Chef Brad Wise’s newest restaurant, Fort Oak, is living up to expectations and giving Mission Hills residents a new local hot spot.
There’s something elemental about food cooked by fire. It’s kind of primal, I note. “That’s exactly what it’s like,” agrees Fort Oak’s executive chef, Brad Wise. The cooking grate wheels up to expose the inferno. Flames leap from logs at the hearth grill’s rear, and coals smolder beneath. Red oak creates a sweeter smoke flavor and an ideal coal bed, he explains. A Santa Maria-style handcranked wheel provides precision over heat and the Argentinian-esque grill grate supports proteins from land and sea. The custom-built setup is impressive, and it’s ground zero for Wise and business partner Steve Schwob’s newest neighborhood eatery. Scanning the heavy leather-bound menu, you’ll see oysters, hamachi poke, crab legs and seafood towers. Homemade apple butter simply made from apples, cinnamon and a long stew plays well with creamy burrata and sunchokes two ways: roasted and fried. And every table in the formal dining area is topped with a tempting loaf of bread (available for purchase): Think warm comforting slices of housemade sourdough, a slick of butter, sea salt crystals like fireworks and zero regrets. For dessert, executive pastry chef Jeremy Harville’s treats are something to linger over. The cannoli cones are piped with apricot jam, a dab of nutty ice cream and sprinkled with sea salt, just one of many thoughtful and well-balanced details threaded throughout Fort Oak’s dining experience. 1011 Fort Stockton Drive, 619.722.3398
Photography by: Jim Sullivan