Draper is the spitting image of suburbia, a land full of massive houses overrun by strip malls full of chain restaurants. It’s a place that’s not exactly known to have good food.
Er, maybe I should say: Draper wasn’t known for having good food. Past-tense.
Then Oak Wood Fire Kitchen in Draper opened its doors. Yes, it’s in a strip mall. Yes, it’s in the suburbs. And—surprisingly—yes, it serves good food.
The food is an eclectic mix of please-everyone favorites. There’s a whole range of pizzas, a list of salads, entrees like spaghetti, roasted chicken and salmon; there’s Sriracha-honey wings and sandwiches and even sliders. The menu is a undoubtedly all over the place, but that can be good news for indecisive groups who can’t pick a place to eat.
Even though the dishes don’t appear to be flavors you’d want to mix with each other across the board (nachos and salmon anyone?), the menu advises the small plates mentality of sharing everything among the table. Luckily, majority of my friends went the pizza route so sharing our dishes was more than complementary, it was more like a pizza medley.
The only pizza exception we ordered was the sliders. The meat ball sliders ($11) are stuffed with a house-made ball of beef and pork, topped with fresh mozzarella, a few basil leaves and doused in tomato sauce—true meaty deliciousness. The wood-oven pulled pork sliders ($10) are a bit sweeter, with a chipotle barbecue sauce dripping over the pulled pork, sweet and spicy coleslaw and onion strings. The onion strings were soggy, not crunchy, but the coleslaw meshed the flavors well.
They also have a veggie slider ($10) with goat cheese, roasted beets, arugula and caramelized onions. The fries were the real star of the sliders; crispy, crunchy and perfectly salty, they are served with a wonderful garlic aioli and an awesome Sriracha ketchup. (Order them as a starter for $6.)
The meatballs are served sans bun in a starter dish ($10), where they are also topped with mozzarella, basil and tangy tomato sauce. The tomato sauce and cheese combination also appears in the baked goat cheese appetizer ($9), served with a garlicky oak bread; a basic introduction to your meal.
The pizzas are created on a thin-crust with the beautiful balance of crispy thinness and fluffy crust, with slightly blackened bits on the bottom for flavor. They are a size larger than typical “personal pizzas” that could feed two people with sides. The Doña Chaya (pictured at top, $12) is a meat-lovers dream, topped with chorizo, luscious globs of mozzarella, asiago cheese and caramelized onions.
The White ($10) is a tomato sauce-less pie with a heaping of cheeses (mozzarella, Parmesan, asiago, ricotta) and garlic oil. It was less flavorful than the special, a red sauce-based pie piled with arugula, prosciutto, parmesan and ricotta cheeses. I love pizzas topped with salads, it’s like a side dish and main all in one!
Dessert options are much more refined, simplified into a Sweet Ricotta Dessert Pizza ($6) and Hot Cookie & Cream ($5). The chocolate chip cookie arrives in a scalding skillet, topped with vanilla ice cream and drenched in bubbling-hot chocolate and caramel sauce. It’s a sugar hit for sure, but not a bad burst of sugar to end your meal.
Go to Oak Wood Fire Kitchen for :: a casual meal of pizza (or a range of other dishes) and a glass of wine (or beer) in the far south end of the valley. Notes :: Open Monday – Thursday 11 am – 9 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am – 10 pm. Closed Sundays. Reservations are accepted for parties of 8 or more.