|Ramen at White Oak Tavern|
White Oak is a casual bar and grill trying to push seasonal dishes and farm-to-table ideas on Rte 40 in Ellicott City. It's working a middle ground with aspirations for high-end meals, but a casual feel a little less expensive that a meal in DC or Baltimore.
|Coming soon to Rte 40|
This is part of a "Surprise" series that I'm writing as I try to start blogging again. Come back for more in the next few days.
A real restaurant reviewer would focus on the delicious broth. A ramen expert could explain why that savory liquid paired so well with the tender noodles. But I'm going to tell you about the pork belly.
It was the best pieces of pork belly that I've ever had in my life.
Slightly crisp, Rich pork flavor. No fattiness. It was firm like a piece of meat, and it reminded me why pork belly has been a craze. With a really good beer and the brussels sprout appetizer, it was as good a meal as I remember eating this year. Now, it was a pricey bowl. I don't remember exactly, but it was an out-to-eat dinner price like $15-25. Absolutely worth the price, but entirely fair to compare it with the equally-fun ramen at Matcha Time in Ellicott City.
|Ramen at Matcha Time|
Uma Uma sounds like a place that Lil' Chow will love -- soup, noodles, rice and chicken. They're between Lighthouse Tofu and Boston Chicken on the north side of Rte 40. When you check them out, walk around the corner for dessert at Tous Les Jours. That French bakery by way of Seoul has great pastries, coffees, drinks and a great atmosphere to hang out.
But back to the White Oak dinner, my friend and I had a really good night. It's a basic decor, more like Frisco Tap House than Aida Bistro. But they're pushing for really interesting food, and the place impresses me. I'd love to hear if other people can comment below with recommended dishes or reports about dinners at White Oak.
Folks have been emailing me about the Uma Uma sign. I appreciate them all. I'd love to hear from folks if they see it is open or (even better) if they get to try the food.