In another sign that Los Angeles restaurateurs are finding the San Fernando Valley worthy of growing their empires, restaurant impresario Greg Morris (The Spanish Kitchen, Olive, The Oaks Gourmet, The Belmont, The Cutting Room, among others), opens his second Oakfire in Sherman Oaks tomorrow (Wednesday, April 6 )— and it’s a welcome addition that combines a busy neighborhood feel with urban style and good food. And they serve until 2 a.m.
Oakfire is a departure from most 818 restaurants in terms of size and design. Taking over the space vacated by La Fondue Bourguignonne, it is sleek and modern with a high arched ceiling and mix of top flight materials, including Brazilian cherry wood, stone and leather. A window to the kitchen reveals a wood burning pizza oven. The restaurant’s design lends to a loud noise level, however, it’s a fun, casual environment that also offers a diverse, innovative menu at a reasonable price.
The original Oakfire on La Cienega is more of an upscale pizzeria, however, due to the design and some additions to the menu, the valley outpost ups the ante with more of a dining vibe, bringing the restaurant to a more sophisticated level. The space is divided into bar and dining areas. The bar area consists of a couple flat screens, leather bar stools and a high communal table. The dining area is booths and tables that can be rearranged for various party sizes. Outdoor patio seating is also available.
The market fresh menu has something for everyone. Gourmet wood fire pizzas are a Oakfire signature specialty with a choice of crusts — thin (so thin it’s like a cracker), honey free or gluten free. There’s 16 pizzas using ingredients such as smoked Texas brisket, fennel sausage, caramelized onions, artichokes, wild mushrooms, truffle oil, bacon, arugula, steak filet, eggs sunny side up, and of course cheeses, including fontina, buffalo mozzarella and gorgonzola. For vegans, there is a special vegan soy pizza. If your preference is deep dish, they’ve got them here too. Just make sure you have time to wait because cooking time is 45 minutes.
Salads are simple to more complex — including Italian Chopped, Crispy Proscuitto and Fig, a Steak Salad (made with prime filet) to a Sesame Crusted Tuna Salad.
You can make a meal out of the starters that include Kobe Beef Sliders (perfectly prepared with three cheeses, caramelized onions and truffle oil), Bacon Wrapped Filet Skewers, Jumbo Crab Claws and Cajun Baby Back Ribs.
Entrees are called ‘Closers’ here. There is a select, yet eclectic choice, including a Miso Glazed Ahi Tuna Burger, Peppercorn Filet topped with Cognac Buerre Blanc with Truffle Fries, Braised & Smoked Brisket Enchiladas and Wood Fired BBQ Salmon.
Desserts are not listed on the menu, but save room for their specialties, including the deep dish rocky road pizza with the bottom crust made of homemade cookie dough and layered with chocolate chips, toasted nuts and topped with baked marshmallows and apple pie raviolis a la mode (mini pie bites with ice cream).
The full bar menu includes cocktails, wine and 16 beer taps that cover belgium ales, IPA’s, pilsners, stouts and lagers, as well as a ten can and bottle selection. Happy hour happens daily from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with half off apps, wine and cocktails. Pizzas are $10 and beer is $4.
Oakfire is indeed a bright addition to the 818 and welcomes all ages and party sizes. Stop by for a drink and some apps or for a full meal.
OAKFIRE 13359 Ventura Blvd (just east of Dixie Cyn) Sherman Oaks, 818.205.9306 . Starters ($8-$14), Salads ($9-$13), Wood Fired Pizzas ($11-$15), Chicago Style Deep Dish ($19-$23), Closers ( $15- $28 with average at $17). Open daily 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Karen Young is the Founder/Editor of My Daily Find.