Raising the Steaks

SouthPark’s newest steakhouse features decadent flavors and decor.

In recent years, SouthPark’s Sharon Square has transformed itself into a bonafide dining destination for Queen City dwellers. A summer stroll down Ashley Park Lane bears a multitude of options for the savvy eater, including its newest addition, Oak Steakhouse, located at the corner of Ashley Park Lane and Sharon Road. The sprawling steakhouse, all 5,500 square feet of it, lives inside the SunTrust Bank building, and is the second Charlotte concept for The Indigo Road Hospitality Group, which opened O-Ku Sushi in South End last September.

Oak Steakhouse is the flagship concept for the hospitality group that owns a stable full of Charleston, S.C. establishments and sister restaurants in Columbia, Atlanta, Charlotte, and soon Nashville. In our city, Oak Steakhouse aims for a modern approach to a classic steakhouse. Inside, the ceilings stretch high to assume the grandeur of Grand Central Station, and wooden accents touch nearly every facet, from the floors to the bar top and chairs. Neutral grays and blues add color to the decor and to the attentive servers, who are classically outfitted in vests and slacks of the same palette.

With Frank Sinatra crooning over the speakers, settling into the curvy red leather booths makes one feel like an honorary member of the Rat Pack. The menu abounds with steakhouse classics like Oysters Rockefeller, shrimp cocktail, handmade pastas, and signature steaks. Chef Alex Jenkins curates a menu with options, plus plenty on-hand for special occasions, including an extensive wine list, dry-aged steaks, foie gras, and a private dining room. For the novice, know that a night out can easily turn into a big night out.

Start with a Carolina Summer, a cocktail made with vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit juice, and lemon. The tender octopus—prepared sous vide, grilled, and served with oranges, radish, and almond puree—is a welcome beginning, and the burrata salad with mixed greens, housemade burrata (done well, mind you), and brown butter orange vinaigrette primes the palate for what’s to come. For a wider taste of the steak offerings, opt for the mixed grill, a taste of New York Strip, sirloin, and lamb chops, and then dig into an order of the handmade lobster pasta brightened with sugar snap peas and punchy lemon butter. Sides are a la carte, and you can’t go wrong with pork belly mac and cheese, or the addictive truffle frites. If you have room left, creme brûlée cheesecake is the sweet ending, but the rolling bar cart stacked with high-end spirits ready to be poured tableside is the sleek finish. Inside its doors, Oak Steakhouse reclaims the opulence of the classic steakhouse, yet squarely asserts itself as a contender in Charlotte’s contemporary dining scene. 


Photography by Michael C. Hernandez