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Aug 31, 2008 09:59 AM

TULSA -- Lunch in Utica Square

My mom has just returned from an extended stay in St John's Hospital and my daily visits to her gave me an unprecedented opportunity to try just about every one of the twelve or so restaurants in Utica Square, that verdant and tony shopping plaza just to the south. Here's what I found.

Stonehorse Cafe:

Always my favorite. Some of the dishes would be well-received in New York's finest restaurants. The halibut, for example, crusted in pistachio in the style Wylie Dufresne made famous, served on a bed of minced shallots, tomato and huge shrimp, and surrounded by a wonderful sauce that was little thicker than consomme, the color of lobster bisque with flecks of cream, but was redolent with flavor -- a tart citrus vied with Chardonnay. It's $15 at lunch and about $30 at dinner. Most of the lunch entrees are $14 or less, change daily, and often include house-made sausages atop a hearty ragout of spinach, wine and white beans, or sliced steak adjacent to a marvelous medley of a salad. Hamburgers, big and dreamy, are $8.50. Lunch is served till about 4:30PM, closed Sunday and Monday. The Stonehorse Market, just next door, has just been expanded, that's a retail store where the restaurant sells food that's raw but prepped for cooking. Two and a half inch thick pork chops brined and marinated, huge chickens brushed with a garlic and rosemary paste, and prime-quality steaks, all from small farms and ranches in Colorado or Okla., and all excellent

Wild Fork

Hearty pastas such as linguini in an anchovy cream sauce with mushrooms and pine nuts ($11), stellar sandwiches like catfish (a huge hunk of fried fish swims atop a hero roll)($12), and simple entrees, such as a good version of chicken fried steak ($12), or grilled pork chop with caramelized apples ($15) Lunch till 5, closed Sunday. A pleasant, airy setting with outdoor dining too.

Olive Garden

Slightly cheaper lunch dishes served till 4 on weekdays. Olive Garden has come up in the past 10 years. The food used to be downright inedible. Now it's sometimes quite good, and comes with a mountain of salad. (If you eat all the salad and breadsticks, that's probably about 800 calories) Braised beef and tortelloni has ribs braised in wine surrounded by cheese-filled dumplings, topped with a small amount of a yummy cream sauce. Pasta might be soggy unless you request al dente, and the tomato sauce is not their best feature. From time to time, about once a year, they have all you can eat pasta for only $9. Now is that time; it's available lunch and dinner until October 12, 2008.

P F Chang's
Upscale decor, Chinese-inspired food can be surprisingly good. They have a few cheap lunch dishes until 4, including salmon fillet served atop a bed of asparagus surrounded by a lovely lemon-soy sauce (more French than Chinese) ($9.50) and shrimp with lobster sauce that is redolent of a good black bean flavor. ($8.50) Good things on the dinner menu too. I finally tried mu shu pork ($11), which for years I avoided on principle, and it was excellent. See


Peppers has the same menu all day but it's one of the least expensive places in the area. It's shamelessly Tex-Mex... no subtle moles here, just lots of melted cheese... but if that's what you want, it does a good job, and prepares the burritos and chimichingas lovingly and with care. Most dishes under $10.

Polo Grill

Lunch menu till 4:30. Most of the lunch dishes are fairly uninspired in creation, but the execution and presentation makes them well worth ordering. One of the best chicken fried steaks around. ($13), good hamburger steak covered in wine sauce ($13). My favorite was an enormous chicken breast. The skin was removed and the inside stuffed with a tangy cheese sauce, then the skin was put back. ($15). Usually I loathe chicken breast but I loved this.

McGill's (just across the street


Lunch till 4. Their pasta with lobster ($13) is worth a lunchtime trip. Farfalle, ziti and spirelli pasta with a yummy red cream sauce redolent of lobster (with a few chunks of meat too) Their fettucini Alfredo ($10) is quite good too. Their specialty is steaks, though, which are $25 and up.

