At just 34-years old, Restaurateur Nancy Batista-Caswell, proprietor of Ceia Kitchen + Bar and BRINE located in Newburyport, Massachusetts, announced the opening of her highly anticipated third restaurant, Oak + Rowan, in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood. The concept is set to open November 4 and is helmed by Executive Chef Justin Shoults, longtime chef at Batista-Caswell’s BRINE and Ceia Kitchen + Bar, and Executive Pastry Chef Brian Mercury, formerly of Harvest in Cambridge.
“Boston has no shortage of talented chefs and visionaries, and we’re excited to put our own stamp on the city’s dynamic culinary landscape,” says Batista-Caswell. “By establishing ourselves in the city, we’re able to extend our signature Newburyport hospitality and unparalleled devotion to quality food and wine to a larger scope of people, and we feel fortunate that this community has been so gracious and welcoming.”
Among her many achievements, Batista-Caswell was named one of FSR’s Rising Stars.
Executive Chef Justin Shoults, a Zagat “30 Under 30” honoree, will bring the heart and soul of Caswell Restaurant Group to Boston diners through small plates and larger-format options that showcase land and sea in a new light.
“It’s been an honor working alongside Nancy at her restaurants in Newburyport, and I’m excited to introduce Caswell Restaurant Group’s devotion to exceptional food and service to Boston,” says Shoults. “Our food is thoughtful, exciting, and utilizes the best ingredients available, and we look forward to feeding the city.”
His menu features composed seafood dishes and hearty options like prime steak, an array of crudos, and an elevated domestic and international caviar program served by sample or by the ounce in classic and untraditional sets, along with rustic, housemade pastas and a focus on utilizing great, locally-sourced produce.
SQUID INK FARFALLE—Pheasant, Uni, Lemon
BONE-IN RIBEYE—Bone Marrow Bread Pudding, Charred Broccoli
HALIBUT POKÉ—Egg Yolk, Turnip, Shallot, White Sturgeon Caviar
A meal at Oak + Rowan is not complete without one of Executive Pastry Chef Mercury’s desserts. The award-winning chef, who holds titles including Food & Wine “People’s Choice Best New Pastry Chef, East Region,” focuses on seasonal ingredients, locality, and redefining the modern New England table.
“We want guests to experience a sense of comfort and nostalgia, while also presenting them with modern interpretations of classics,” he says. “Our goal is to find the right balance between accessibility and wonderment, with a nod to New England that draws upon inspiration from Boston’s diverse cultures.”
His contributions to the menu include a selection of housemade ice creams and sorbets in unconventional flavors, such as Rosemary Pine Nut and Sweet Potato, as well as a comprehensive, rotating bread and butter program and savory accompaniments for Oak + Rowan’s caviar.
EVERYTHING SQUASH SOURDOUGH—Kombu Butter
ROASTED APPLE—Hazelnut Financier, Privateer Rum, Brown Butter, Rooibos
CHOCOLATE TART—Malt, Chestnut, Olive Oil, Crème Fraiche
Oak + Rowan’s beverage program will help support the local community through craft beers and unique finds on the daily-rotating wine list, with a focus on small boutique and small production wineries that stand behind quality and quantity.
“Our main focus is on European and Domestic makers, but there's always room for something truly remarkable from an up-and-coming wine region, and beyond,” says Wine Director Mackenzie Campbell. “One of our core values is education. I would love for every one of our guests to leave having gained some bit of knowledge; it makes for a much more memorable experience. I strive to strip wine service of any pretension and feelings of insecurity, and to make it an enjoyable part of the dining equation.”
In keeping with the theme of education and guest interaction, patrons will be involved with the creation of customized cocktails via tableside liquor carts. Bar Manager Chris O’Neill also offers a selection of seasonal signature cocktails designed to complement Oak + Rowan’s sweet and savory dishes.
IV—AGED RUM, Amaro, Peach Balsamic Shrub
V—GINGER CIDER, Casis, Yellow Chartreuse, Bitters
VI—SCOTCH, Falernum, Grapefruit Liqueur, Ginger
For Oak + Rowan, Batista-Caswell is working closely with Sousa Design of Brookline to elegantly transform the raw 5,000-square-foot space into a comfortable dining destination similar to that of one’s home, expertly blending modern and historical elements with the use of oak, marble, glass, soft lighting, and the existing exposed brick that blends into the nearly floor to ceiling windows. Commandeering the space above the restaurant is 319A, providing 48 sophisticated, luxury loft-style living residences.
“The name Oak + Rowan is rooted, both literally and figuratively, in the fact that we are establishing ourselves in a new city,” says Batista-Caswell. “The space, while lofty and open, also maintains a cozy, safe feeling, which conjures up the idea of being in a tree house as a kid. Oak is also a symbol of strength and loyalty, while Rowan is linked to passion—all of which are essential to our Caswell team.”
Batista-Caswell continues to play an integral role in her two successful Newburyport restaurants, Ceia Kitchen + Bar and BRINE; as well as influence the overall dining scene of the area through her philanthropic contributions and as a driving force behind community chef-driven events.