In May, we launched our site with our friend Chef Brittany Rescigno winning Chopped. Since then, we’ve followed her accomplishments. At Nom Burger, she re-created the three-course meal that won Chopped. Now, in collaboration with Oak & Rye’s Angelo Womack and Ross Hanson, her adventure continues.
Oak & Rye is a family-owned restaurant in Los Gatos, CA, owned by Ross Hanson and his sibling Dana Bunker. It is known for its delicious pizza, from traditional Margherita to more unconventional selections like the Coach Goni, which features buttermilk ranch drizzled on top, or the Cortéz, featuring chorizo and jalapenos.
Oak & Rye has a late-eighties-early-nineties aesthetic, from vinyl album covers and old movie posters as decor on their walls, to a bathroom that is lit exclusively by blacklight. As you sit down on the toilet, a tiny television plays cult favorite movies like Labyrinth, The Goonies, The Princess Bride and more. The tables at Oak & Rye remind me of a school’s cafeteria, community style seating by the bar [Ed. note: did your school cafeteria have a bar?], picnic tables outside on the patio and smaller tables inside the restaurant. The brick pizza oven and prep station are visible and open on the second level, where Mr. Wine Cutie and I are seated with a view of the chefs in action as dinner begins.
The first two courses of the night are Italian Street Corn Ribs [Ed. note: full menu reproduced below.] and Cucumber-Melon Gazpacho, both paired with a 2007 Laurent-Perrier, Brut. As we begin the second course, the sommelier explains the wine pairing. We ask about the first course, as the champagne did not pair all that well with the corn ribs. She explains that they decided to use the same wine for the first two courses. A second wine would pair with courses three and four. After that, the wine would come rapidly, one glass per course.
That made sense, as the champagne paired perfectly with the gazpacho. She explained that the champagne would help bring out the melon and cucumber flavors from the gazpacho. She was spot on, it was a phenomenal pairing!
The next two courses were the Hand-Cut Pasta and Sourdough Panzanella, both paired with cider, a 2016 Isastegi Sargardo Naturala from Tolosa, Spain. The pasta was by far my favorite dish of the night. The simplicity of the pasta was delicious. My mouth waters thinking about the poppy seeds elevating the texture of this dish. One thing I know for sure is, “more please!”
I’m not a cider fan, as I don’t care for the sweetness. However, this cider is the most interesting cider I’ve ever had. It was funky and acidic, not sweet at all. The cider was bottled with a cork instead of screw top, which I found so cool. The somm explained that once you open the bottle, you should flip the cork over and insert it back into the bottle, enabling it to become an aerator. She added, make sure when pouring the cider, to start up high to get the full effect of aeration.
The next two courses are Cheese Arancini paired with a 2016 Thomas Fogarty chardonnay and 24 Hour Pork Belly paired with a 2016 Loimer, Ried Seeberg riesling. A Pizza Slice follows, paired with a 2012 Fontezoppa, Falcotto, Serrapetrona DOC. This is the first time I’ve ever had a Serrapetrona. It complemented the cherry tomato and basil in the pizza. Yum!
The last savory course of the evening was Surf N Turf Tortelloni paired with a 2014 Chateau Brane-Cantenac, Grand Cru, Margaux. This wine highlighted the saltiness of the smoked salmon roe. I personally enjoyed this wine both on its own and with the course.
Sadly, there were only two desserts! [Ed. note: Sad trombone.] A Blueberry Tartlet and a Chocolate & Vanilla Panna Cotta are both paired with a 2018 Marchesi Di Gresy, Moscato D’Asti DOCG. The wine was sweet, but not syrupy-sweet, more sweet from the fruit flavors.
The wine was on point paired with the Blueberry Tartlet. I was in love with the crust of the tartlet and how there were whole blueberries on the bottom! The wine’s sweetness played off of the blueberries’ tartness and the tartlet’s butteriness.
The Chocolate & Vanilla Panna Cotta was also really good with the moscato, or so I’m told by Mr. Wine Cutie, as I finished my wine before the second dessert arrived. I forgot the pairing was for both dessert courses. Mr. Wine Cutie said the moscato paired super well with the hazelnut cookie. On the other hand, he thought that the wine would not pair well with the Panna Cotta. To his surprise, while it wasn’t perfect, it was quite interesting. I’ll say it was a win for the sommelier who paired wines to most of the courses exceptionally well!
Until next time Cuties, keep tasting!