Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 5, 2014

I’m liking this American Oak

Filed under: Alameda, Business, Restaurants — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

In lieu of going to Capone’s on Sunday night because I wasn’t sure if it was actually open since no one decided to pick up the phone number that was listed on their website, we decided to go to American Oak. I mostly selected American Oak because (1) I hadn’t been back since the remodel after the unfortunate fire and (2) their super snarky tweet about the dress code at Capone’s.

So I decided to myself, hey self, someone said that you should start a restaurant review blog because you have so many opinions about the City’s restaurant guide — which according to the City Staff on Tuesday night had been vetted through the different business associations and used business licenses to cross reference.  Since I’m too lazy to start a whole other blog about it, I thought, why not try it out on my current blog.  What gives me the qualifications to review restaurants?  Nothing really, other than the fact that I like to eat and I promise not to post any photos of poorly lit photos of food.  I give you my very first (and possibly last) restaurant review: American Oak.

Did you know that American Oak doesn’t take reservations?   They don’t, it’s first come first seat.  Also, here’s there Yelp page if you want to look at those as well.

American Oak looks really good after the remodel.  The wood tables and edison lighbulbs make for a neat vibe.  It’s still a little dark in there and the print on the drink menus are so tiny that they provide a small magnifying glass for patrons that forget to bring their reading glasses to dinner.  The husband decided to skip the whisky tasting and order the 18 year Suntory Yamazaki ($21) which he declared to be “very smooth.”  He later ordered the Nikka 12 year ($10) which he declared not as good.  He’s on a Japanese whiskey kick right now.  I stuck with water because (1) I don’t drink alcohol and (2) I save my calories for food.

We started off with the truffle fries ($7) because: fries.  The fries were pleasantly crunchy and well seasoned but while eating it I kept noticing a weird chemical smell. I thought it originated from the light on the table which was fueled by some sort of liquid fuel as opposed to being a tealight, but even after blowing out the candle the chemical smell remained.  I realized that the chemical smell was probably the overuse of truffle oil on the fries.  So they tasted good, but the smell was really off putting.

The mac and cheese with smoked cheese, Parmesan, and bacon (it says $5 plus $2 for bacon on their website, but I think it might have been differently priced on the menu) was the winner of the night.  Creamy, but cheesy with a perfect toasty cheese crust, it was the strongest dish of the three we ordered.

The BBQ Pork Sandwich came with a side of fries, but since we had already had fries earlier the server suggested that we could swap out the fries with some greens, which was a nice touch.  The greens served were a bit uninspired though, simply a plate of peppery greens with a lackluster dressing that needed more acid to cut through the bitter bite of the salad.   Some how I had envisioned that a  BBQ Pork Sandwich would have been pulled, but it was huge chunks of pork that were tasty, but on a bun made it difficult to eat.  The bottom on the bun was toasted which was a great idea in order to handle the weight of the heavier pork chunks.  The pork was well cooked, but not all that memorable.  The red cabbage slaw it was served with the sandwich was mayonnaise based rather than vinegar based which would have made for a lighter touch.

All in all, the food was acceptable, but I miss the old American Oak menu with their wood fired pizzas and the fried chicken skin (“chick”-a-rones).  It’s definitely worth a visit if you are looking for a strong collection of alcoholic beverages and solid, if a bit uninspired, food.



  1. Lauren, if you have a couple of drinks it usually makes the food taste much better. After all they do have a few good Whiskeys. I think your husband had the right idea.

    Comment by John P. — September 5, 2014 @ 9:24 am

  2. John, first you have to like whiskey I got sick of it in high school and still don’t like it. I guess after you have a couple you don’t taste it anymore.

    When I was in college, I lived in the Math/Science dorm. I was a pharmacy major, and most of the others I lived with were pre-med, nursing, dental, ect majors. They were having a biology test the next day and someone smuggled a fetal pig out and brought it back to the dorm and the whole floor smelled like formaldehyde. Me and a friend drank a fifth of gin and I haven’t had gin since…to me it tastes like formaldehyde. I really don’t drink hard liquor…so I guess I will have to taste the food.

    So as far as Yelp, they say they don’t manipulate ratings but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said on Tuesday they could if I understand that right. “Yelp said in a blog post on its website that it has never altered business ratings for money.” Yelp called it a win, but it actually lowers their credibility. I know one on my negative reviews was deleted by Yelp. Maybe a “restaurant review blog” for Alameda is what we need.

    Comment by Joseph — September 5, 2014 @ 12:24 pm

  3. Denise’s review of Capone’s was as promised. Never made it to American Oak before it burned.

    BTW- the tour of Saint George’s is cool. almost forgot we promised to take our younger son when he turned 21 this summer. We went around Halloween last year and the crew were all in costume. pretty funny.

    Comment by MI — September 5, 2014 @ 5:11 pm

  4. A review of American Oak from Park St Business Association:

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — September 5, 2014 @ 5:38 pm

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