Chef/owner Nick Krunkkala of Oscar’s New American in Yarmouth just celebrated his first year as a restaurant owner last month. While the small-plate-focused eatery is packed on the weekends, Krunkkala admits he’s needed to think creatively about how to attract a bigger crowd on weeknights.
So far, one of his ideas – and based on the eclectic, yet thoughtful menu, this guy has some really good ideas – includes a bar-only special that features $5 wines by the glass and $5 appetizers.
But before you go looking at the wine list – a generous catalog that plays heavy on malbecs and cabernets – ask the bartender which wines they’re featuring for the $5 deal. For now, there will be one red and one white available from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday at the bar, which seats about 12.
As for $5 bar-only appetizers, braised mushrooms, fried pickles and potatoes bravas were recently featured. Each appetizer was a substantial portion – bar-goers could easily order all three to share with a guest and feel satisfied. And if you’re still hungry, in a hurry, or on a budget (Oscar’s entrees average about $24, including a $17 burger), the signature popcorn bowls are also $5 each, filling and tasty.
While the wine list is robust, the cocktail menu is brief, with just three offerings and one special daily cocktail. All $12, the cocktails are way better than your average, made well with classy ingredients and often garnished with fresh sprigs of thyme or rosemary.
The Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, prepared with Bulleit bourbon, Benedictine, lemon, orange maple and bitters is nearly perfect for fall. There’s also the White Pear, which is built with Grey Goose La Poire, St. Germaine, lime and red pear. And the third on the menu is the Smoked Maple Manhattan, with Knob Creek’s smoked maple bourbon, black walnut bitters and a cherry liqueur.
The atmosphere at Oscar’s is not necessarily cozy – the ceilings are really high and bolted with ugly track lamps – but is helped by dark furniture, dim lighting, fresh flowers, and the warm glow from the open kitchen at the farthest end of the restaurant.
Service at Oscar’s is good but can be somewhat stiff and subdued, which is a stark contrast to the food and drinks – both of which capture capture Krunkkala’s expertise and ingenuity, but the service at the bar didn’t necessarily match.
Starting this week, Krunkkala plans to rotate in a few more Spanish wines and any new specials or discounts will be updated on their Facebook page.
Oscar’s is a great option for people looking for upscale food and drink without the huge price tag. If Krunkkala keeps running specials like the $5 wine and appetizers, there’s really no excuse to feel like there aren’t affordable options for quality food.
WHERE: 305 US Route 1
HOURS: 5-9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Closed Sunday and Monday
SPECIALS: $5 wines by the glass and $5 appetizers Tuesday to Thursday
AMENITIES: One TV, cloth towels in the bathroom, comfortable bar seating
BOTTOM LINE: An elegant small-plate-focused restaurant on Route 1 in Yarmouth, Oscar’s is a place to find high quality food and drink for a fair price, good service and creative nightly specials.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE: Yes