Out on Lake Boone Trail sits a small shopping plaza on an elevated plateau. You'll find a Buffalo Brothers, the popular Guasaca, WhichWich, Bottle Revolution and the newish Oak! Owned by the same folks that run Taste off of Dixie Trail, the Oak advertises itself as a scratch kitchen and bourbon bar. For our brunch visit, there was unfortunately no bourbon involved but still we had a really good meal!
The first thing you'll notice about Oak is its secluded location. Down a walkway between two buildings, the entrance doorway is a bit discrete but just look for the large patio area out front next to Whichwich. And inside the Oak, the unconventional space continues! Long narrow strip along the front which leads to a corner dining room, there's a walled area hiding the restaurant bar! On par with its name, the Oak sports wood planking on its vertical surfaces and nicely polished tables showing off wood grain.
Overall it's a very modern and organic feel to the place. For some reason I think of the departed L'Uva Enoteca as a comparison point. The main dining room is tidy and small but there's lots of windows for natural sunlight. We're seated with menus in hand and a bit early for brunch. So we ask for a bloody mary and mimosa when the clock ticks past noon!
Thankfully the Oak is an interesting space because our wait-person gets distracted and doesn't come back for our order for another 15 minutes. After forgetting the drink order, sigh. I put an order in for the challah french toast and sausage while my table mate does the breakfast plate with eggs, rosemary sausage and some cheese grits. With coffee and brunch cocktails in hand, the Oak starts to get a bit busy and it doesn't take too long for our food. My french toast looks great, three thick slices with some syrup BUT they seemed to have forgotten my side of sausage, boo! I fork off some french toast and it's nicely coated and moist. The fruit and pecans on top are a nice match but I'm more of a syrup guy. The breakfast plate also looks solid and I sneak a bite of grits which are very creamy and perfectly cooked, excellent.
We pass on any sweets and pay up, I'm pretty happy overall with my brunch experience at the Oak. It's an odd space but the food is solid and reasonably priced for the quality and quantity. Outside of some service missteps they've got a great overall dining experience and interesting menu. So I do hope to get back for a lunch or dinner meal and see what they can really do. But I'm pretty optimistic they'll do fine and I wish them luck in this tough spot! So enjoy the Oak (NOT the Oakz) for its treatment of classic American and Southern fare, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised like I was! Bon appetit...
4035 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607