Places I haven't been

Queenie's is a wildly popular lunch spot with outdoor dining and sandwiches, soups, salads under $7. I've never eaten there and I think its draw is being a pleasant place to have a snack between shopping. The food does not look all that inspired (except for the wonderful desserts) I've never been to Fleming's. It is a chain steakhouse and with prices there about as high as Peter Luger's I don't plan to go. But it's always crowded. Perhaps the most crowded place of all is the Starbucks. If you want a Starbucks, this one has a better location, with tables opposite the central and luxuriant garden, than most.

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  1. For one week, an even better deal is available. It's Restaurant Week from Sep 7 to 12, and 20 of the best restaurants are offering $13 lunches. One is Polo Grill. They have 3 different 3 course meals to choose from. Details at This website has the details for 2008 but I think they plan to do the same thing during the first week in September in future years.

    I forgot to say above that Polo Grill and McGill's have lunch only Monday through Friday. Weekends they serve dinner only.

    1. Brian S, Firegoat, et al: It seems the two of you (primarily), are holding down the fort there. SO and I will be there for a week after christmas. Sis lives around Broken Bow Expressway and Lewis. We will probably stay at the Ambassador. What's good in the area? For that matter what is good in the whole Tulsa area or worth an hour's drive ? We will have time to drive around.
      By "good" I mean not a chain, no matter how good you think The Olive Garden has become. It can be a dive, as long as they take a credit card and have "red wine" (for SO).
      I'm in New Haven, CT, so good seafood and Italian is normal. I might pass on that unless it's an extra special place. Thai, BBQ, Mexican ("authentic" or "X"-Mex is fine), Spanish, French are a few of our favorites. Fried catfish would be great, or a CFS. I grew up in North Texas and have spent a lot of time in rural OK, but I don't know Tulsa.
      I know good food, and I am picky, but it doesn't need to be hi-brow or super pricey. I'd like a mix. Solid breakfast places, too, where they have good gravy and biscuits like Mom made...(and don't leave out any Mexican places for breakfast!)

      Since Chowhound representation is light in Tulsa, do any local Tulsa papers have a good restaurant critic? Magazines? Any Tulsans doing foodie blogs?
      I was not impressed with Scott Cherry's review I read of Bluestone, but it's the only one of his I have read. I am always concerned when the review is so generic and positive. It's like he's discussing restaurant details with the owner while he's there dining; like when he says, "X (the owner), said...". Perhaps I'm wrong about him.
      I would appreciate anything you Oakies (or transplants), can offer. Take your time....

      105 Replies
      1. re: Scargod

        What fun! I'll come back to this more in depth tonight when I'm at home, but if you're surfing around now, let me suggest two different places to read restaurant reviews. Ofc, you're not going to find the great BBQ there more likely, but we can direct you to that :D
        that link goes to Urban Tulsa, the alternative newspaper in town and takes you to their deposit of restaurant reviews.
        The other below, goes to the Tulsa World restaurant area. And definitely, some reviews are better written than others. I think he has improved a bit just lately, but that's just me.

        1. re: Scargod

          Okay, I'm going to tackle this slowly, adding a bit day by day.
          First of all, and most importantly, the Olive Garden is in Utica Square.....
          ha ha. Okay.
          As far as Thai food. I'm the first to admit I'm no expert. I have a couple of friends however who swear by Lanna Thai. They have a pretty detailed website.

          For Mexican, a great hole in the wall type of restaurant is El Rio Verde. No website for it, but here are a couple of links to reviews.

          One of my favorite Mexican restaurants (another kind of a hole in the wall) had closed. But has recently reopened downtown. Casa Laredo.

          Loved that place, and can't wait for an excuse to drop in and check out the food at the new location. My first visit there the owner came out, and realizing it was my first time, quickly guided me through just the perfect things to try.
          I'll move on to BBQ a little later .....

          1. re: Firegoat

            This is great and thanks so much!
            I hope others will add comments and opinions (I need someone to validate what you are suggesting!). :)
            I know my sister will appreciate a fresh rundown on the good chow scene there.

