as told to Whitney Wilde
5447 Highway 9, Felton
Sometimes a dog gets confused when the two-leggers talk—they just don’t all speak the same language—but there is no mistaking that Chef Sebastian Nobile (no-be-lay) speaks canine fluently. He has a passion for pooches, including his own, a Lab/Husky named Vanilla (in Spanish they say: va-nee-ya). He learned canine cuisine from his Italian grandfather who turned leftovers into soups for his dogs.
Chef Nobile is a very passionate person, and that’s why Oak Tree Ristorante is not just another Italian eatery. Born into an Italian family in Montevideo, Uruguay, Chef Nobile gets inspiration from his family and his world travels. He mixes things like wasabi, pineapple, tomatillos, basil, and chimichurri sauce from South America. My pack of people all say this is fusion at its best.
My nose tells me that everything here is fresh and familiar, yet enticingly exotic. A hamburger becomes Polpette di Manzo Naturale. An omelet is Salmone Affumicato: smoked salmon with zucchini and scallions. A BLT sandwich becomes a GLT: Guanciale, lettuce, tomato, and aioli on panini bread.
Chef Nobile calls himself a “fresh-flavor addict,” and Oak Tree’s menu changes seasonally to what is available locally. They use local suppliers and all organic local ingredients, with almost nothing processed. The meats are antibiotic-free, and naturally fed. The pasta, panini, sauces, and desserts are all homemade. Smoked fish or meats are done onsite.
I don’t mind that my human companions take their time on the newly remodeled patio that surrounds a giant oak tree. I imagine I am chasing scoiattolo (Italian squirrels). My friends sample wines from Italy and linger over desserts, like Gianduia Millefoglie, which is similar to baklava with a chocolate/hazelnut filling.
Chef Nobile is artistic, creative, spontaneous, and experimental; and he loves to learn about anything and everything. This is expressed in his menu for Oak Tree Ristorante. He cooks as if you are a guest in his home and on cold winter days, you can look forward to flavorful stews to keep you warm.
Don’t see what you want on the menu? Just ask. Chef Nobile will be happy to create something just for you—and maybe for your two-legged friends as well!