Perhaps the best example of perfectly-cooked tentacles is from Oak Hill Post, a new neighborhood haunt in Brookline. The braised octopus — treated so well that all I could write down in my notes was three exclamation points in a row — can be found paired with handmade, stuffed tortelloni (beefed-up tortellini), Italian sausage, potatoes, brodo, and Grana Padano cheese.
Oak Hill Post, nicknamed “O,HI,” and run by Christian Schulz and Rebecca Nicholson of the pop-up Menuette, was originally meant to be a brick-and-mortar for the former pop-up series. But Schulz told Pittsburgh City Paper in August that he and Nicholson felt “there wasn’t a place for Menuette” in a pandemic world, so they “started over.”
Though I loved Menuette — I was lucky enough to snag food from them early in the pandemic before their rebrand — Oak Hill was created to be a direct response to community and industry needs. Their food, rivaled at any high-end restaurant in the city, is affordable, and they are a no-tipping establishment. Schulz told City Paper they chose to be a Post, rather than an eatery or restaurant, to stay away from a “system that maybe does more harm than good.”
But Oak Hill, which offers a mix of sandwiches and pastas, a market option, and more on their ever-changing menu, has brought the innovation, quality, and excitement of Menuette with a smaller neighborhood feel.
Back to the pasta: it was incredible. Hearty discs of sausage added a hint of spice and gave body to the light octopus, further filled out by the hefty tortelloni (they were the size of small dumplings). Tang from the warm olives poked through the rich components around it, the simple broth giving just enough flavor to tie everything together.
To pair with my pasta — which was a play on one of Oak Hill’s opening-day sandwiches — I chose a beets-and-greens sandwich, pickled veggies, and frozen buttermilk biscuits.
The sandwich, layered with thick, purple-bleeding beets, arugula, rapini, marinated olives, gribiche (a creamy, more-flavorful-than, but similar to mayo sauce), and boursin cheese, was placed on incredible bread. The slices were just bubbly enough to soak in the sauce and beet juice, but with crusty, salty edges. I was initially afraid the beets would be too earthy and take over the whole sandwich, but the bitter greens and creamy spreads balanced the tender root, spiking the sandwich with herby, peppery flavors.
(I was too focused on the pasta to finish the sandwich — it was even better the next day when the flavors really started to soak into every corner.) The Oak Hill at Home market is one of my favorite things Schulz and Nicholson offer. It’s filled with locally-sourced, high-quality items, including fresh pasta and sauces they make in-house, ready to cook at home.
Frozen biscuits and pickled veggies were my market choices. Even a bit squished from a brake-slamming incident on my drive home, they puffed right up in the oven. A tangy lemon curd cut through the rich, buttery layers. My container of pickled veggies lasted me only two days. The mix threw in a few surprises — Brussels sprouts, for one — and I ate them with everything.
Needless to say, I can’t wait to see what Oak Hill brings to the table next.
Oak Hill Post. 600 Brookline Blvd., Brookline. oakhillpost.com