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Oak Dallas

I've been interested in going for a while now, but can't figure out whether it is actually good or not.
The yelp reviews is a mix of highs and lows. Mostly the lows are in the service.

So to those of you who've been there, how is:
- the food?
- the service?
- the price? (lunch and dinner)

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  1. Food - excellent
    Price for dinner - on the high end
    Cocktails - awesome
    Service - great
    Patio in September - totally worth it.

    I loved it.

    1. I want to know what dishes everyone is going for.

      I know the food is good but what did you have?? Were there any let downs? Some dish/component of a dish that you wish there were more of?

      2 Replies
      1. re: LewisvilleHounder

        I 2nd this.

        Plus, how difficult it is to get a table/reservation?
        Anyone tried lunch or brunch?

        1. re: zeruel13

          The best thing I've eaten at Oak was the Moroccan Octopus & Pork Jowls. It's a really nice dish. The second time I had it the octopus was strangely fishy tasting - something that I've never experienced with octopus. It wasn't particularly pleasant, but didn't ruin the dish. I honestly can't recall what else I've eaten there for dinner.

          I had a light lunch there once, and thought it was a total ripoff. Two of us ate the Hanger Steak Salad - thoroughly unimpressive. The steak was tough - which means that it wasn't and not nearly as flavorful as you'd expect from that cut. Yellow Fin Tuna Nicoise was nice... but in the end I didn't feel that anything justified the price.

          It's a good restaurant - I've generally enjoyed my meals there. But I always leave feeling like it falls somewhat short of the hype.

      2. I loved the octopus and pork jowl dish as well! I also loved the dessert, although I'm having trouble remembering the exact components. Sorry I'm not more helpful with specific dishes, but in general, I believe it's worth the visit!

        1. I went to Oak last night and had a handful of dishes. Here are my thoughts:

          Ligurian Caesare - This was good, actually very good, but not interesting. A great way to start a meal and nearly every part of the caesar was delicious but the mint was not very detectable and it felt like a classic caesar perfectly executed.

          Composition of Root Vegetables - This dish was phenomenal. The plate is a work of art, the beets and turnips were amazing. There's also a carrot terrine with a horseradish creme fraiche which was very cool but no as delicious.

          Beef Tartar - This was delicious and a huge portion, though I found it a tad to salty. It did have a nice citrusy punch from the yuzu.

          Sweet Potato Risotto - So it's actual risotto with some sort of sweet potato puree whipped in resulting in a bowl of orange porridge with rice mixed in. Unbelievable, I highly recommend this one. Tastes like you would expect, and if you read the description and don't expect awesome, then I don't know what to say.

          Octopus and Pork Jowel - Phenomenal

          Veal Schnitzel - Also awesome, though not entirely exciting.

          Charcuterie - The pork rillete was amazing. Who can complain about a torchon of foie, it was great. The other item, which I can't remember, was also good.

          Kobe Cheek - It's a huge portion with 3 large pieces of cheek. The meat is so rich that one piece would be enough. I felt that it didn't have much of a beef flavor as it tasted like anything stewed in red wine. The meat is unbelievably tender, and my two dining companions thought it was incredible. It also came with a spaetzle that i thought was far superior to the one served as a side.

          NY Strip - a huge 10 oz portion, expertly cooked. I think they must use a sous vide for it because it was truly med rare (one one and medium on the other) from end to end with a good char on the outside.

          Brussel Sprouts - by far the best side we had. they were delicious.

          Pomme Sarladaise - for such a fancy name there was truly nothing special about these potatoes. sliced thin and fried with undetectable peppers and other ingredients intermittently put in.

          Spaetzle - I thought this spaetzle had too much cheese making it worse than the one that came with the cheek. Still very good though but worse than spaetzle you would get at a german restaurant (bavarian grill specifically comes to mind).

          Gianduja Chocolate Panna Cotta - Delicious and served on top of a blondie. The ice cream was also great.

          Polenta Financier - Phenomenal. Roasted corn icre cream went great with it as did the crunchy popcorn pieces.

