Alpharetta Eats: Oak Steakhouse

One of the best steaks I’ve had recently was at Goin’ Coastal, a seafood restaurant on Main Street in downtown Canton.  It was a special that night.  Wasn’t even available next time we went.  I love these little surprises.  So, when I went to the Oak Steakhouse at Avalon in Alpharetta, I was expecting the quality of these surprises, but done routinely.

The evening got off to a tenuous start.  The appetizer list is extensive and tempting. We opted for the Pan-Seared Scallops.  These are presented over fennel that is covered in a saffron apple glaze, as well as a Benton’s bacon jam.  It was quite good, but my jaw dropped when 2 scallops arrived.  At a price of $17, this was unreasonable.  And you know my intolerance of spouting off where you get your bacon.  Benton’s is just a little ‘ole hog butcher on Highway 411 just outside of Madisonville, Tennessee.   Just give us a good bacon.  You don’t have to get your creds from a name.  We can actually taste good bacon.

But, back to the beef.  This is a steakhouse and Oak boasts a selection of Certified Angus Beef (“CAB”) that includes two market-priced dry-aged beef options.   My group was fine with non-dry-aged steaks, including the 16 oz. CAB boneless rib-eye, which was excellent and finished off hastily.  I opted for the CAB 5 oz. carved tenderloin, specifically because it came with a Béarnaise sauce and potatoes.  The Béarnaise sauce was good, but the little 5 oz tenderloin could have stood on its own.  I want to add that the waiter did well by emphasizing to what degree of doneness we should order our steaks.  I never order beyond medium anyway, but I appreciate this attention to detail.

As an alternative to steak, R. had the Grilled Colorado Lamb Rack which is crusted with dijon herbs, and is served over watercress, pee wee potatoes, and a tomato confit; all of which is pulled together with a mouth watering bordelaise.  High marks for this dish.  More people should eat lamb and if it takes going to a steakhouse to get it, by all means do so.

R. ordered the brussels sprouts as a side dish which inflamed another pet peeve of mine  – brussels sprouts.  The only thing that bugs me more than spouting off the name of your hog butcher is serving brussels sprouts – again.  Restaurateurs have been in love with brussels sprouts for about 10 years now and I’m growing weary of it.  Sure, it’s a healthy, if somewhat hearty and filling, option.  Just wow me with another vegetable; maybe offer only a seasonal vegetable.

The wine selection at Oak is excellent, although I had my usual cocktail; in this case, a tea-infused bombay gin mixed with simple syrup, lemon juice and soda.  This simple cocktail was superb and I highly recommend it.

I suspect the menu at Oak is a bit too long and ambitious with all items besides steak.  The salads look ordinary and the prices for salads, sides and appetizers are a little high.  Remember, we are paying way up for that beef already.  But, we enjoyed our steaks at Oak.  Do they serve excellent beef routinely as I alluded to in the first paragraph?  I look forward to a 2nd trip.  I’m very curious to see if they can hook me with something I can’t live without, especially in their price range.  My 5 oz. tenderloin was tasty, even excellent, but for $25.00, can I live without it?   Indeed, I specifically chose the 5 oz. tenderloin because it came with a smattering of potatoes therefore saving me from having to order and pay separately for some other side dish.  I figured it was the best priced item on the menu.  I laughed later when I read a revue of Oak by a writer with Atlanta Magazine who said almost exactly the same thing.

I want to give them a second visit though.






5 Replies to “Alpharetta Eats: Oak Steakhouse”

  1. I give Oak a thumbs up. I know rent at Avalon is high, so i understand that a lot of the pricing is to cover rent, but Oak does provide a great atmosphere, good food and service for the location. Bantam an Biddy, pink berry and and Goldbergs get my recommendation too for service. Goldberg does free kids meals on Tuesday and I applaud them for braving Alphretta moms (as many of them aren’t very nice when with their children and I know because I’m around them enough). Looking forward to your thoughts on Coletta next door to Oak. I was served undercooked food, so will never go back. I also give Gio a thumbs down. Terrible staff and cappuccino and espresso is terrible and overpriced. I’m of Italian heritage and I hang out with brazilians and we think they probably don’t clean their machines properly. We make our own Illy coffee at home. I’m not sure how they can screw up one of the most expressive and delicious coffees beans out there?? Avalom could use a good coffee place.

    1. Oh that’s too bad about your experience with Coletta. My SO and I have gone there several times and love it. The proscuitto platter is one of our favorite things there. If you can, I’d encourage you to go back and give them a second chance. Everything we’ve had there has been wonderful.

      As for Oak – I honestly can’t bring myself to go there. SO and I have eaten at steakhouses in NY that were indescribably good (and enormously expensive) and I still think that I can make a steak here at home that is as good as or better than those. So I don’t see the need to spend NY $$ on Alpharetta steaks just to say I did.

  2. I went to Oak with the wife about six months ago. Same issues , yes it’s Avalon, but way over priced and the the food was just ok. Way to many great steak places around , so no need to go back and try it again. Pampas on State Br is the best , never been disappointed , ever.
    Thank for great Alpharetta insider info, keep up the good work.

  3. I overhead people talking f about how the green (astroturf) space I front of regal at Avalon is going to be displaced by IntermezzI cafe. I tried googling this Intel and did read this cafe is coming, but nothing specified exactly where it would be built. Anyone know. I hope they keep that open space. Everyone really enjoys it that I know.

    1. Maybe it will go where the live oak is in front of Regal – the live oak that is destined to die soon! Who plants a live oak as far north as Alpharetta? Utter folly.

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