Every once in a while, a restaurant comes along, that you know is of such integrity and quality, that it will be around for a long, long time.
After my first experience at Oak at Fourteenth, I knew this was that kind of restaurant.
I’d heard all the buzz and hype, and still, always take my own firsthand experience as the truth.
This can be disappointing and confusing at times, when I don’t see or experience what others do.
But, that’s the beauty of learning to trust yourself completely.
In this case, I was neither disappointed or confused.
I was delighted and enlightened.
The interior is beautifully simple, with the focal art point of three identically sized canvases of oak leaves on the main wall.
The focal food point, or better said, focal food-potential point, is the wood fired oven you see immediately upon entering.
We’ve been spoiled by Basta’s wood fire cooking, and have high expectations now.
Luckily, Oak knows what they’re doing.
I started with the Brussels sprouts, seared and roasted with garlic chips.
Brown goodness on the outside, tender goodness on the inside.
And the garlic chips, a flavorful element setting these apart from others you find on many restaurant menus now.
Next, I had the salad that has begun an obsessive craze in Boulder and surrounding areas: the Shaved Apple & Kale Salad with parmesan, togarashi and candied almonds*.
Really, I thought, How good could a salad be?
And you feel good eating it.
It’s so good, in fact, it made our Things That Will Change Your Life for the Better list [see link to the right].
For my entrée, I had scallops, which were perfectly prepared – similar to the Brussels sprouts – brown goodness on the outside, but a tender sweetness on the inside.
Service was perfect.
So perfect, we thanked the server for his easy professionalism and told him we’d be back and would ask for him.
What a difference it makes.
If the food had been this stellar, but the service had not, I would have been distracted and put-off by that, and unable to enjoy the full nourishment of the total experience.
Like a big, beautiful oak tree, I look forward to watching this Oak continue to spread its roots deep in Boulder.
*Thanks to the good folks at the Denver Post – in an act of true community spirit and love – here’s the recipe if you want to try it at home.
But I’d go to Oak and experience it there.
At least for the first time.