The Oak On Pine is the kind of place where everybody knows your name, or will, because you'll keep coming back for more. This cozy restaurant with kitchen-facing bar is sure to become Jersey City's own version of the hit sitcom Cheers. It is the perfect place for locals to bring their favorite bottle of wine (yes, it's BYOB), gather, and have great food.
From the minute you walk in, you feel at home. The setup is small and every seat in the house gets a view of the talented chefs at work in the open kitchen. Brought to us by the owners of downtown's Sam A.M., The Oak On Pine offers a South-meets-North culinary experience. It's no secret that Southern food is soul food. The Oak On Pine's menu is that, but with some refined Northern elements.
Though only a week old, The Oak On Pine shares via their website that dishes will be changing seasonally. For now, they have a wonderful selection of made-to-order starters and mains with a few homemade desserts. I haven't gotten a chance to try everything on the menu, but what I have tried is excellent. For appetizers, I've tried the fried green tomatoes (a special) and the vidalia French onion soup. For entrees, the meatless loaf and another special, the pan-blackened sea bass.
The fried green tomatoes were still crisp enough that the batter stayed on them as I cut into them. The French onion soup was exactly what I needed on a cold night and it had a great flavor profile (and scrumptiously gooey cheese). I expected the Meatless Loaf to be a slab of some fake meat, but instead, I was overjoyed that it was actually lentils and mushrooms and clearly made in house. It was so rich, had a lot of textures, and I could eat it every day of the week. Definitely the most comforting cheese-free vegetarian dish I've ever had! The sea bass was cooked to perfection and had a delicious char-blackened taste. Whatever the sauce on the fish was should be bottled and sold separately, because it was phenomenal!
I finished the meal with their house-made Key Lime pie. The flavor was subtle, the texture was right, and the whipped cream was delectable. I don't usually like whipped cream, but when it's made properly, I become a whipped cream fiend. Let me tell you, I finished every morsel.
Everything at the Oak on Pine just warms your soul - from the food to the atmosphere. It's an excellent spot for families, dates, or even for coming by yourself with a book and grabbing a seat at the bar to watch Chef Francis at work in the open kitchen.
Written by Sasha Kleinman
Born and raised in NJ, Sasha is a recent transplant to Jersey City and has become obsessed with everything the city has to offer. Sasha is a fashion copywriter by day, and die-hard Jane Do enthusiast and (vegetarian) foodie by night. When she's not stuffing her face at one of Chilltown's amazing restaurants, having a couple brewskis at the local brewery Departed Soles, or snuggling with your dog, Sasha is busy traveling the globe with camera (and fork) in hand. Follow her wide array of adventures @sksashafierce and @the_hungry_growlers!