            1. re: Scargod

              I am definitely hoping others chime in. Especially on the "higher brow" places. I tend to like the dives, hole in the walls and smoky bbq spots.

              Me giving you french or thai advice would be like .... well me suggesting you go to olive garden.

              1. re: Firegoat

                I like those, too (the dives), but it's hard to get a spoiled 62 YO woman to go to too many of them. She has to have her red wine with a meal or she pouts. Seriously, she will only put up without the wine so many times and she hates sketchy ( as in questionable neighborhood/don't take credit cards), or wondering, will I get something on my clothes here(?). We've had our car broken into before. If it's just me, I'm pretty adventurous. Hell, I'm part Cherokee...
                Bring on the Q!

                1. re: Scargod

                  Well el rio verde is kind of a sketchy neighborhood, but I did see that they finally do take credit cards....

                  1. re: Firegoat

                    I will not pass up a good Mexican breakfast there! Huevos rancheros y frijoles refritos! Yum

            2. re: Firegoat

              I've been to Lanna and Rio Verde, both years ago. They were both excellent. At Lanna I had a conversation with the owner, told him I'd lived in Thailand, wanted really authentic Thai, and I think that helped. (The Tulsa World praised Lanna for offering food adapted to suit Oklahoma tastes, and I didn't want that, though I do love Oklahoma taste generally but used in that way it meant bland.) At Rio Verde I didn't have to tell them I wanted it authentic since I was the only one they'd seen that week who wasn't from Mexico so they just gave the same food for everyone.

              I should say that you can find better Thai and Mexican in New York (though you have to go to Jackson Heights, Queens) so if you are coming from Connecticut maybe you should try places that you CAN'T find better back home.

              1. re: Firegoat

                I see Casa Laredo got a review in the paper this morning. They have moved into a beautiful art deco building downtown. The decor inside should be fantastic, as it doesn't sound like they've changed any of the multi-colored tiles.

              2. re: Scargod

                So I hope you have a good time in Tulsa! I think you basically want 2 different things. For your sister, who lives here, you want some really good places she might enjoy trying. But I think you don't want to know those places unless they offer stuff you can't get better in New Haven or New York. I mean, you wouldn't be interested if I told you where you can get good pizza in Tulsa. (Oh I forgot, you CAN'T get good pizza in Tulsa.) But anyway, for your sister, all of the Utica Square places reviewed above, plus here are three neat places I ate at this month:

       Cyprus Grille

       Local Table


                Now for you I think your best bet would be places you can't find anywhere else. Here are two posts I wrote on that. (The info might be out of date so if something catches your eye, just ask about it.) And in addition to these posts, Shiloh Diner for the best chicken fried steak (and similar food) you can find.



                1. re: Brian S

                  Brian S -- I hope you've tried Savastrano's in Bixby for Pizza ... get the deep dish. It is like nothing you'll find anywhere else around.

                2. re: Scargod

                  Adding another voice to the choir...

                  My favorite dive--although it's not really a dive, just casual--is a place called La Roma. The sign says La Roma Pizza, and they do have pretty good pizza there (have you tried it, Brian? I hear you knocking Tulsa pizza!), but it's owned by a Lebanese family and they prepare a nice selection of Lebanese and other Mediterranean food. It's simple but very fresh, consistent, high quality food. The cabbage rolls are my favorite. There is such a large Lebanese community here in Tulsa, it would be a shame to miss sampling some of their cuisine. I'd recommend La Roma for lunch. You walk up to the counter, order, then they call your number when it's ready. If they have wine there, it's a very limited selection. They are closed on Sundays. Located in a strip mall on the NE corner of 61st and Sheridan.

                  For biscuits and gravy, and killer cinnamon rolls, go right next door to Savoy Restaurant. 6033 S. Sheridan

                  I like Stonehorse, too, but I've grown to like Palace Cafe even more for a nice dinner out. It is right across the street from the Farmers' Market at 15th and Peoria, and they incorporate lots of those local ingredients into their menu. They have some bento options.

