Oak and Rye Pizza in Los Gatos
Things are looking up for wood-fired pizza in the South Bay. Angelo Womack who helped put Brooklyn's Roberta's on the map has joined forces with ex-James Randall exec chef, Ross Hanson to open Oak and Rye Pizza in Los Gatos. The crust in Serious Eats piece looks fantastic.
Who's tried it?
Oak & Rye
303 N. Santa Cruz Ave.
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Tried it out recently and really liked the pizza there. Got the Margherita and Young Cheezy - the latter had a bit too much black pepper for my liking but other than that loved both of them. Perfect crust and not soggy at all in the middle.
Bit of a wait though, as they don't take reservations for non-large parties.
Two weeks ago after picking up my mom from my brother’s, we stopped in Los Gatos for an early bite before driving her back to Salinas. We walked up just as the doors were opening at 5pm for the start of service, and there were more than a dozen people including tots in strollers who had been waiting ahead of us. The dining area has two sections, one near the bar and the other by the wood-burning pizza oven. I asked for a table near the oven (to be warmer!), and this turned out to be the less noisy section as well. Within 45 minutes the place was full and more people were waiting for tables. On the way out, I asked the hostess if it was always this busy, and she nodded “yes, almost every day”.
We started with the shaved pecorino and Brussels sprout salad, $7. Our waiter said this was the most popular item on the menu. Fresh Brussels sprouts shaved to thread-like filaments were tossed with a lemony dressing and topped with pecorino cheese floss. The flavor of the sprouts was on the strong side, but we enjoyed this.
Mom noticed the housemade potato chips at the neighboring table, so we ordered those too. Excellent decision . . . the thin, greaseless chips have a delicate snap. They’re delicious with the sweet caramelized onion dip.
We shared a Scottie 2 Hottie pizza, $15. Topped with tomato, basil, mozzarella, sopressata, honey, and pepperoncini oil, this was my second experience with a honey-accented spicy pizza combination (also at Vesta), and I’ve decided it’s not my thing. The pie had a heavier hand with the tomato sauce than I expected though it was not wet in the middle.
The crust offered more gluten backbone and chew than Neapolitan style but was slightly over-fired and too tough and dry around the edges. Nicely spotted on top, the good-tasting crust was evenly charred on the bottom too but not burnt. Though not perfect, still better than 90% of the wood-fired pizzas out there.
No cocktail for me either this round, as I had a drive ahead of me. Though my pizza choice did not rock me, the components and the execution were solid. I’d certainly return here to try more from the menu.
I went here on December 26th, day after Christmas as was passing through the area. Short story is that the pizza was good, neopolitan style, although I felt they were trying to be a bit too creative for my taste. Seemed as many of the dishes had some sort of sugar added - i.e. honey, maple or something similar. Just doesn't go with my palate.
The brussel sprouts were memorable, although they also had some sweetener.
And as usual, the crowd had that real limited south bay vibe which can be off-putting to some. I remember the waitress telling me with fascination about this "amazing" cheese they had in a dish - it was called gruyere...
In short, it was definitely servicable, but I wouldn't go out of my way. Went to Ragazza two nights later which was much more to my liking.
Hahaha, yes, they are awesome, fun and generally well-deserved. Other generalizations could be made regarding where I reside and more frequently dine and they could likely be equally true. Was wondering when somebody might pick up on that comment:)))
But back to the food, it was obviously high quality, and generally well done, even if not to always stylistically to my liking.
We tried out Oak and Rye on a busy night and sampled 3 of their pizzas alongside some appetizers.
My general impression is that I don't care for this style of pizza. It's a somewhat charred crust that's soft and chewy all the way through, much like freshly baked pita bread that's been slightly burnt. Is this the way it's supposed to be - not a hint of crispiness in the crust?
Despite my reservations over the crust, I mostly liked the flavor combinations we tried. The Commissioner Gordon ($16) was a well-played combo of smoky bacon and ranch-dressed greens. The Scotty 2 Hottie ($15) combined intense sweetness (from honey) and mild spiciness into one. It's an opinion-splitting combo, but I liked it. The Speckled Hen ($18 - egg, speck, hen of the woods) was good, but I didn't feel that the flavors came together as well as the other two.
Overall, not quite the pizza for us despite some nice flavor combos. The place is still rather popular, and it can get rather loud to the point where you can hardly hear the person sitting across from you.