Walking into Oak at Fourteenth after it reopened after a devastating fire, I expected the space to look dramatically different. Aside from an additional dining room (formerly a neighboring chocolate shop), the restaurant feels nearly identical. In many ways, that's comforting—perhaps only because I liked the space so much the first time.
Most important, anyone who ate at the first Oak will instantly recognize Steven Redzikowski's menu. Here, modernized American comfort food continues to reign. The shrimp and grits (the best I've had) still holds court, as does the spectacular butternut squash soup with a cloudlike, melty marshmallow.
And though I found a couple of dishes lacking (the meatballs, in particular, were weak on both flavor and texture), the cabbage and Brussels sprouts salad (pictured) was a showstopper. This crunchy collection of shredded hearty vegetables came tossed with smoky bacon and sticky chopped dates. Each bite offered a balance of fresh, savory, and sweet—and I'll drive from Denver to Boulder just to order the dish again.
1400 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-444-3622