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New Restaurants in Tulsa, Oklahoma

A few weeks ago, the Tulsa World published their annual list of best restaurants reviewed in 2006. Here it is:

Dandy dozen for '06
1. Michael V's. An eclectic charmer and sister restaurant to the also-excellent Back Street Bistro.
2. Brasserie Restaurant & Bar. French-styled stunner.
3. Kampai Lounge. Curl up on a bed or sofa with Asian small plates and a sake.
4. Bonefish Grill. First chain ever to make Top 5.
5. Prive. Part restaurant. Part nightclub. All good.
6. Sand Springs Station. Get on down the Line.
7. Joyner's Home Cooked Food. Willie Mae can flat-out cook.
8. Heyka's Heimut (Broken Arrow). Guten appetit to the German chef.
9. Sushi Train. Korean entrees make it special.
10. Chopsticks. Traditional Chinese. Friendly service.
11. Andolini's (Owasso). Spicy mix of pizzas, entrees and premium beers.
12. Islamorado Fish Co. (Broken Arrow). Fine food. Lake view.

I've been to two of those places so far.

Sand Springs Station is lovely, It is in a spacious room with an old pressed tin ceiling, and my mom's neighbor said that she had waited for many a trolley there back 50 years ago. It has been thoroughly and elegantly modernized. Almost every entree is $12 or less. I had the sea bass. A fresh, perfectly cooked filet that looked bland on the plate but was redolent with thyme, capers, and Chardonnay, served with orzo also coated with Chardonnay. The desserts, $5.75, are calorie-busting home-baked pies and cakes. Yes, if you're in New York at a place with $30 entrees you can do far better, but a restaurant as pleasant as this a few minutes from downtown Tulsa (at 28 E Broadway, Sand Springs, next to the police station) is worth a visit. Or many visits.

My feelings about Michael V's is mixed. It's way south, at 103 near Memorial. Charming room, woefully understaffed. My entree, Veal Oscar was somewhat disappointing. A good classic sauce, but too little of it, and the crab, asparagus and veal got jumbled together. Overpriced at $21. The soup was good, the desserts, about $6, were bigger than the entree and delicious. If I went again, I'd get a cheaper, simple entree... or maybe just apps and dessert.

I should note that I visited Islamorado last year, and it was quite good... far better than I expected since it's a chain attached to the enormous Bass Pro Shop.

Have you been to any of these places? If I visit more, I'll post my report here.

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  1. When I was in Tulsa a month ago, I saw this list & was intrigued. I didn't have the time to check out these new restaurants, but I hope to next time I'm in town. Brasserie seemed to be getting a lot of press, so I imagine it'll stick around. As for Islamorado, my family visited it and enjoyed it, but the idea made my nose wrinkle ( the connection to Bass Pro brought out the skeptic in me). Good to hear that you like it, too.

    Sadly, there aren't a lot of Tulsans on Chowhound, so I fear you won't get much of a response to your post, but don't let that hold you back. I, for one, would enjoy any more reports you may have on the Tulsa dining scene.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RoseViolet

      Thanks! I've done a few long posts on Tulsa... you might enjoy them. Most of the info is still valid, except that Family Diner has moved.

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/140283

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/139859

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/313245

    2. I hadn't seen this list, and I haven't been to a SINGLE one of these. I will be looking for reports. Are any of these near downtown?

      1. My husband and I went to Chopsticks (61st & Sheridan) and loved it. It was reasonably priced and the food was excellent. As an appetizer, they serve edamame and peanuts. We ordered spring rolls and egg drop soup, as well as our meals and drinks. With tip, we still spent under $30. The service is great and the atmosphere was relaxing. I would highly recommend it!

        1. I just got back from dinner at Heyka's Heimat (misspelled above), 1109 N Elm Pl, near the Elm Pl exit on the Broken Arrow Expressway. The owner came to Tulsa from Germany, married the owner of a Mexican restaurant and now, decades later, decided to open a place showcasing her country's cooking. And it's a good showcase. The mushroom app was lovely, and so was my entree, sauerbraten. The meat itself was slightly disappointing (I think sauerbraten often is) but the delicate yet piquant sauce was wonderful, as were the sides of red cabbage and spaetzle (fried in egg and butter, yum!) And, at $10, the sauerbraten was the most expensive thing on the menu! Entrees start at $7 -- and yes, the portions are big -- and are an array of German classics.

          http://heykasheimat.com/

          1. I have eaten at Sushi Train several times and I love it! It is wonderful. The plates range from $1.45 to $2.95. You can sit at the bar and eat off of the train or sit in a booth and eat off of the train or order from the menu. It is delicious and very affordable.

            1. I've never been able to find good Chinese food in Tulsa -- or even food that was more than barely edible. (Except at the chains PF Chang and Pei Wei) That's why when I saw a Chinese place on the list, I was eager to try it. We went tonight. I ordered the Tofu and Seafood Hot Pot, one of those lovely dishes simmered in a clay pot that I love to order in NY but have never seen here. Lots of shrimp and squid over tofu cubes in a rich brown sauce in a clay pot. Yes, I've had better in NY, much MUCH better, but this is the best I've had in Tulsa, and it is the real deal.