                  I touted Local Table on chowhound awhile back, but have since had a mediocre meal. Consistency is really hard to find in Tulsa restaurants.

                  For Mexican, the smothered burrito at El Rio Verde is hard to beat. I hear they have a great breakfast, but I haven't tried it. I also like La Hacienda on Peoria near 46th and La Flama on 61st and Peoria. Now THERE'S a dive. I won't go there after dark. It's the real deal, though. El Guapo, downtown at First and Elgin, is great fun. There's a rooftop bar with view of downtown and a full margarita menu. I've been 8-10 times and have always enjoyed the food, but I've heard others complain. It's unlike typical Okla-Mex, which I find a plus.

                  I do like KEO and Lanna Thai (51st St location over 71st St), but I don't know if they'd be that special to someone from the east coast.

                  My favorite BBQ place in town in Billy Sims BBQ. I've tried Elmers and some of the other old mainstays, but Billy Sims has what I like. It's clean, friendly, and the meat is perfectly trimmed.

                  I hope you enjoy your time here in Tulsa. Be sure to report back when you return~

                  1. re: Jocelyn P

                    Thanks a lot, M'am. I believe I will (report back).
                    The rooftop scene at El Guapo sounds intriguing. The smothered burrito at El Rio Verde must be the "wet" one they refer to. I love Mexican food. I dream about it.
                    OK, on to Q: I'm not moved yet. Clean cut and trim Billy hasn't convinced me. I like down and dirty taste (with smoke).
                    Thai: Haven't met a Thai meal I didn't like.
                    Lola's: doesn't have any connection to the one in Dallas, does it?
                    Stonehorse Cafe: Is this one of the "best" in Tulsa?
                    Steak places: I don't want to offend anyone, but I do steaks at home. I usually don't go out to eat for them. If a restaurant is known for more than their steaks, then that's fine.....
                    I won't be looking for pizza in Tulsa. I don't eat much pizza, period, and I've been spoiled since New Haven. Don't want to hear about pizza or Olive Gardens.
                    Any "destination spots" that are out of town that we should do? I like the S-E part of OK, especially the Kiamichi Mountain area.

                    You folks are great. Even though I'm a Texan you are treating me like blood. Thanks! I know we are going to have fun when we get there!
                    PS: my first wife was an Oakie.

                    1. re: Scargod

                      Having lived in San Diego and New Mexico, I'm a big fan of good Mexican food, too. Yes, I meant "wet" burrito at El Rio Verde, sorry.

                      There's another good Mexican place I forgot to mention: Taco San Pedro, an oasis in the middle of chain restaurant Hell on 71st St, near the Incredible Pizza. They have a whole page on their menu dedicated to Honduran specialties.

                      I've twice been to Lola's at the Bowery downtown and twice been disappointed. To be fair, both times I was there before a concert and they were quite busy with people on a tight schedule. It's not really Spanish food, if that's what you're looking for. I don't think real Spanish food exists here.

                      Yes, Stonehorse is certainly one of the best. It's in a relaxed, casual atmosphere, though--think colorful, tasteful, country French cafe.

                      1. re: Jocelyn P

                        Not thinking Lola's was Spanish. Thought it might be related to Lola's (4 star, New America food place), in Dallas.
                        Taco San Pedro is duly noted. I've been around Taos a lot and love New-Mexican.Thanks!
                        PS: right now I'm eating leftovers: Chicken in mole (I made).

                        1. re: Scargod

                          There is no mole in Tulsa, and certainly not Mole Poblano, except in private homes. Years ago Rio Verde closed one day and opened the restaurant for a private party, with all the owner's friends invited... and served Mole Poblano! Every waiter in every Mexican restaurant in Tulsa, certainly in the Kendall-Whittier nabe, has heard of it, and recalls it fondly, but no place serves it (unless things have changed in recent years).

                          If you want 4 star New American food, Stonehorse is your best bet.

