Restaurant owner Nancy Batista-Caswell and I played email tag for a long time, so much so that I had forgotten about her new venture on A street until she emailed a few days ago.
Batista-Caswell is a seasoned (pardon the pun) restauranteur with two hugely successful restaurants in Newburyport, MA (BRINE and Ceia Kitchen + Bar). She opened Oak+Rowan on A Street across from Blue Dragon a few months ago. The new venture has been greatly received and has proven to be a popular spot for office workers and residents alike.
The menu is eclectic and engaging, offering small and large-format plates to share. We started with a clam and pork chowder that was topped off tableside and brimming with little neck clams, thick bacon slices and believe it or not homemade potato chips!
Oak+Rowan offers a caviar program that is extensive, with international flavors available by the ounce or in flights. We sampled caviar that was part of the white asparagus budino salad with duck egg and accented with Meyer lemon. The tuna crudo was incredibly fresh and light paired with pine nuts and grapefruit.
For an entree we shared the lobster and veal with sweetbreads, as I ignorantly did not know what a sweetbread was until after I’d devoured the meal. It is neither sweet nor bread. (Didn’t care – it was amazing). The fresh lobster tail meat was combined with gnocchi, seabeans, cranberry and Bortegga, a salted and cured fish roe. Unbelievably creative and delicious.
The menu also offers traditional prime steaks, lamb and a daily house-made sausage. The chefs have a penchant for house-made pastas and breads. We enjoyed some caraway bread with molasses butter and homemade pimento.
The decor of Oak + Rowan is warm and beautifully designed with an open concept, large booths, and a small dining area that can be closed off for a private party. Parking is on street till resident parking takes over but the proximity of the Necco Street garage makes driving to the spot easy.
Batista-Caswell hopes to open soon for the ever popular brunch scene, and no doubt as we finally welcome Spring and the nicer weather she will have a full house on A Street.
321 A Street
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