              Chopsticks, 6193 E 61 St , 488-8368

              1 Reply
              1. re: Brian S

                Brian, I tried Pei Wei's for the first time a few weeks ago and liked it, simple bowl of noodles and not as good as the ex-long john silvers Pho place on Classen in OKC, but pefectely decent for a shopping lunch. My boyfriends family likes to meet at Tei Kei's for gatherings, and it is ok but I've never had a great meal there. Never been to PF Chang's.

                If you haven't explored "Little Saigon" in OKC, it is worth a daytrip. I wouldn't bother with the Lido, though. I took a student to lunch there this week (campus visit to OCU), she's Vietnamese and it was a dining destination for her family for years. However, she was the only Asian dining, and as we left she said "man, I felt like I shoulda been waiting tables". Next time we are eating at the deli area of the new supermarket nearby (the one with the neon palm trees).

              2. I just got back from Joyner's Home Cooked Food. Food so good you'll jump up and slap yourself, as they say around here. It's a tiny place with seven tables and the owner comes over, sits with you, talks as long as you like. Then he takes your order. It's a long wait since everything is cooked to order. Worth the wait. I got fried pork chop and fried catfish. It looked boring when it came but in taste it was anything but. The pork chop was succulent and juicy and the thick crusty batter added to the flavor. Ditto for the catfish, though the batter was entirely different. The sides -- I got blackeyed peas with okra and green beans cooked in bacon -- were excellent too, as was the homemade pecan pie that topped off the meal.

                "It's just like my grandma used to make!" exclaimed one lady I was with. "I'm in heaven!" She was from Georgia and that was about the highest compliment she could give.

                Joyner's Home Cooked Food Restaurant
                8151 E 21 St
                622-5003
                open ONLY Thurs through Sun

                1. This place is not new and not a restaurant and it's not quite in Tulsa, but if you want the best pies in the world (or at least pies so good you won't care if there's a better pie somewhere in Nepal or wherever) go to Ropp's. Ropp's is an Amish bakery (no electric ovens) located among the farms between Inola and Chouteau. A lot of Tulsa residents make the drive over these rural roads. so they sell out fast. I got a coconut cream pie and I was hoping to try a second piece today but somebody in the house ate the whole darn pie during the night!

                  Ropp's Farm & Bakery. (918) 476-8777. 9768 S 429, Chouteau, OK It's right near highway 412.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Brian S

                    Also in the area is an incredible source of ribeye steak and ham.The farmland east of Inola, Oklahoma is a Mennonite region, with a few Amish folk (a sect of Mennonites) thrown in. Out on old highway 33 is a farm where the family has a small business raising pigs, fed on corn (and cattle too). They kill the pigs and smoke the ham. We had one today for Easter. It was perhaps the best ham I've ever eaten (not counting Smithfield, which is totally different). The name of the business is Unrau Meat. (918) 543-8245

                    1. re: Brian S

                      For my money, the best pies are from Coleman's in Okmulgee, just a short half hour drive south. I go at lunch for a burger and a slice of pie. Of course, then I get one to come home with me. But i will check out your suggestion. I always spend money with the Amish ladies when they are selling their goods at the Sand Spring Herb Festival. I like the Blackberry pie.

                      And speaking of pies, have you tried the fried pies at The Fried Pie store at 1005 Kenosha in Broken Arrow is pretty darned good also. Good enough I wish we had one in Midtown.

                      1. re: tiomano

                        I would call and check before you visit Coleman's. Last I heard it was shut down a few years ago. Apparently, they had rampant health violations that were well known to the local community. However, they had great burgers and the strawberry pie was delicious...

                        1. re: Jayne A

                          I have been there about 6 times in the last 4 months. The location has changed, they are no longer out on the highway. They are in downtown now. And the burgers and the Pies are excellent. I know nothing of any health violations. I do know they are very busy every time I have been there.

                    2. I have dined at the Brasserie many times and enjoy going there.
                      Bonefish Grill, I just do not understand why people think it is so great.
                      Prive, maybe I missed something on when I have dined there
                      Sand Springs Station, makes for a fun short out of town trip for lunch or dinner.
                      Joyners, Heyka's, and the Chopsticks are now on my list of places I must try soon.
                      Islamorada, I used to enjoy going to the first on at the Bass store in Islamorada.

                      Have you tried Tuck Curran's new Local Table? I was so glad to see a Fuddruckers go under in that location. They need to keep the chains all down south far away from Midtown.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tiomano

                        I had a wonderful lunch at Local Table today. The warm brie and spinach salad was out of this world. I walked in at 12:20 and there were very few empty tables.

                      2. Heyka's Heimat is closed... I drove by there yesterday and was a little sad to see the building up for lease.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: drgnflychic

                          Isnt' there some place called Ford's Filling Station in Tulsa - supposed to be good?

