American Comfort at Fire & Oak

by Michael Scivoli
fire & oak

It’s 5 p.m. in Newport. People pour out onto Washington Blvd. going every which way. It’s the evening, but it feels like a whole new day. Whether you work a 9-to-5 or not, you can’t deny that in this moment, the city is buzzing with life and excitement. The greatest part of this regular phenomenon isn’t the rush, but the opportunity to be social and connect. Happy hour comes to mind, but it’s more than  that. This time of day, when coupled with food, friends and a good drink, gives us a chance to blow off some steam and enhance our quality of life. Whether you fancy lunch, brunch or dinner plans, Fire & Oak is one of those neighborhood staples that serves as a place to come together for these moments.

Like any good place for American comfort food by the bar, the first thing you’ll notice as you step inside Fire & Oak—which is on the ground floor of The Westin—is its lively atmosphere. Whether the lights are turned up for brunch or dimmed for dinner service, the ambience is very much a warm reflection of the high-spirited energy just outside. And the space’s modern meets rural interior vibe echoes Fire & Oak’s adaptability.

fire & oakTo mirror its versatility in both atmosphere and design, Fire & Oak’s menu has something for everyone. Many of us forget that American food is really just a fusion of assimilated dishes from different cooking techniques and cultures. From burgers and sushi to Greek and Italian, Fire & Oak’s gourmet menu is one built to satisfy a wide array of appetites—no matter what you’re craving. The Digest recently had an opportunity to dine at Fire & Oak, where we got to drown our case of the Mondays with some wine and some good ol’ American comfort food from their dinner menu.

When you think of a diverse menu, it’s easy to imagine some endless hodgepodge of dishes. But the best part about Fire & Oak’s flexible menu is that it has everything one could want on just one solid page; they source high-quality ingredients and do those “American” classics the right way.

Starters begin with Italian and Mediterranean seafood staples like crispy calamari, octopus and mussels; but also include more typical comfort foods like lobster mac & cheese, Kobe meatballs and an order of truffle parmesan fries fit for an entire table (and then some). The appetizer menu also includes some more fusion with a Mediterranean sampler featuring hummus, eggplant, feta and Greek pita, as well as a modern day favorite, tuna tartare tacos with avocado and wasabi aioli. And while seafood can be found throughout their menu, no happy hour hang out would be complete without a good raw bar (and sushi because, why not?). Elsewhere, the team serves up Detroit-style (rectangular) pizza for those of us who just have to participate in the One Bite Challenge, and an array of soups and salads—including a towering tomato and burrata layer which is rich without being overbearing.

fire & oakWhen it comes to entrées, things get even more interesting. First, like any good American eatery, there’s a section of the menu dedicated strictly to steak and one for burgers. This portion is headlined by the 34-day, dry-aged bone-in cowboy, and exotic specials like the recent colossal tomahawk steak which, if on the menu, beckons that you order it. They also offer their signature Fire & Oak burger and veggie burger, but the real showstopper has to be the Kobe burger with danish blue cheese and caramelized onions on a brioche bun. Other mains include Fire & Oak’s wild mushroom pappardelle with spinach and whipped ricotta (with an option to add short rib for the carnivores), BBQ baby back ribs with herb fries and a new item, jumbo lump crab cakes.

Whether your after work time calls for a cocktail and American comfort food or your Sundays are filled with bottomless mimosas, Fire & Oak puts out cuisine (and vibes) that identify with a lot of people. One that let’s diners indulge but doesn’t forget how fusion foods are really the backbone of any good American menu.

About the Author/s

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Michael is the Editor-in-Chief of New Jersey Digest, COO of X Factor Media, and an avid writer. Growing up in Bergen County, he discovered his passion for words while in Friday detention. Michael loves kayaking, a fat glass of Nebbiolo, and over-editing.

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