Oak Steakhouse Atlanta

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Upgrade your steak.

By Hope S. Philbrick

Oak Steakhouse Atlanta, which opened last month in the new Avalon community in Alpharetta, Ga., is billed as “a fresh take on the classic American steakhouse.”

A recent visit leads to this interpretation of what that claim means: Wherever your motivations fall along the spectrum of why to eat out—from a major celebration to pure laziness—and of what to eat—from some complicated preparation beyond your kitchen skills or something familiar—Oak Steakhouse delivers the goods.

As is true at “classic American steakhouses,” the menu centers around traditional steak cuts and shareable sides. But this menu also presents a broad range of contemporary dishes. Some prices are eyebrow-raising, others competitive. Order an appetizer or salad for a satisfying budget meal or splurge on a multi-course meal, the choice is yours. Or focus on an entrée, opting for either the featured Prime Certified Angus Beef or seafood, pork, chicken, pasta and even vegetarian options instead.

Oak Steakhouse - ravioliOak Steakhouse - scallops

My husband and I decided to conduct a tabletop experiment: A side-by-side comparison of wet aged and dry aged Prime Certified Angus Beef. ‘Dry aged’ is routinely touted as the best, but we seized this opportunity to decide for ourselves. The Oak Steakhouse menu offers the unique opportunity to order the same cut both ways: Prime Certified Angus Beef New York Strip ($51) and the 12-ounce dry aged Prime Certified Angus Beef New York Strip ($72), sourced from Master Purveyors of New York City (which our server, Bill, claimed is the best source of dry aged meat).

I’ve seen cuts of beef sitting on shelves in temperature-controlled dry aging rooms during behind-the-scenes tours at Buckhead Beef and other purveyors, and it honestly looks like something no human should eat. It resembles blue cheese more than the juicy reddish meat readily available at grocery stores. And yet chefs and foodies consistently rave about dry aged beef and it sells at premium prices. What’s all the fuss about?

Once both steaks were presented—and despite knowing that at some point that dry aged steak looked rather fuzzy, they looked pretty much the same once cooked—I first took a bite of the wet-aged “regular” steak. It was delicious, juicy and what experience had taught me to expect of steak, a taste I’ve long enjoyed. I then took a bite of the dry aged and the steak flavors were more pronounced, more robust. Returning to a bite of the wet-aged again was an immediate disappointment: It tasted like watered down steak. Yes, the dry aged is a clear winner, it’s not much of a contest at all. Thus, please heed this Fair Warning: Once you taste dry aged it will be difficult to go back to wet aged. Budget accordingly.

The sides all impress, but standouts include the pan roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts ($10), which has a spicy edge reminiscent of Indian and Asian fare; Yukon gold potato purée ($8), a smooth mash with decadent flavor; smoky bacon mac-n-cheese ($9), perfectly creamy and distinctly bacon-y; roasted mix of organic mushrooms ($11), any steak’s best friend; and truffle fries ($8), thin, crispy, earthy bites of joy.

Oak Steakhouse - potatoes and cauliflowerOak Steakhouse - mushroomsOak Steakhouse - salad with six minute pickled egg

Oak Steakhouse - foie grasOak Steakhouse - dessertOak Steakhouse espresso cake

Also don’t miss the seasonal vegetable salad ($11), which currently features turnips, radishes, beets, cornbread croutons and a pickled egg with buttermilk dressing. If you’re a fan of foie gras, don’t miss this presentation that pairs pan-seared Hudson Valley foie gras with johnny cakes and cherry preserves ($22), a heavenly trio.

Save room for dessert. You can’t go wrong with either the espresso layer cake or salt caramel bread pudding.

Owned and operated by The Indigo Road, Oak Steakhouse Atlanta is helmed by Atlanta native Executive Chef Chad Anderson. No stranger to steak, his résumé includes stints at New York Prime as well as Rathbun’s, Craft, The Optimist, and King + Duke, among others. Anderson takes a seasonally-driven approach, sourcing fresh ingredients from local farmers, purveyors and fishermen.

The wine list highlights California and Old World reds, though you can find all hues plus artisan domestic wines. The beer list offers a selection from local breweries. The bar menu features classic cocktails enhanced by creative, modern ingredients—try the sorghum whiskey concoction and thank us later.

Servers are attentive and eager to please. The ambiance is vibrant and energetic; there is candlelight, but no need to whisper here.

The restaurant opened in November 2014, but its long-term prognosis is very good indeed.

More Information…

Oak Steakhouse Atlanta
950 Third St.
Alpharetta GA
678.722.8333

Odds of Encountering Children: Possible, but priced for adults.

Try the original sister restaurant in Charleston, S.C.

– Photos © HSP Media LLC

Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to Oak Steakhouse Atlanta for hosting our dinner–we learned a lot!

Hope S PhilbrickHope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. She’s reviewed restaurants for several Atlanta-based newspapers and magazines for more than 10 years. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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