New restaurants opening in Tulsa
Three new places have opened recently.
Lucky's (where Camarelli's used to be) on 15th. Nice place, Mat Kelley and his wife moved here from the Atlas Grill downtown. I think they are still fine tuning the menu.
Lava Noshery (where Table Ten used to be) on S Peoria. I had an excellent dinner there the other night as part of Restaurant Week here in T-town. The pate plate was excellent with warmed cherries and cripsy toast. The crusted salmon entree over artichoke and broccoli hash rocks. The homemade cheesecake was decent. I am not a cheesecake fan all that much. I will definitely go back.
KEO on S Peoria across from the Crow Creek Tavern. Finally, Tulsa has an upscale Asian restaurant that is not a copy of PF Changs. I had the KEO Sampler small plate, beef and chicken satays, a curried beef wonton, and a crispy spring roll with 2 dipping sauces. Then I ordered another side of the crispy curried beef wontons, those things could be addictive for me. And I ordered the shrimp and sprouts crepe. Excellent. It came with a pile of lettuce leaves so I wrapped the crepe with the lettuce leaves and they had a delicious dipping sauce for this. I want to go back for lunch.
Just got back from lunch at Cyprus Grille, which I've been meaning to try ever since it first opened. Tulsa World ranked it as the best new restaurant that year; 2005, I think. It's in a vast new hotel with a ten story atrium complete with little pools stocked with monster fish. The restaurant looks like what it is, a very upscale hotel restaurant. We had the $13 Restaurant Week menu, but all the selections were from the regular lunch menu. http://www.marriott.com/hotelwebsites... My first course was seared tuna with a Thai papaya salad. It looked bright and colorful but was more or less devoid of flavor. The merlot-soaked pear and mesclun salad which my friends ordered was a better bet. After that I had the flatiron steak. That's a shoulder cut but was quite flavorful, and topped with a soy-mustard sauce that was a lot like Bearnaise. There were sauteed mushrooms on the side. Even better was the fried grouper and chips. Huge chunks of fish were fried in a rich thick batter -- a bit too sweet, and it reminded me of a baignet or zeppole but it was still very good indeed. Dessert was a tiny individually-made chocolate cake exploding with chocolate syrup with fruit, whipped cream on the side and surrounded by a tiny moat of raspberry sauce. It was an excellent deal for $13, but I'm not sure I would have been happy paying the regular price of $32. Still, all in all, I left happy
I just got back from a very pleasant lunch at Tuck Curren's new restaurant, Local Table. It was a Restaurant Week lunch, and cost only $13, but since every selection was from the regular menu (which is the same for lunch and dinner), I feel justified in a general review.
The ambiance is sleek and modern and, despite that, quite pleasant. The service was quite good. Local Table tries to showcase ingredients from Tulsa area farms, and prepare them simply and well. That's hardly a new idea but it's nice to see here in Oklahoma where there's such a bountiful supply of fresh and excellent produce. My first course was corn chowder. Not that much corn (it wasn't a good year for corn around here) but still a rich creamy soup redolent of potatoes, bacon, cream and of course corn. I wanted to copy Ishmael in "Moby Dick" who, presented with a huge bowl of excellent chowder, devoured it all and asked for a second serving... but I couldn't since another course awaited.
That was the star of the show, a filet of fresh, perfectly cooked and overall wonderful trout topped with local cherry tomatoes which had been stewed whole, and spinach sauteed in garlic. Excellent. Dessert was a chocolate mousse with whipped cream and fresh strawberries accompanying it on the plate.
A lovely meal. Even at regular prices it's a good deal. The chowder is normally $4.75 and the trout is $16.25.
I just got back from lunch at Keo. It's well worth the trip. The space is sleek and airy, with 15 foot ceilings and floor to ceiling windows. Upscale decor (and good service) with downscale prices. Most entrees are $9. The chef was born in Cambodia (though she grew up in Oklahoma) and most of the dishes are Thai, Vietnamese or Cambodian, though some, such as the grilled tuna with orange soy glaze, are Asian-inflected creations. Two friends and I tried the Thai Sweet Basil (larb, basically, with ground chicken and basil leaves), the Beef and Broccoli (what it sounds like) and the Tom Ka (a Thai soup, Gai Tom Ka, but with shrimp). The first two were good but ordinary, but the Tom Ka was extraordinary. Crisp sharp flavors of lemongrass, ginger and other spices swirl and blend in your mouth. It was as good as any version of that dish you'd find in New York. Fortunately that was my pick so I got to eat almost all of it.
3524 S Peoria Av
And let me add about Lucky's. I haven't been there but I really want to. I first ran across Matt Kelley back in 1999. He was chef of a restaurant called Grille 51. He was fresh out of the CIA and some of the dishes he made were the best I had had in Tulsa. (One such dish, the Asian Pork Chop) is on Lucky's menu. I could never understand why the restaurant was always half-empty; in any event it went broke within a year. Matt then opened up a sandwich shop downtown, and though I sometimes asked him why he didn't go for a bigger restaurant where he could showcase his elaborate creations, I think he was content to serve a big downtown crowd gourmet sandwiches with artisanal ingredients, the best you could find. Now, almost a decade later, he's moved on to bigger things with Lucky's and I'm glad he's back.
