Name: Oaks Inn
Location: 122 Oak Hill Ave., Endicott, NY 13760
Phone: (607) 748-2764
Attire: Casual, maybe slightly more upscale than average
Price: $40 - $80 for two
So today was my 30th birthday, and I'd been hearing great things about a little place out in Endicott down the street from Consol's called the Oaks Inn. Now usually I'm the kind of guy who wants something familiar, something I know I'm going to like when it comes to special occasions such as these. But I decided to bite the bullet and try something new and figured a trip to Oaks Inn was in order. I had extremely high expectations for the place when I walked in the door and up the flight of stairs that lead to the restaurant. I am glad to report that Oaks Inn successfully exceeded my expectations in every possible way. My meal tonight was The Best I have ever had in the Binghamton area. It goes without saying that we will be returning regularly for future visits.
Oaks Inn is located a block north of Watson Blvd. on Oak Hill Ave. in the Little Italy neighborhood of Endicott. An old-timey sign points to its entrance. Parking is a little tough to come by. There's a small lot adjacent to the restaurant which had no available parking, so we had to park up the street a fair distance. Upon entering the building you have to walk up a flight of stairs to get to the restaurant. It's kind of like the Number 5 in Binghamton in that regard, where the main dining area is also upstairs. Once entering the second floor there's a bar straight ahead that looks like a relic from a bygone era. The place reminded me of the sort of place you'd see in The Godfather or The Sopranos, very old-fashioned and traditional with wood paneling on the walls. We had called a couple days prior for reservations and were seated immediately upon arriving, where our table was already prepared with ice water in the glasses and a basket of fresh Italian bread, served with olive oil and parmesan cheese. This provided a good start to the meal.
We ordered wine and the shrimp scampi appetizer, which was truly phenomenal. I think next time we go, Megan will be ordering the shrimp scampi for her entree, she absolutely loved it, as did I.
There it is, shrimp smothered in butter and garlic. These shrimp are not all that dissimilar from the scampi at the yet-to-be-reviewed Lampy's, but I think I prefer these. Garlicky excellence.
Dinner came with salad and a side of pasta (you can get the homemade pasta for just an additional dollar). The salad was good, I enjoyed the house Italian dressing. Blah blah, enough about salad. Best to move on to the main course.
I ordered the Chicken Saltimbocca.
This was an excellent decision. This dish consisted of chicken covered with cheese and wrapped in prosciutto in a buttery wine sauce with mushrooms. I was blown away by how perfect it was. I do not believe it could have been any better. I am really at a loss for words to express how good it was. This picture really doesn't do it full justice. I highly recommend this dish, to say the least, and the side of homemade angel-hair pasta was excellent. I really enjoyed the pasta and the red sauce. It is the closest to the pasta and sauce I used to get at Visaggio's growing up in the Harrisburg, PA area, which I have long-considered the gold standard of great Italian food and which, for a time, was regularly ranked among the top Italian restaurants in the country. In fact, Oaks Inn reminded me of a more quaint, less mannered Visaggio's. That won't mean anything to most who read this, but if you're ever in the Harrisburg area, check out Visaggio's...you won't be disappointed.
Megan ordered her default dish, the Chicken Parmigiana. She wanted to compare it to the Chicken Parm she got last weekend at Cacciatore's.
I tried it and thought it compared favorably, it was excellent. Megan said she would have a hard time choosing between the two, perhaps preferring the red sauce at Cacciatore's. As you can see, they give you a pretty massive portion that will be feeding us again for another meal over the weekend. Definitely an added bonus.
After the meal I got an Irish Coffee, which I enjoyed, and we split the Peanut Butter Pie. It was served frozen with whipped cream and was excellent.
Yet another excellent addition to the meal and certainly a dessert I would order again.
Based on this experience, Oaks Inn immediately vaults to the very top of my list of area restaurants. The place has a really authentic feel to it that adds to its charm. The waitress was enthusiastic and attentive and did a great job. The food was fantastic from the very first bite to the very last. As a bonus, the price is extremely reasonable and the portions are enormous. It's rare for a place to live up to such high expectations, but Oaks Inn certainly did and then some. For all the talk of Consol's being the best Italian restaurant in the Southern Tier, it's really kind of funny that it's not even the best on its own street. Frankly, it's a joke by comparison.