunch was not so bad either--but i noticed that it was EXACTLY the same brunch menu as downcity diner's old brunch menu (this was about a year ago, maybe it has changed since then), which i thought was kinda weird. the last time i went was AWFUL though. i had this spinach/butternut squash/mushroom lasagna with this terrible, pasty, cottom-mouthy filling and gummy pasta that, on the top sheet, had been baked to tortilla-consistency. my bf had what was billed as lamb shank ravioli and what ended up being a regular old whole braised lamb shank that wasn't very good, covered with a single large sheet of pasta on top of the plate and similarly baked to tortilla-consistency. i'm not really sure what they were trying to do, unless it's some super-authentic style of serving pasta that i don't know about. whatever it was, it was disgusting. the drinks were horrible, sugary, and weak, and everything is overpriced to the hilt considering that we could all probably make much better food and drink at home with (hopefully) much fewer nasty service issues.
                        it's all about ivy tavern, i agree. ivy and red fez are our default locations when we're too stupid at the end of the day to think of where to go and don't have enough money to go to la laiterie.

                        1. You should definitely try Pizzico! I haven't been in awhile--and now that my Providence connection is an "ex" connection, may not be back for awhile longer--but it's truly a gem of a place. Nice, nice waitstaff, great neighborhood feel, and simply wonderful food. I seem to remember a really reasonable and varied wine list too.

                          1. I've been to Oak maybe seven or eight times (hey, it's convenient) and the service and food have both been totally patchy and unpredictable. A few very nice meals with friendly service, a few dreadful ones with jerks. The worst was a brunch where a six-dollar yogurt-and-fruit bowl consisted of a few pieces of rock-hard melon, one mushy grape, a dollop of yogurt, and at least a cup of nasty, watery "juice." Bleah.

                            But this past summer I had some very nice salads and fish dishes there, so who knows. I keep hoping that they'll work it out, but so far it doesn't seem like it.