Bringing out the best in prime beef

Oak Steakhouse

950 Third St., Alpharetta. 678-722-8333, $$$$

1 of 4 stars [good]

This handsome new Alpharetta restaurant, a second location for a popular Charleston cow palace, has made a smart choice in focusing its steak menu on a few excellent cuts. Order both a dry-aged and wet-aged steak, and you will be treated to a master class in searing, seasoning and how time can bring out the best funk in prime beef.

Once you move beyond steaks, Oak Steakhouse seems to be a good, rather than great, restaurant. The kitchen tries to balance steakhouse indulgence with modern luxury and a Southern sense of place. It can dish out great pleasure in rich, bubbly oysters Rockefeller, smoky with the inimitable taste of Benton’s bacon, or a bibb lettuce wedge salad showered with marbles of Georgia blue cheese.

But braises and fish dishes don’t distinguish themselves, and seared foie gras with johnnycakes, cherry preserves and pecan crumble seems akin to a particularly rococo IHOP concoction.