Janessa and Chuck Stoltz spent a year renovating the 1936 structure that formerly housed the Lakeside Chalet on Lacamas Lake to create Acorn & the Oak. Then the pandemic hit. The restaurant finally opened for service on Mother’s Day. With COVID-19 restaurant limits lifted, this chic spot on the lake is ready for its close up.
Acorn & the Oak is an ode to the Midwestern supper clubs of yesteryear updated with personal touches from the owners, as well as Chef Michael Miyahara.
The place feels like a time warp. It mixes a 1930s structure with bits of 1960s glamour. Then it throws in oddities like photos of Jack Nicholson from “The Shining” and Bill Murray from “What About Bob.”
My date and I chose a spot on the outdoor patio with lake views. The evening began with house cocktails ($14) from the extensive drink list. I ordered Jobu’s Rum Punch — white and dark rum, pineapple, orange and lime juice with a dash of grenadine. My date chose “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”-inspired Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster made with vodka, lemon and grapefruit juices, aquafaba (a plant-based foam), thyme simple syrup, and a few dashes of bitters.
Next, we sampled the deviled eggs, called Eggs on Eggs ($10), which came elegantly plated and interspersed with arugula leaves and diced chives. On top of each carefully sculpted egg sat a dollop of glistening caviar.
The Classic Wedge Salad ($13) arrived with blue cheese, apple, red onion and crispy bacon all laced with a velvety avocado green goddess dressing.
Not Your Father’s Pork & Beans ($32) redefined the Midwestern mix of hot dogs and canned beans. Tender slices of pork tenderloin rubbed with a piquant spice mix perched atop creamy borlotti beans, all garnished with diced peaches and tomatoes. A salad of arugula and charred bits of corn completed the plate.
The Steak du Jour ($39) drew inspiration from the supper-club classic Steak Diane. It was topped with a velvety mushroom cream sauce spiked with sherry. On the side sat mashed potatoes and roasted broccolini that tasted even better swiped through the sauce.
At the end of the meal, the berry shortcake ($13) arrived layered with vanilla whipped cream, tender biscuits and fresh blackberries tossed with lemon zest and cinnamon.
To be sure to get a table, you should call ahead or make a reservation through Open Table. That way, you can also order custom flower bouquets (starting at $35) to sit on the table during your meal and then take home.
Afternoons tend to be less crowded. The menu from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. is limited to lighter dishes (like deviled eggs, burrata board and salad) but the full bar is open. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, the restaurant serves quarter-pound smash burgers topped with melted Gruyere and bacon jam, as well as Chuck’s Bloody Marys.
Parking is limited. If the parking lot at the restaurant is full, diners can use one of two nearby lots on Everett Street and 35th Avenue. The bright, sparkling experience offered by this lakeside Shangri-La is worth the hassle.