By Missy Schrott | [email protected]
Oak Steakhouse, a new restaurant offering a modern twist on the classic steakhouse, is bringing the heat to Old Town North.
The steakhouse opened at 901 N. St. Asaph St. on July 12. It is located on the ground floor of the new development that includes apartment complex Gables Old Town North, retailer West Elm and boutique fitness studio Row House, among others.
The concept comes to Alexandria from The Indigo Road, a hospitality group based in Charleston, South Carolina. The group has also opened Oak Steakhouse restaurants in Charleston; Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee and Raleigh, North Carolina.
While Oak has multiple locations, each restaurant takes on a menu and character of its own.
“All of the Oaks are different in that we’re not hiring kitchen managers, we’re hiring chefs,” Steve Palmer, founder and managing partner of The Indigo Road, said. “Our restaurants aren’t cookie cutter: The design is different than the other Oaks, the menu is different, so we’re just excited to be a part of the Alexandria community.”
The Indigo Road was drawn to Alexandria partially through one of its partners.
“Michael Meyer is from Alexandria, so there’s definitely an emotional tie there. His parents live 10 minutes away,” Palmer said. “And sort of looking around Alexandria, it didn’t appear that there was a steakhouse like Oak, and so we really thought it would be a great opportunity.”
The group signed the lease for the space about three years ago, Palmer said. Since beginning construction in January, he said it’s been a relatively smooth journey to last week’s grand opening.
Oak Steakhouse Alexandria will be led by Chef Joseph Conrad, formerly of Bourbon Steak in Georgetown. Conrad brings with him an extensive culinary background and experience working in restaurants and hotels in Iowa, Illinois, California and Washington.
“Joseph writes his own menu, so it’s really indicative of Alexandria – produce that’s local to the area, seafood that’s local to the area,” Palmer said. “Really the only thing that is standard is the type of beef that we use, which is certified angus beef. Joseph has free reign to write the kind of menu that he wants to write.”
Conrad said he designed the menu to include a combination of steakhouse classics and modern dishes.
“Prime beef, that’s the backbone of the steakhouse concept,” Conrad said. “We do that here, but what I think separates us from the rest of the group is what we do outside of that. … I wanted to keep it very approachable to all types of guests. I didn’t want to get labeled for special occasions or a celebratory restaurant right off the bat.”
The menu also features a variety of seasonal, local ingredients.
“I basically wanted to try to stay as seasonal as possible, within the realm of the concept,” Conrad said. “It’s not always easy to stay seasonal in a steakhouse concept because people have certain expectations when they come in. They wanna see asparagus on the menu – it doesn’t matter whether it’s December or March – and potatoes, Brussels sprouts, those types of things. So what I wanted to do was showcase seasonality around those items.”
Signature dishes include grilled Portuguese octopus with house-made Merguez sausage, green harissa, fried chickpeas and smoked eggplant puree; steak frites with beef-fat fries, au poivre sauce and caramelized onion soubise; and a 60-day, dryaged, 22-ounce, prime Kansas City strip steak.
The restaurant also features a menu of specialty cocktails. Highlights include the Smoke & Ashes, with tequila, house-made strawberry shrub and black lava salt and the Hats Off Negroni, with gin, Antica, Aperol and orange ice.
Oak Steakhouse plans to participate in Alexandria Summer Restaurant Week, taking place between Aug. 16 and 25.