Sunday, March 1, 2015

Oak Tavern in the Design District

You know how sometimes you're in the mood for a relaxing night in a casual place yet you still want to indulge in fabulous, quality food that lingers in your memory for days? I think I found that place. It's perfect for a date night yet unpretentious and laid-back. I'm talking about Oak Tavern,  located at 35 N.E. 40th Street. in the heart of the Design District.

You might be familiar with its owner/chef, David Bracha, the two-decade veteran restaurateur behind the well known Downtown staple, The River Seafood & Oyster Bar, and a series of other successful eateries throughout Miami, including South Beach, South Miami and Coral Gables. Bracha envisioned creating a neighborhood spot with Oak Tavern, that would offer a contemporary take on American cuisine with a selection of delicious small and large plates, daily specials, pizzas and house-made charcuterie. All of this with a side of original, refreshing cocktails. I was looking forward to the adventure from the moment I sat down in their charming, picturesque patio, enthralled by the gigantic oak tree that served as one impressive conversation piece.

My palate was ready to begin after this beautiful cocktail

After sipping on one of their sweet, luscious libations, we started off our meal with their Deviled Eggs topped with paddlefish caviar. The eggs were creamy and we enjoyed the delicate textures brought on by the salty fish eggs. Definitely a nice opener. Intrigued by the selection of raw fish on the menu, we also ordered the Snapper Crudo,  crowned with crushed cerignole olives and mint, then drizzled with lemon. The fish was fresh and refreshing, and we actually fought for the last piece.


We asked our server for suggestions on the entrees, and she recommended we share their signature Charcuterie Plate and Oak Tavern's version of Roasted Suckling Pig in La Caja China, served with maque choux and cheddar grits. My first thought for both was "Wow", immediately followed by "Wow" again. Let me start with the charcuterie. On a generously sized platter, came an assortment of Virginia ham aged 400 days, soppressata, calabrese salami, duck prosciutto and foie gras mousse. The quality meats were flavorful and delicious, their taste accentuated by the accompaniments they were served with: pickled vegetables, olives and apple mustard. We indulged with a healthy dose of crispy, rustic bread.

And now for the pig....oh the pig! Bracha outdid himself with this dish. A combination of flavors danced on the plate, alternating our senses betwen  NOLA and the Caribbean. An obviously detailed process went into the preparation of this impressive dish that lingered in our taste buds for hours. The meat sat on a bed of cheesy grits and a southern staple of maque choux, consisting of a tantalizing mix of tomatoes, corn, and hot chili pepper. Each bite carried an unforgettable experience of flavors, textures and comforting goodness. 

Although our tummies were satisfied and happy, there's always room for chocolate! We decided on the Chocolate Truffle Cake served with a caramel and cardamom ice-cream that sealed the deal and made this a definite go-to place. If you haven't been to Oak Tavern yet, don't wait another day.

For more information on Oak Tavern, visit their website at or call them at 786-391-1818.

Oak Tavern on Urbanspoon

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