Steven Oakley doesn’t seem like the kind of chef to aspire to a “celebrity” prefix. But the veteran restaurateur found himself in the spotlight last summer, doing an episode of the Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay (and winning, by the way, with his restaurant’s popular shrimp corn dogs). It was the culinary version of a starlet being discovered at Schwab’s lunch counter on Sunset Boulevard: New diners rushed the quiet spot in a northside strip mall and became instant fans of the meticulous cookery. Only now, dishes that were once nearly tweezer-precise have relaxed a bit. Beef medallions under a shower of frizzled onions get more real estate on the plate. A thick pork chop lies atop bright green-apple sofrito, more glamorously disheveled than usual. And that shrimp corn dog, warm and crisp in a puddle of honey, is forever ready for its close-up.
NEW THIS YEAR
Sous chef Patrick MacWhorter, a Seattle transplant with a background in French restaurants, joined the team last fall. Keep an eye out for his in-house charcuterie, like a duck-and-fig terrine.
“We do a lot of personalized tasting menus and wine-paired dinners for customers who want something a little more creative.” — Steven Oakley, chef
1464 W. 86th St., 317-824-1231