Hubby and I were in the mood to go back to Oakley’s—we wanted something good without having to go downtown. We met a friend there as well (it was supposed to be him and his lovely wife, but she was a doctor on call and yadda yadda, babies gotta be born, so it was just the three of us).
Oakley’s has changed their menu format up a bit with a bunch of small plates. I am always sucked in by small plates, so we mainly ordered a bunch of those to share. Probably my favorite small plate was the black bean artichoke hummus with lobster truffles, artichoke spinach parfait and roasted pita ($10.75). There was A LOT going on with this dish but it was pretty much all delicious. The only thing that I was kind of meh about were the little fried lobster balls—they were just okay. But the hummus itself, the cheese and the fresh veggies were great. There was a lot of artichoke flavor, which I love, and there was a perfect balance between rich and acidic. A great one to share for sure.
We also shared the escargot (basil fed apparently) with maître d butter and Texas toast ($8). Hubby loves escargot and doesn’t get them a lot, so he was excited to see them on the menu. Yes, they’re snails, but trust me, with that herby butter and that thick toast, if you’re weirded out about snails, you won’t care. They’re just tender little herby morsels. I really enjoyed the pop of texture and flavor from the mustard seeds on top as well. They were very nicely done.
We shared the Tennessee eggrolls ($8) as well, which were an interesting variation on an eggroll. They were fried and stuffed with pulled pork, grits, jalapeno and cheddar and topped with a kale “slaw.” I really enjoyed the fresh greens on top and thought these were an interesting variation. Much more meaty than your average eggroll. We also ordered the French boule (bread shaped like a ball) ($3.75) because I am always tempted by housemade bread (it seems so rare around here) and also because I was intrigued by the mustard butter being served with it. That sounded like a good combo to me. Honestly, the bread didn’t really wow me that much. It was fine, but nothing to write home about. And the butter just had a hint of mustard.
For our “main” dishes, I ordered another starter, the sweet corn gnocchi ($12.75) with lemongrass creamed corn, sweet pea romesco, pork belly and cilantro tortilla salad. I have had amazing gnocchi in the past at Oakley’s and was hoping for a repeat with a variation made with one of my favorite things (corn) but while good, this wasn’t the best thing on the table that night. I was looking for a bit more acid maybe to balance out the sweet and rich flavors of the corn, peas and pork belly, and I just didn’t really find it. Still good, but compared to the earlier starters, not as impressive.
Hubby had the ribeye steak entrée ($34.75). This was another case of A LOT of things going on with this dish—there were smoked hash brown croquettes, creamed kale, tarragon Béarnaise vinaigrette (I was loving the sound of this), blue cheese salsa verde and crispy onions. I mean, all things I love, but wow—it sounded like a lot and it was. It tasted good, if just a little confusing with so much going on. But really, how could you complain about any of those ingredients—fun twists on classic steakhouse ingredients. I do love some blue cheese with steak.
The dessert was their version of s’mores, fancy-style. Honestly, I didn’t really care for it, other than it was quite pretty. There was a little too much fruity stuff going on, which didn’t make sense to me with s’mores. And the chocolate and cake part was a little bland. I’ve had some great desserts here, but this one wasn’t one.
I really like Oakley’s—it’s a solid choice on the north side when you want a good, high-end meal. The one thing about Oakley’s—sometimes there’s so much going on with some of the dishes that you are almost overwhelmed. The hummus dish totally worked I think, whereas the steak dish was on the border. But there’s a ton of creativity in this kitchen and I always enjoy it.
1464 west 86th Street