My girlfriend and I went to brunch at Oak on the East Side 2 weekends ago and I felt strongly compelled (well, not that strongly, it took 2 weeks) to come on here and vent about it. Be warned that the two of us take food very seriously-maybe too seriously-and this review definitely reflects that. Here goes:
I had fairly high hopes for Oak after hearing good things from a friend and this board, but I'm also a West Side resident and very serious devotee of Nick's on Bway, which has pretty much the most perfect brunch I've found not just in providence, but anywhere. I have never found a significant flaw in a meal there, and I stop in somewhat regularly. The point being that any brunch i eat in providence is going to be compared to nick's
We knew from the moment we walked in that the feeling of the place was all wrong. Horrible, schmaltzy music, totally dead atmosphere, studiously disinterested servers and little plastic creamers for coffee (fine in a diner, not at a nice restaurant) rather than actual milk were all good indications. But for some reason, we stuck it out and ordered. Big mistake.
First of all (and this is more a pet peeve than a real complaint), when they have a "special breakfast sandwich" that I'm supposed to ask about, they had better not stare blankly at me and then retreat into the kitchen, only to return and mutter "egg and cheese with, um, ham or bacon." that is the least special sandwich I have ever heard of.
Second, when they advertise corned beef hash as "Oak Corned Beef Hash," implying that it is in some way special or unique to their restaurant, it better not taste like it came from a can--and be poorly prepared, even for canned hash. Again, understandable in a diner, not at Oak. (and if it's not canned, all the worse: they should save their time and buy it canned instead.)
Third, I don't know much about eggs benedict (not my thing) but my girlfriend said that the sauce on hers in no way resembles hollandaise. The bread it came on (a protuguese bolo) was way too squishy to deal with the yolk and sauces, and the whole thing was a too-sweet, soggy mess.
The coffee was weak and flavorless. The eggs themselves were fine, but nothing to sway me either way (and I love a good egg). The potatoes were mediocre. The toast was crappy.
In the end, we were both very annoyed--it was a terrible start to our day. It wasn't that expensive, but it's not that cheap either, and it's pretentious to boot. It sucks to pay 10 bucks for a breakfast that lousy when I could have made a much better breakfast myself, and often do. Next time, that's what I'll do. Or I'll go to Nick's.