          My overall take is that it was very good. We over ordered but I would say the price should fall around $80-$90/person before drinks and for a large meal. I would recommend getting one of each course and then maybe a side or two to split amongst 4 people. I don't know that it deserves hype as one of the best new restaurants in the country but it was delicious. Only a couple dishes were truly mind-blowing, and those were mostly in the appetizer section.

          Lastly, i've read other concerns regarding the portion size. Nearly everything was a larger portion than i expected. But if you go into a restaurant like that and think that just ordering a main will be enough, you will be disappointed.

          5 Replies
            1. re: demigodh

              Oak was overall good for us, but not all dishes were hits.

              We only ordered appetizers since they all sounded better than the main courses to us.Octopus and Pork Jowls were very good as everyone says. I really liked their version of gazpacho w/ jonah crab - they had some molecular fun with it. Veal Schnitzel was fine but a bit boring to us. The menu changes frequently, so most of what we had is no longer offered. Appetizers look beautiful but are small and probably not really meant to be shared.

              Brussel Sprouts and Spaetzle were so salty we couldn't eat them.

              The Financier I had was good, but the Gianduja Chocolate Panna Cotta was amazing.

              Cocktails are excellent. We ordered 5 drinks total and really liked them all.

              Overall, we most enjoyed the drinks and desserts, so we've gone back for just that. Gavlist summed up our feelings too - the hype is so high that we really expected to be blown away by everything.

              1. re: Webra1

                Thanks for all the reports, definitely sounds worth trying :)

                I don't know if I just haven't been to the right restaurant yet, but I have never been blown away by everything. I consider being blown away by one thing a success :)

                1. re: foiegras

                  I agree completely, especially in Dallas. There are few to no restaurants in DFW that deliver a decent ratio of mind-blowing dishes. Most stay in the good to very good range and maybe offer 1 thing that is other worldly.

                  In NY, i had more experiences where maybe 70% of the courses (out of anywhere from 6-20) were good to great and the other 30% were truly exceptional. In Dallas, haven't found anything close to that, at least not for my exceptionally unreasonable expectations.

                  The main exception I've had in Dallas, so far, is Teppo. The three or four times i've been, nearly everything was unbelievably good.

                  1. re: demigodh

                    how hard is it to get reservation?

            2. We had dinner at Oak last night. I would give it a mixed review. I think the dining room is beautiful and has a great ambience. The first strike was when my husband asked the difference between 1 pinots on the menu and the response was one is from California, the other from Oregon. We could figure out that much ourself from reading the menu. The first course I had was the sweet potato risotto. The dish was good, although the sweet potato flavor didn't really come through. The homemade cinnamon marshmallow was a nice touch. My husband had the octopus and pork jowl. It was very good. The pork was definitely the standout of the dish. My husband had the pork chop for his entree. The dish was good but not terribly exciting or noteworthy. I had the snapper with bouillabaisse. The dish was overwhelmed by the flavor of the celery and it bordered on almost too salty to eat. We shared the chocolate panna cotta with citron icecream for dessert and it was the standout of the evening.

              2 Replies
              1. re: foodie06

                Don't know if this is related to your issues with the wine, but I looked at the wine list when the place opened and was underwhelmed. Looks like an afterthought. Oddly, the list on the website also has no prices??!!


                1. re: Mike C. Miller

                  Its not the greatest wine list. I was o.k. with the selections but I think the servers need to have some idea about the wine or they should have someone there that is and bring them in when needed. I think that kind of of service is expected at that price point.

              2. I had lunch there on Friday and was fortunate to visit with Jason Maddy. Always very accomodating with his time.

                Sat across from Laura Bush and and Laura Miller.

                It's sad that Oak is cancelling lunch service. I see this more and more in Dallas. Does anybody go out for a proper lunch anymore or do most people do the face-in-a-sandwich-at-a-desk routine?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Scagnetti

                  I had dinner there last night thanks to this thread. Overall, an excellent experience especially for somewhere in Dallas. The entire restaurant was packed at 8:00 pm on a Tuesday night.

