What to eat at Oak at Fourteenth? Ask your server -- really!

It's funny, in a way, how much stock diners put in servers' recommendations, given how little both parties know about each other and how finicky people's tastes tend to be. I've been told by servers that they liked a certain dish because it was really filling (not exactly tops on my list of criteria) and that the triple death chocolate was better than the cheesecake -- because they weren't a cheesecake fan. Even when servers rise above personal opinion, however, they aren't always the guides you expect them to be.

"I never worked at a restaurant where the servers tasted all the food," admits Steven Redzikowski, chef and co-owner of Oak at Fourteenth. Until now, that is.

See also: - Bryan Dayton and Steve Redsikowski reflect on their one-year milestone - Best Kale Salad 2013: Oak at Fourteenth - Best Rise from the Ashes 2013: Oak at Fourteenth

Recently, a server came up to him and asked why servers don't taste everything. The question was so basic, he says, that he couldn't believe he hadn't thought of it before.

"It was like, Steve, what the heck were you thinking?" he recalls with a laugh.

As a result, at Oak at Fourteenth servers now taste more than just the staples, so they know the ins and outs of every dish. And given how frequently the menu changes -- weekly, at least -- that adds up to a lot of tastes.

Find out what Oak's well-trained staff is likely to steer you to when my review of Oak at Fourteenth is posted here tomorrow.


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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz

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