The much acclaimed Oakwood Club has been a mainstay of the finer things in south Dayton for 50 years. Classy and elegant, you already know you’re in for a great experience once you set foot into the low-lit interior, glimpse the rich polished wood bar and the intimate recesses where Dayton’s food lovers converge. Grab a drink and expect to wait – especially around the holidays – but prepare to be impressed by what you taste. There’s a good reason this place has existed for so long, and you’re about to discover it.
Oakwood Club epitomizes fine dining; specializing in the richest seafood and premium cuts of meat. The filet mignon, choice-cut beef, is seared perfectly. Made to order though meant to be eaten rare, it’s topped with just a little salt and pepper to highlight the natural flavor of the meat without overwhelming the senses. The lamb chops, another top-notch dinner item, get similar treatment: the club isn’t trying to spice up these dishes or douse them in sauce or seasoning. It’s presenting them as they are. It’s a real credit to the Club that, when it comes down to it, they just know how to make a good steak, and treat the top-notch ingredients well, and in a simple way that highlights why they’re considered so prime to begin with.
The side dishes are also great. Simple items like the hash, simple potatoes grilled into a patty, or the mashed sweet potatoes, are again exercises in minimalist elegance. Season them if you want, but they’re good plain, as well. Then there are the more interesting side items like the Carpaccio, a bruschetta-like crisp mixture of capers, fresh chopped tomatoes and a little cheese. It’s a simple appetizer, but it’s no less impressive.
To drink, I highly recommend one of the custom martinis or other drinks. Oakwood Club has great options for these, whether you enjoy them at the bar or with your meal you’ll definitely want to give them a try. The massive wine and beer selection boasts some local and international gems, too.
Dayton mainstays like this one exist in a league all of their own, sustained by decades of impressed customers and living on a nightly standard of excellence. You pass by places like this one a lot and might not think very much of them, but then you walk in and discover what you’ve been missing. This place is a true Gem City diamond.
- If you can get reservations, I suggest them. I first came here on a Tuesday night in early December. I waited an hour for a table. People love this place, so it’s regularly full.
- Oakwood Club specializes in a very romantic simplicity with its food; you won’t find a good steak doused with sauce or spices. It will be perfectly cooked to serve packed with its natural flavors.
- It might go without saying, but the club tends to attract a distinctly older crowd and couples. I highly suggest it for a date.