Artistic Fare Oakley’s Bistro

1 Aug

Oakley's Bistro Suckling Pig Starter

Oakley’s Bistro is the restaurant equivalent to a trophy wife–so beautiful you believe it’s worth every penny.  The dining room has a french country feel and the food presentation is beyond artistic–it’s stunning.  You really can’t help but “ohhh and ahhh” over the plates as they come out.  But the over-the-top presentation and menu prices caused me to have very high expectations.  While the food and overall dining experience was good, I left feeling disappointed.

My meal at Oakley’s was rather enjoyable and most of the food was quite good.  In fact, one dish was outstanding.  The suckling pig starter, served with a ricotta crepe and mango puree was heaven.  The meat practically melted in my mouth and the mango flavor was bright and pure.

Oakley's Bistro Suckling Pig

French onion soup is a dish that is often not executed well at restaurants.  After the pig starter, I had very high expectations.  I was a little surprised by the presentation.  Instead of the traditional crouton and bubbly cheese on top, the broth was “naked” and served along-side a small quesedilla-like grilled cheese sandwich.  While I prefer the traditional presentation, I can appreciate that they were doing something different.  Unfortunately, something went horribly wrong with this soup.  My first bite was more fat than broth and left a greasy feeling in my mouth.  Further inspection revealed a large oil slick on top of the soup.  I don’t mean a teaspoon or two of truffle oil, I mean a large quantity of oil.  It was so bad that I’m convinced this is not the way the soup is meant to be served, but rather some sort of mistake.

Oakley's Bistro French Onion Soup

For the entree, our server recommended the meatloaf.  I’ve had some really upscale meatloaf dishes recently (such as the Filet Mignon meatloaf at Tavern on South) so I had high hopes.  I was disappointed again.  The flavor of the meat was bland and the chile jam and white cheddar were overpowering.  Even with the accompanying potatoes and vegetables and the artistic presentation, this quite simply was not worthy of the $22 price tag.

Oakley's Bistro Meatloaf

The tilapia with sweet corn risotto was one of the better tilapia dishes I’ve had.  I really enjoyed the sweetness and texture of the risotto, but it was just a bit undercooked.  And the flavors with the tilapia–sun dried tomato puree, morels and hazelnuts were pure genius.  I could have loved this dish if it weren’t for the fact that the tilapia was a bit overcooked.  The whole thing left me feeling like Goldilocks with nothing being “just right”.

Oakley's Bistro Tilapia

Taking the french onion soup out of the equation, the food at Oakley’s is quite good, but not good enough to justify the price.  I give Oakley’s Bistro an overall rating of 2.25.  Here’s the breakdown:

Deliciousness = 2.25

Ambiance = 2.75

Quality of Service = 2.5

Bang for Your Buck = 1.5

Overall Dining Experience = 2.25

Oakley's Bistro on Urbanspoon


10 Responses to “Artistic Fare Oakley’s Bistro”

  1. Jill August 1, 2011 at 11:10 PM #

    It’s hard to take this review seriously when you very obviously didn’t proofread before you published it–was the tilapia over-cooked or under-cooked?

    There are not many people in Indianapolis who don’t think this is a top-notch restaurant. Perhaps you ought to give this place another visit??

    • Theresa Johnson August 2, 2011 at 12:03 AM #

      Thanks for the comment, Jill. You must have read too quickly though. I stated that the risotto was under-cooked and the tilapia was over-cooked. Hence the Goldilocks reference.

      I appreciate you reading and taking the time to help me improve my writing.

      • Jill August 2, 2011 at 3:24 PM #

        Oh my gosh, I totally apologize. I thought you were the one needing to be called out, when really it was me. Next time I’ll be the one to proof-read 🙂

        I still believe that Oakley’s is one of Indy’s best restaurants. I hope you went on an off night and that your experience isn’t a sign of the restaurant’s downward slide.

      • Theresa Johnson August 2, 2011 at 7:04 PM #

        Jill, as I re-read that paragraph, I think I could have written it better. I can see why it was a little confusing.

        I really do hope it was a fluke night because I love having restaurants like this in Indy, particularly on the west side. I will try again and hopefully I will be able to write a glowing review.

  2. Erin August 2, 2011 at 9:39 AM #

    Hey Theresa, we have a gift certificate from my hubby’s birthday for Oakley’s and I have been dying to go there. We have been there once before and it was really good. I’m bummed you had a not-so-good experience and hope that it was a fluke and ours is better!! It happens I guess, but sometimes rave reviews don’t translate to everyone, that’s why we all get our own opinions 🙂 PS – love the Goldilocks reference.

    • Theresa Johnson August 2, 2011 at 7:02 PM #

      I hope it was an off-night too, Erin! I know that anyone can have a bad night so I will definitely go again.

  3. wibia August 2, 2011 at 4:23 PM #

    Been there a million times and one of my favorites here in town. Maybe an off night. Regardless, they have the best soups in the city, crazy creative, and service is always top notch. It is worth another try.

    • Theresa Johnson August 2, 2011 at 7:06 PM #

      I’m definitely in the minority with this one! Maybe the next time I go, I will be more impressed. Although I think as reviewers, we’re always going to have one of those “I just don’t get it” restaurants. You know, the one that everyone loves and you want to love but just can’t? Only more visits will tell if this is going to be that restaurant for me.

  4. lorand August 4, 2011 at 11:35 AM #

    Perhaps a bit less in the minority….I used to love this place…but…I find the dishes to be way too salty..even asking no added salt..or final seasoning. I have taken a recently non-smoking young lady who also commented on the saltiness of the food…generally smokers tend to season more than non-smokers.

    I have to agree with the un-eveness of the dishes in terms of “doneness”….if either are even words !

    I still go on occasion…but not weekly as I did many years ago.

    This place..along with Mesh…1001 (whatever its called) Northside Social..Usual Suspects…The Meridian are among my “just don’t get its”

    • Theresa Johnson August 4, 2011 at 12:38 PM #

      Lorand, it’s good to hear there’s at least one person out there who doesn’t think I’m completely crazy!

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