                          1. re: Brian S

                            El Quapo has an Oaxacan mole sauce on the menu they serve with their tamales.
                            I think Cancun International still does as well unless they've changed.... of course they also have tripe stew and tongue.....

                            1. re: Firegoat

                              Yes, El Guapo has a delicious mole. Aside from the tamale appetizer, they also serve it on smoked chicken enchiladas, one of my favorite dishes there.

                              Apparently La Flama on 61st and Peoria will sometimes prepare mole, even though it's not on the menu. I have not tried it.

                              1. re: Jocelyn P

                                I ate at El Guapo today and I ordered the enchiladas with mole poblano. It was layers of chicken and tortillas, baked and served in a ramekin. There was mole poblano (made in-house of 32 ingredients, they assured me), but most of it had soaked into the rest of the casserole. I managed to find a bit of the sauce and tried it. It was more of a slurry than a sauce and it just didn't have the richness, complexity or depth that a good mole poblano should have. It did lend a flavor to the casserole, and a very nice flavor it was, but it just wasn't the flavor of mole poblano. Still, it's a nice setting. What looks like an old NYC tenement had been converted into a cheery, spacious restaurant, and there are three floors including a partially covered rooftop. Service was good, and the people I was with ordered the wet burritos and loved them. And they had a great sopapilla made with fresh peaches.

                                1. re: Brian S

                                  I'm sorry the mole at El Guapo was not what you'd hoped. I guess I'm not too picky when it comes to mole--I love to sample the different styles and flavors, of which there are many. Someday I'd love to go on a mole-tasting tour of Oaxaca.

                              2. re: Firegoat

                                El Guapo or El Quapo? Are we talkin' the same place?
                                I love authentic stuff like lingua tacos and menudo!

                                I want one or two top-notch meals. I don't need posh surrounding and hovering waiters, though. A nice wine selection would be nice. As long as they have a few good reds that run $30-$50.
                                Besides Stonehorse what about Polo Grill and White River?
                                For homestyle, is Evelyn's really good or should I drive to JM's in Eufala?
                                The 100 list was interesting but half seemed to be burger joints. Who does a really good, fresh ground, rare burger in Tulsa?
                                Keep 'em comin'!

                                1. re: Scargod

                                  It is El Guapo. You will not find lingua or menudo there, but you will at El Rio Verde. They serve cabeza, too.

                                  As much as I love White River Fish Market, it's a completely different world from Stonehorse or Polo Grill. It's a cafeteria-like setting in an unlikely neighborhood. I'll again put in a plug for Palace Cafe as a complement to Stonehorse. Here is their wine list:

                                  1. re: Jocelyn P

                                    I will put that on my list. I missed it before as a nice place... thanks!

                                    1. re: Jocelyn P

                                      As long as you mention White River, how about Ralph's Fish-N-Burger Shack at 1801 N Lewis?

                                      1. re: Jocelyn P

                                        Not a bad wine list. A decent range and quite a few I am familiar with. I like the fact that they have so many wines by the glass.
                                        Still, nobody knows what the laws are regarding bringing liquor into a restaurant or BYOB places?

                                        1. re: Jocelyn P

                                          Just wanted to update that the Palace Cafe wine list is now at

                                        2. re: Scargod

                                          Scargod, you can get a really delicious rare burger at The Brook (two locations). They also have cheese fries to-die-for. I'm from Tulsa originally, and now live 500 miles away. When I go back to visit family, they all know we're going to The Brook. I cannot swear with certainty that they are fresh ground burgers. I believe they are, but don't have proof. I do know that I've had every burger in Tulsa (seriously, I lived there 35 years), and this is "The One". It's nice and thick, cooked perfectly every time, and I love whatever they do to season it.


                                          I've only been to Polo Grill once, eight years ago, and I ordered a filet mignon. It was good, but what really stands out was that my former boss ordered the rack of lamb and offered me a taste, and it remains one of the best things in my little taste memory archive.