                  We opened with the appetizer special of live scallop served with it's own roe, truffled celery, some sort of citrus droppings. Very tasty

                  The caesar salad was nice but nothing special

                  Morrocan Octopus and Pork Jowl-tasty, however a little too smoky and the octopus was a tad overcooked for my taste, the pork could have been a tad more cooked for the crispness

                  Schnitzel-lightly breaded, perfectly cooked

                  Braised lamb shank with kubocha sqaush puree-the squash puree was to die for (I could have eaten a bowl of it), lamb shank had good flavor but I would have liked it more moist (it's braised for goodness sake).

                  The pork chop was the best pork chop I've tasted hands down.


                  The peanut butter cheesecake was served with a flambeed banana. Absolutely stunning

                  Gianduja Chocolate Panna Cotta-absolutely stunning also

                  Assorted ice creams (Patron flavored ice cream, roasted corn, cinnamon)-nice

                  Overall the food was excellent maybe except for getting the doneness right and also somewhat heavy handed on the butter and amount of fat used

                  Service could use much improvement

                2. I ate at Oak last night, and it was very, very good.

                  The waiter was very personable, and somehow he was able to predict exactly what dishes we were going to order. Maybe it was just that his descriptions of the food were so good we couldn't *not* order the food after he described it.

                  I had the Octopus and Pork Jowl, and it was amazing. Without question the best preparation of pork I've ever had. Perfectly crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth tender on the inside. The apples and cilantro worked very well with the dish as well. The pork was so good I'm still thinking about it, trying to discover a recipe that allows me to come as close to approximating that texture as I can. I suspect it might have been confit. My *only* issue with the dish was that after eating the octopus and drinking from my glass of water, the water began to get an unpleasant fishy taste to it. I had the glass replaced during my entree without any trouble.
                  My parents both had the Ligurian Caesar, which was very tasty. I don't recall getting a ton of mint flavor, but the presentation was beautiful and the flavor was excellent.

                  For the main course, my step-mother got the Strozapretti with Dandelion pesto. She thought the pasta was a bit dense at first but got used to it later. I tasted it and thought it was very good, and didn't think the pasta was dense at all. Perhaps she's not familiar with that style of pasta.
                  I had the Duck breast with puy lentils and burgundy foie gras sauce, which was very good, the brussels sprouts served with it (not as a side) were some of the best I've had. The dish was very filling, and perhaps a bit more than I would have liked, but it was very tasty. The sauce had this great molasses quality to it. My only problem with this dish was that the flavors got a bit boring after a while.
                  My Dad had the lamb shank with kabocha and merguez. He loved it, although his New England Palate would have appreciated a warning about the spiciness of the dish. The merguez were made in-house and were really incredible. I thought the lamb was a bit dry, but my Dad didn't have any problem with it.
                  We ordered pommes sarledaise as a side dish and while it was very tasty, none of us needed more food! I brought it home and will eat it for breakfast the next few days.

                  For dessert, I ordered the Roasted Banana panna cotta with gianduja gelato, salted caramel, and kumquat marmalade. They didn't have the gianduja panna cotta on the menu, otherwise I would have gone for that.
                  The Banana panna cotta was amazing. My parents asked only for a side order of two spoons, but I didn't let them use them too much. The caramel and marmalade were perfect accompaniments with the banana flavor, as was the gelato. The gelato was the thickest and creamiest I've ever had, and the flavor was great.

                  Our final bill with drinks and all was 210, the tip brought it up to 250. My parents loved their drinks, but as I'm only 20 I cannot report to y'all the quality of them.
                  We sat in the covered patio, and the glare from the sunset was annoying for a while, they don't yet have shades set up. The place was very empty for our 6pm reservation, but filled up more by the time we left, which was before 8pm, the service was very fast.
                  As an added bonus, the Valet saw us leaving through the window and had our car out front by the time we walked out the door, which earned him a nice tip.
                  Oak is without question among the best few restaurants in Dallas, we had gone to Al Biernat's the night before and while we were blown away by their steaks, we appreciated having a more complete meal at Oak. While the entree was a bit disappointing, that was only because the appetizer and dessert were so absolutely incredible. I would have ordered the octopus and pork jowls 3 times over in lieu of getting an appetizer and an entree if I could. I'm still thinking about it. If anyone has a better idea than confit on how they prepared that pork jowl, let me know. I have to try to replicate it.