The Dish!
The Oaks Grille goes Back to Basics
August, 2014 - Issue #118
The Oaks Grille's chef, Daniel Otto, is ubiquitous with exceptional, "you gotta try this" food. So when they announced a menu change, we knew we were in for new flavors and new favorites.

We were not disappointed.

This round of fresh options brings Oaks back to the basics, with meals that show off Otto's skill at turning locally-purveyed produce, cheeses, meats and fish into dishes that delight every sense, and perhaps introduce you to new ones. This menu is fun, filling and thoroughly enjoyable from the first bite to the last.

Oak's reputation for serving the SCV's best California comfort food is on full display here with creamy, rich options that, thanks to Otto's modern culinary twists, taste bright and light. If you're on summer-salad burn out, head to The Oaks Grille immediately for cool cuisine that would never be confused for rabbit food.

"Everything is ultra-fresh. We subscribe to the 'when it's gone, it's gone' philosophy. We make everything daily, sometimes hourly. That's why everything tastes like it was just brought in from the farm. Because IT WAS."
The Oaks Grille Chef Daniel Otto
Settle into Oaks well-appointed dining room and take in the breathtaking views of the valley, or sit outside and sink into the most comfortable patio furniture in town. No matter where you sit, for ultimate enjoyment, order a drink from the luxe bar.

The Jalapeno Strawberry Margarita is the liquid equivalent of a day at a beach resort and is highly recommended. You'll taste the fresh blended strawberries first, followed quickly by the top-shelf tequila. The jalapeno spice then sneaks in with a kick, balanced by the drink's icy chill. It's awesome.

A traditional start to our meal began with Deviled Eggs with Crabmeat; it became an instant favorite. The perfectly-prepped eggs were generously stuffed with super-fresh crab meat that's tossed with a rich aioli. Bits of radish and dill make the appetizer an appropriate, delicious selection for summer.

Also excellent: the Tropical Seafood Ceviche, with an assortment of fresh fish, scallops and shrimp marinated in citrus juice and served with tropical fruit relish and homemade chips. This tangy starter is refreshingly addictive.

Our entrees, served promptly and with panache, were dressed to impress. Plating is an art - and the Oaks team is right up there with Rembrandt. Oaks' PBLT (That's Pork Belly, Lettuce and Tomato to the uninitiated.) may sound like "just" a sandwich, but it's oh-so-much more. It's eye candy! The thick slice of sweet heirloom tomato, bright smear of spicy avocado de gallo, lemon garlic aioli, peppery arugula and buttery grilled asiago bread would make a hearty, delicious - and gorgeous! - sandwich on it's own, but when you add in the generously-cut, tender, flavorful pork belly, this meal becomes more than a sum of it's parts. If there's one sandwich you eat this summer, make it the PBLT.

Brighter on the palate, but no less flavorful, is the craveable Soy Chicken Soba Noodle Salad. Made with Mary's free-range chicken marinated in sweet shoyu dressing and flame grilled, the filling dish is tossed with buckwheat noodles, bell peppers, red onion, scallions, carrots, jalapeno slices and sesame seeds. Lightly-dressed with the creamy-sweet-and-savory dressing, this plate prompted a mini Pop Star Skin Care Barbies Kittens Barbie In The Name Of The Queen Barbie Graduation Party Dressup but mighty battle of forks. My dining guest and I called truce only after we decided that one of us would order another salad to go.

he Pan Seared Chilean Seabass is an exceptional choice, served with woodsy and rich forbidden purple rice, just-wilted spinach and popping edamame, a fresh mango coulis and surprising papaya chutney. Pan seared with extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt, the flakey, flavorful fish is delivered fresh daily to The Oaks Grille - and it's delicious.

With over a dozen new menu options from which to choose, and live music through the summer on Friday nights from 6pm to 10pm, there's never been a better time to dine at The Oaks.

The Oaks Grille, a public-friendly restaurant located in the Tournament Players Club Valencia clubhouse, is open Tuesday through Sunday. 288-1995, extension 109
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