Cane Island's The Oaks reopens with new chef and updated menu

By Joselyn Hofer | Times Editorial Intern
Posted 7/27/20

The Oaks Kitchen and Bar, located in Cane Island, has reopened with a new executive chef. Kevin Callahan was named Executive Chef in the first week of May and has been working to give the restaurant …

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Cane Island's The Oaks reopens with new chef and updated menu

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The Oaks Kitchen and Bar, located in Cane Island, has reopened with a new executive chef. Kevin Callahan was named Executive Chef in the first week of May and has been working to give the restaurant a new image. In fact, the first thing he did when he joined the staff was change the menu, said Callahan.

“First thing I did when I got there was change the menu. I was just trying to put more focus on it. It was a little bit all over the place previously,” Callahan said.

With influences from New Orleans, Coastal Texas, and northern coastal areas of Mexico, Callahan has created a menu that he likes to think of as third coast cuisine. Some examples of this unique style of food are The Oaks most popular appetizers, Gulf Coast ceviche, and pork belly, said Callahan, with his favorite entrée being the potato crushed snapper.

“I think my favorite is going to be the snapper. It’s a potato crushed snapper that I butcher in house and basically, with cornstarch, I glue some potato brown rounds back onto fish, so it almost looks like fish scales, and then it has a Cajun spice or a Cajun butter as I like to call it,” Callahan said.

Before coming to The Oaks Kitchen and Bar, Callahan spent most of his time in Austin at a restaurant called the Roaring Fork. He’s been in the food service industry for 15 years and has spent 7 years working in the kitchen, first in Houston and then in Austin. It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that Callahan actually got in touch with The Oak’s manager, Adam Pettit, and joined the staff.

“I knew Adam was the general manager and one of the operating partners from years ago. We discussed even possibly doing this together from the very beginning, but I had an opportunity to go back to Austin, and it was just taking a little while to get off the ground. And then basically it was the restrictions on businesses during the pandemic that got us back in touch with each other,” Callahan said. 

As a native to the Katy area, Callahan knows what people in this community like to eat, he said, which is what makes his new menu stand out amongst other restaurants.

“I've been working through (the) Austin and Houston areas for a long time. So, I know the food that a lot of this community really enjoys to eat, and how to focus on that. I'm always going to be bringing in the freshest ingredients that I can possibly use,” Callahan said.

Located within the Cane Island community at 2100 Cane Island Parkway, The Oaks Kitchen and Bar is open daily Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., practicing safe dining and cooking hygiene. All chefs are required to wear masks and sanitize equipment while in the kitchen and all waiters must do the same.

Correction: Multiple corrections to the names of dishes and regional cuisine have been appended in this document compared to the print edition's version fo the story.

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