My final restaurant week visit was with my roommate, Regina, to Oak Steakhouse. I’ve been wanting to try Oak for a while now, curious to see if it could beat out my beloved Halls Chophouse (spoiler alert: it doesn’t). I know that most people say that you shouldn’t judge a restaurant based on Restaurant Week, but I think that’s just BS. If they can’t produce quality food during RW, then they just shouldn’t participate.
We started off with the spicy strawberry margarita, which definitely lived up to its name. So. Spicy. It was good, but we had to have them tone it down a little bit because we’re wimps. My mother would’ve loved it though.
After we placed our orders, we were brought some bread and butter. It was good bread, I have to say. Nice and warm, and salty, very similar to the benne seed rolls at Husk. And the butter tasted like butter..so there’s that.
For my starter, I got the wedge of Kurios Farms Bibb Lettuce Salad (local grape tomatoes, bacon lardons, creamy danish bleu dressing, regularly $10). Bibb wedge salads are not actually anything like your typical wedge salad (it’s just the nature of the beast), so I’ve learned not to be disappointed when I order a Bibb “wedge” salad and it comes out as basically just a bunch of lettuce leaves stacked on top of each other. But it tastes delicious!
Regina got the Vidalia onion bisque (lump crab, bacon crumble), which apparently was a special restaurant week thing. It was weird. Neither of us particularly cared for it. I get that vidalia onions are sweet, but this was ridiculous. It was overly sweet for a savory dish and I didn’t think that the flavors melded well together. Glad it’s not on the regular menu, because I would not order that again.
For entrees, I got the Certified Angus Beef Filet Mignon with whipped potatoes, spinach, petite carrots, and Oak’s housemade steak sauce. Being a renowned steakhouse, I was really looking forward to it. I even ordered it medium because everyone gets mad when I order it medium well (because apparently there’s some rule leftover from caveman days where your meat still has to be bleeding when you eat it, or you’re an uncultured swine). When it came out, I was upset to see that they’d precut my filet. Part of the satisfaction of ordering a steak is cutting it at the table and watching the juices ooze out onto your plate. Because they’d precut it, when I went to eat it, my steak was already cold, like it had been sitting out for a while, and not under a heat lamp. This was only emphasized by the fact that Regina’s food came out steaming for a good 5 minutes. I was also bothered by the “smear” of potatoes I got on my plate. I’m all about good plating, but this was ridiculous.
Regina got the pork shank served with sweet potato puree, braised greens, sweet apple and peach chutney. She replaced the sweet potato puree with roasted corn maque choux, by telling them she had an allergy, because they didn’t allow substitutions, which again, just bothers me. (I hate chefs that get so hoity toity about their food that they don’t let you substitute stuff. Yes, I get that some people like to make like 15 substitutions, and those people suck, but if you’re like me and you abhor mushrooms, AND you’re paying upwards of $40 dollars a plate, you shouldn’t be forced to eat them. I think this might have been another RW thing, where they already had everything premade and didn’t want to have to make real food for people who were only paying the RW price. Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox for real now, I promise.) The pork shank was awesome and fell right off the bone. The maque choux was super tasty and I’d definitely order this dish again. Basically, I was really jealous of Regina’s meal.
I also couldn’t resist ordering a side of the smokey bacon macaroni and cheese, $8.50. I mean, smoked bacon macaroni and cheese sounds delicious. I thought it was pretty good, but was a little disappointed in the cheese sauce. It was a little too creamy and not quite cheesy enough, but that didn’t stop me from devouring it. I’d probably still order that again. I like it better than Halls Chophouse’s mac & cheese and that’s about the only leg up that Oak got over Halls during this meal.
The dessert that came with the RW menu was “S’mores” with dark chocolate mousse, graham crackers, taosted marshmallow, and salted caramel. It was weird, but I liked it. The graham cracker wasn’t like normal graham cracker, I’d say it was more like a nilla wafer (but like a rock hard version). I thought the combination was really interesting. Regina wasn’t a huge fan of the dessert, and although I can’t say it’s my new favorite thing, I thought it was pretty good.
Oak definitely didn’t live up to my expectations, but it had enough potential that I might be willing to give them another chance (on someone else’s dime, of course, that place is expensive).
17 Broad St
Charleston, SC 29401