A few weeks ago, I — along with a parade of media types — got to sample new Executive Chef Jeremiah Bacon's menu at Oak Steakhouse. While he has kept the classic dishes you'd expect to find at a steakhouse, he's also infused it with some interesting dishes, the coolest of which has to be the deep fried lobster. I always love the presentation of lobster at the table. It looks impressive, like a relic of the paleolithic age come back for our eating pleasure.
Here's the lobster at Oak. Definitely force someone at your table to order it.
Another classic steakhouse dish that we enjoyed: Oysters Rockefeller. Nice and simple, like they do it in N'awlins.
When top-shelf anchovies are involved, I know I have to order the caesar. Tasted as good as it looks:
The big story that evening — if you believe the twitterverse — was the bone marrow bread pudding. Unfortunately, I neglected to photograph that dish, but I promise it will live up to the hype, especially if you're a sucker for umami. The spongy bread is soaked in a succulent meatiness that's hard to resist.
Here's a picture of the porchetta, which I ordered that night from the specials menu. It was hands-down the ugliest dish I've seen, what with all that pig flesh. Fortunately, the pork roast tasted out of sight, stuffed with savory cornbread and all kinds of herbs. Ballsy move, Mr. Bacon, serving such a dish in an upscale steakhouse. I approve.
My take: I think the move for Chef Bacon from Carolina's to Oak was probably a good one for both parties. He's in a more high profile space, and they've got a chef who will help them fit into the new world food order, that of cooking local, seasonally, etc. Bacon's a confident chef who seems to have a healthy streak of humility. He cooks behind the line; he encourages collaboration. He's supportive of his team's growth (hence his enthusiasm for JIll Mathias taking over for him at Carolina's).
Pros: the chef, the food (surf and turf), the atmosphere, Steve Palmer in the front of the house (smooth operator, that one)
Cons: third and second floor seating — I tend to like sitting in the thick of the fun (ie. near the bar), two waiters who look exactly alike! The Sanchez brothers are professional servers, but perhaps they should work separate rooms because they had us feeling like we were in a Three Stooges episode.