Business at Boulder's six-month-old Oak at Fourteenth was on fire when the restaurant actually caught fire last spring, forcing owners Bryan Dayton and Steve Redzikowski to shutter their spot so that they could gut it and rebuild it from the ground up. It was a long road back, but after nine months, the partners will finally open the doors tonight.
Don't expect the same Oak, though. Dayton and Redzikowski made some big changes to the aesthetic, including an expansion that gives them a private dining room. Warm woods dominate, and light blue glass above the bar gives the place a modern feel. They've revamped the menu and drink list, too, keeping their upscale North American neighborhood restaurant theme, but adding a few twists and surprises.
Here's a taste of what you can expect at the resurrected restaurant:
Jars of preserves line one of the kitchen-flanking counters at Oak; those seats offer a view of the new wood-fired oven and down the entrance corridor to the host stand. A new private dining room features a wall of slatted wood. Frosted glass will eventually obscure it from the rest of the space. A chef's counter faces the completely open kitchen. Owner Bryan Dayton pours Zwack, a Hungarian amaro. Chef-owner Steve Redzikowski and his team work on a grill, wood-fired oven and pass located in a completely open kitchen. Grilled calamari with crispy fingerling potatoes, chile and garlic aioli. Seared yellow fin tuna with honey, mint, cucumber, arugula and crispy croutons. Shishito peppers blistered in the wood oven, supplemented by pork sausage and harissa sauce. A chef plates the kitchen's take on cannelloni. Lamb "cannelloni" with wild mushrooms and rosemary mustard. Braised spicy meatballs on a bed of burrata cheese grits. A fat, juicy grilled pork chop topped with pickled pepper jam and served over grits and braised greens. Buttery milk chocolate and olive oil cremoso with housemade crackerjacks. The East Aspen Heights, Dayton's GQ/Bombay Sapphire championship cocktail: Bombay Sapphire East, yellow Chartreuse, sage simple syrup, blackberry, pear and lime. The WC and Soda, one of Dayton's cryptic "different liquid options": Campari plus housemade kumquat and tarragon soda, served in a capped bottle. The restaurant is making a variety of sodas, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
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