Oakley’s Bistro is the restaurant equivalent to a trophy wife–so beautiful you believe it’s worth every penny. The dining room has a french country feel and the food presentation is beyond artistic–it’s stunning. You really can’t help but “ohhh and ahhh” over the plates as they come out. But the over-the-top presentation and menu prices caused me to have very high expectations. While the food and overall dining experience was good, I left feeling disappointed.
My meal at Oakley’s was rather enjoyable and most of the food was quite good. In fact, one dish was outstanding. The suckling pig starter, served with a ricotta crepe and mango puree was heaven. The meat practically melted in my mouth and the mango flavor was bright and pure.
French onion soup is a dish that is often not executed well at restaurants. After the pig starter, I had very high expectations. I was a little surprised by the presentation. Instead of the traditional crouton and bubbly cheese on top, the broth was “naked” and served along-side a small quesedilla-like grilled cheese sandwich. While I prefer the traditional presentation, I can appreciate that they were doing something different. Unfortunately, something went horribly wrong with this soup. My first bite was more fat than broth and left a greasy feeling in my mouth. Further inspection revealed a large oil slick on top of the soup. I don’t mean a teaspoon or two of truffle oil, I mean a large quantity of oil. It was so bad that I’m convinced this is not the way the soup is meant to be served, but rather some sort of mistake.
For the entree, our server recommended the meatloaf. I’ve had some really upscale meatloaf dishes recently (such as the Filet Mignon meatloaf at Tavern on South) so I had high hopes. I was disappointed again. The flavor of the meat was bland and the chile jam and white cheddar were overpowering. Even with the accompanying potatoes and vegetables and the artistic presentation, this quite simply was not worthy of the $22 price tag.
The tilapia with sweet corn risotto was one of the better tilapia dishes I’ve had. I really enjoyed the sweetness and texture of the risotto, but it was just a bit undercooked. And the flavors with the tilapia–sun dried tomato puree, morels and hazelnuts were pure genius. I could have loved this dish if it weren’t for the fact that the tilapia was a bit overcooked. The whole thing left me feeling like Goldilocks with nothing being “just right”.
Taking the french onion soup out of the equation, the food at Oakley’s is quite good, but not good enough to justify the price. I give Oakley’s Bistro an overall rating of 2.25. Here’s the breakdown:
Deliciousness = 2.25
Ambiance = 2.75
Quality of Service = 2.5
Bang for Your Buck = 1.5
Overall Dining Experience = 2.25