A few weeks ago Oak Oven opened a second outpost in Mandeville. This was wonderful news to us because we love Oak Oven’s wood-fired Italian pies and delicious pastas. And the Harahan location is out of the way unless you are in Harahan. That’s not to say that it’s not worth the drive.
The original Oak Oven, housed in spartan surroundings that haven’t strayed too far from its origins as a Popeye’s at the "S" curve in Harahan, was started by three Jesuit friends, one of whom worked in a two-star Michelin in Sicily.
He has now moved on, leaving the others to keep it going. Their plans for a second location in the old Garden Gate nursery on Metairie Road didn’t materialize, and they passed on the old Echo pizza location in Mid-City (now Domenica) leaving the new location in Mandeville. Coincidentally, it is also a former fast food space, though this renovation is much more ambitious. The oven is also here, but remains out of sight. The bar is glamorous, and the overall look is much more sophisticated, though not as charming as the original, with its blackboard of specials and Italian tomato cans growing herbs.
We started with our favorite pizza here, the Salsiccia. It is housemade sausage, roasted peppers, capers, and olives. When we asked for red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese, we were immediately reminded of our Number One gripe about this place: it is ungenerous. The waiter came with a bowl and spoon, his hand on it. He would dispense the requested enhancements, not us. This lack of generosity is something we register with every visit here. It has been carried to the new place. This problem was especially apparent when we ordered the small Parmigiano Salad, which has egg, bacon, and olives in a Parmigiano dressing. ML always gets Parmesan-crusted chicken with hers. We were surprised at how much smaller this salad was than the comparable size in Harahan. And last, we got the gnocchi special for the evening. It was gnocchi with lump crabmeat and snow peas and shredded radishes in a lemon butter sauce, a pile of bacon in the center. This was really delicious. Gnocchi is tough to make well, and while these were not the best, they were very good. The dish balanced its ingredients beautifully, and there was a sufficient amount of all components here. All of this plus two iced teas came to $64. A little high, and when combined with the lack of generosity, it annoys. Why do we go then? The food is great.
2250 Florida St. Mandeville
Mon-Th Lunch 11-3 Dinner 5-9
Friday & Saturday till 10