Happily, downtown Tulsa is seeing some new culinary action. El Guapo, across the street from McNellie's and owned by the same entrepreneur, is serving some mighty fine Mexican food. The mole is tops. They have a rooftop bar with a fun margarita menu--I'm looking forward to warmer weather so I can check it out. Here's their website: http://www.elguaposcantina.net/index.php
re: Jocelyn P
I've had El Guapo - it's pretty tasty! We sat upstairs one night and it was chilly but I had some awesome tuna tartare tacos and a mango margarita. Another night a couple of friends and I enjoyed the $40 margarita and some enchiladas. Thank goodness for Elliot Nelson bringing life to downtown.
I also agree that Keo is delish. I had a drink there that was outstanding - I can't remember what it was now. Love that all of the dishes are family recipes!
I had the chance to eat at Sonoma (in the Bistro's old spot on Peoria) yesterday and was impressed by my lunch, as well as my co-workers. The only think I didn't like was the crab cake appetizer, which was way too salty.
I've only had appetizers from Lava and they are always good. I'm glad to see that Table 10 is gone, that was one of my worst dining experiences. Awful service and ridiculous prices for the amount of food you got. A co-worker says that Lava's spicy chicken pasta is one of the best pasta dishes she's ever eaten.
With a 26 month old at home and no local grandparents, my wife and I don't get out nearly as much as we used to. My wife wanted to try Lucky's for her birthday and made the reservation herself. I called back the next day and spoke with two people in arranging a dessert with one simple candle. We showed up 1/2 hour early with the intention of having a drink at the bar. Checking in with the hostess, she agreed there was no room at the bar so we told her we'd be next door at Bourbon Street for a quick drink. Returning with three minutes to spare on our 8 o'clock reservation, we were finally offered a crappy table at approximately 8:40. The hostess was doe-eyed and pretty... incompetent. No apology at all for the wait. The waiter was decent enough but both the crispy halibut and salmon were too cold as if they'd been plated 20 minutes too early. They completely forgot to bring the dessert and I really just wanted to leave at that point. The place is extremely loud by the way... The next time I want to blow $200 on a special dinner for my wife, it will be the Polo Grill.
When grow up somewhere you can become immune to it's gems and it fun. I moved away for college in '89 and haven't lived in Tulsa since but recently I had reason to return. I live in South Florida where we are surrounded by phenomenal eateries so when I heard about Lucky's from some friends and family I really had to come back and try it out. First of all, the restaurant itself is gorgeous... sleek and classy, funky and fun. Even before my Cherry Street fry appetizer got there I had the pleasure of meeting the owners! I was really impressed with how friendly and involved Brooke and Matt are with their clientelle. The fry had calamari okra and onions, with a delicious dipping sauce...OMG off the charts!!! I decided to go with the fire-roasted wild salmon for my entree, to counter balance the fry and I think that I can now die a happy eater! I recommend that you go to Lucky's SOON AND OFTEN... I didn't even scratch the surface of their menu and they have a terrific selection of 20 for $20 wines... guess I will be comin' home for Christmas now!
I've lived in Tulsa since the late seventies, like so many others. I've also lived out of Tulsa during that time frame and have traveled the world. I take the time to reply for two reasons: 1) if we are chowhounds, why mention the chains? 2) I feel compelled to comment on the Stonehorse every chance I get. The worst 2 meals I've eaten in the last 2-3 years were there. The first time (soon after they moved to Utica Sq) the hostess was ruder than the waitress, who failed to even offer us dessert or mention that they had any. The hostess slammed a business card on our table and said, "Perhaps next time you'll make a reservation." I hear she was fired long ago. Now this is TULSA OKLA. Most people wear blue jeans which my husband and I don't and we are your perfect baby boomer customer; i.e. money to drop. Okay, a couple years went by, it was my b'day and I said we'd give them another chance. (We've ALWAYS patronized whatever restaurant was at that location as it is walking distance from home and a pleasant atmosphere)
I ordered the filet. I got the BUTT end. When I expressed to the waitress that I was not at all happy, her reply, "The owner isn't here right now and there is really nothing I can do."
So be it Tim Innman. I hear the attitude starts at the top.
All of our married life we've frequented great places where the bartenders meet us with our favorite drink. Sometimes in other countries. We entertain out. I am in retail and tell all my customers the horrible treatment I rec'd as a customer at the illustrious Stonehorse. Some of them agree. I'll keep preaching.
I'm sorry Bud Barnes left town. He had great restaurants and was a superb host. (The Bistro in Brookside and his tapas bar on Boston were awesome)