                          1. re: stellamystar

                            It didn't last either, it was in the place where Kampai is now.

                            1. re: drgnflychic

                              That's too bad. Was it in Utica Square? My parents are in SE kansas and always on the prowl for something new.

                          2. re: drgnflychic

                            Heyka's hasn't closed - they moved. It's at 600 S Apsen now.
                            (918) 251-4175

                            1. re: miss_dee

                              Glad to hear they haven't closed. I really enjoyed my meal there.

                          3. I had lunch today at the new El Guapo downtown. The fish tacos were pretty good, the black bean refried beans were not good. The enchiladas Mole poblano had way too much cinnamon. The rice was excellent though and the tomatillo salsa was good. They are very busy, Saturday afternoon had a hour and a half wait for a table. The view from the third floor open dining and bar deck was interesting and with the weather cooling off, it is going to be Packed.

                            And I noticed that what was the service station on the corner of 11th and Peoria was open serving Hot Dogs, i guess. There was a couple of tables and umbrellas. I will have to go tomorrow and check it out.

                            A couple of weeks ago I had a terrible meal at Blazing Peppers on Harvard off 21st. The whole meal was the worst. I didn't come close to finishing, just paid and left.

                            One of my new pizza go to's is the NYC pizza on Harvard where the Subway used to be in the strip center just north of where that bank is. By the slice, thin crust and tasty sausage.

                            1. A couple of new places to mention

                              Sonoma, where Prive used to be and much better, owned by the same people as The Brasserie.

                              KEO on the corner at 35th and Peoria, I love the Ahi Poke and the Green Thai curry and the Crispy Curried wontons and, and, oh, try the Sakimojito, goes down real easy.

                              Oscars at 18th and Boston. So far my favorites are the Kobe meatloaf, the hanger steak and the fried green beans.

                              Ella's deli - in the little strip center across the street from the Reynolds center at TU. They only do lunch so plan and the sandwiches are fabulous.

                              1. I HAVE TO SAY THAT THE HAMMETT HOUSE, IN CLAREMORE HAS THE VERY BEST PIES! THE GERMAN CHOCOLATE IS UNREAL AND HUGE! PEOPLE COME FROM ALL OVER JUST FOR THE PIE, BUT THEY ALSO HAVE MINE AND MY DAUGHTER'S FAVE ENTREE OF WILTED SPINACH CHICKEN SALAD WITH THE BEST DRESSING. IT HAS BACON, BOILED EGGS, MUSHROOMS, SPINACH AND CHICKEN. IT IS DELICIOUS.
                                AS FOR THE AMISH....CHET AND ANNE'S BAKERY HAS GREAT CINNAMON ROLLS AND JELLY AND BREAD AND SANDWICHES. ALSO, IN CLAREMORE IS A HOLE IN THE WALL GREASY DINER THAT'S BEEN AROUND FOR DECADES, CALLED DOT'S CAFE. LEAVES A LOT TO BE DESIRED ON THE UPDATED AND CLEANLINESS SCALE, BUT THE WAITRESS, BRANDY IS SO SWEET AND THE GREASY BURGERS AND FRIES ARE REALLY TASTY. THEY ALSO HAVE GOOD PIES, BUT THEY RUN OUT EARLY.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: RAELYNNE

                                  Thanks for the update. We hae a boat up that way and sometimes want to grab a bite coming, going or out to celebrate.
                                  Not much update on what's going on in Tulsa though. Been to Sonoma, once; never again. Because of boat of reviews ate many times at Andolini's. Loved it, loved the service until the last time: the waitress and the kitchen staff was clueless. I believe it was a Sunday and I believe the waitress said the owner's son was in the kitchen. We ordered the garlic knots. I've had them once in Charolette at a pizza joint housed in an old gas station and they were awesome! These were not garlicy and they were not DONE. The pizza wasn't good either. May or may not give them one more chance.
                                  With Tulsa being the restauant chain capitol we just don't go out much. i like Mary's Trattoria on 15th, love the lasagne and the fettuccini, but my husband doesn't.
                                  So, it's 2009. Anywhere really recommended?

                                  1. re: silverspoon

                                    Wow. What was so bad about Sonoma that you won't go back again? I ate there once, and it wasn't bad. Not spectacular, but not horrible. For Italian, have you been to Ciao, Baby! ? They used to be pretty good, but I admit it's been a while since I was there. How about Lucky's?

                                    1. re: silverspoon

                                      I went to Sonoma for lunch last weekend and I wasn't wowed either. I didn't think it was awful, but the pizza had no flavor.

                                      My recommendation for good quality, local food is always Palace Cafe on Cherry Street. It doesn't get much publicity, but it has a very loyal following. http://www.palacetulsa.com/

                                      1. re: silverspoon

                                        Lots and lots of news on the Tulsa dining scene is waiting for you here:
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/553621

                                        1. re: Brian S

                                          Also check out http://tulsapeople.com/ for great reviews and foodie info...