                                          1. re: Scargod

                                            Best burger I've had in Tulsa was at Goldie's Patio Restaurant and Grill. I don't order rare, usually medium rare. No idea if they are fresh ground or not.... just know that they taste pretty darn good. And no, it isn't upscale, and doubt they serve wine.

                                            1. re: Firegoat

                                              From Brook, I got a "fresh every day but not by us" and from Goldie's I got "it should be" as far as whoever's grinding it and whether it is ground fresh every day. I only eat rare burgers if the are ground on site, every morning.

                                              I can take the ribbing about upscale and wine. Don't mind it a bit. You guys (and girls), have been great and very helpful. But, I can't deal with generic ground meat (if I ask for it rare). SO also doesn't care if the wine comes out of a box, from BOH, as long as it isn't pink. :) Shiraz, preferably.

                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                There are some places, small, independently owned, and most in poor parts of town where burgers are considered an art form. Webers, Claud's, and a lot of places up north whose names I've forgotten. My all-time favorite was Ron's. Here's what I wrote about it a few years ago:

                                                "There's a guy named Ron in Tulsa who made the best hamburgers ever. His restaurant (photo below) looked like a cowshed and it would be jammed with people waiting for a seat. Rich lawyers sitting next to construction workers on lunch break. Ron was a genius cook and he put each burger through about ten steps. Meat was pounded flat, seasoned with salt and spices, coated with lard using a paintbrush, cooked on a superhot grill (500 degrees), steamed under a dome. I like my burgers extra rare and this is much harder to do , so Ron took it as a challenge and he gave me the best burgers I have ever tasted. Now this style of burger is flat and very thin (about a third of an inch thick) and as big as an old 45 RPM record. The meat is succulent and juicy and melts in with the cheese. The best chef in New York could not make a better burger."

                                                But Ron retired, that branch closed, and the other branches, run by his kids, just don't do it as well as he. But they are still worth a try.

                                                Photo of the original Ron's.

                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                  That makes sense. I get mine medium rare, so I don't have the same concern over grinding on site. You might ask The Bistro. I've had a really delicious burger at the one on Brookside, but can't find the website for that one, so maybe they only have their newer location further south. Someone who still lives in Tulsa can probably answer that for me. You can order wine at The Bistro, but I don't remember how comprehensive the wine list is. I only became a heavy wine drinker after I moved to Texas. (Because it's right there on the grocery shelves begging me to buy it. In OK, I had to go into liquor stores for it).

                                                  Here's the website

                                                  Nothing wrong with wanting a rare burger and red wine together. It's one of the most perfect combinations I can think of.

                                                  1. re: stephanieh

                                                    Stephanie: My son, Brian, is in Austin. Just got a degree in art. Is cooking at a restaurant while he prepares his app's for graduate school. Like his old man, he likes to cook (plus being an artist)!

                                                    Thanks for the info! I'll ask The Bistro. I'm sure some "hi-brow places" grind their own sirloin....

                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                      Stonehorse grinds their own. Often they use the trimmings from the most expensive steaks rather than throw them away. It's $8.50, with fries, lunch only, cooked on a wood-fired grill. Or you can buy one of the half-pound patties raw for $1.75 and cook it at home.

                                                      1. re: Brian S

                                                        Just remembered, here's another great post with lots of suggestions:


                                                        1. re: Brian S

                                                          Super! The topic you are referring to is where I started. I've copied it all.

                                                          1. re: Brian S

                                                            Let me make this hundredth post to say how really good the Stonehorse burgers are. I just had one for lunch at the restaurant yesterday. Lovely grilled succulent half pound of joy (sometimes they overcook it unless you stress the word "rare") on an incredibly good bun. The burger topped with cheese and some fine guacamole, and along with it enough fries to feed a family.

                                                          2. re: Scargod

                                                            Scargod, it's a small, small world, isn't it? What restaurant is Brian working at?

                                                            I went back and read through your original request, and have compiled some more thoughts for you. (A novel, but then you have a few months to read it). I don't think it's uppity at all for your SO to like a nice dining experience. It will be difficult to get her wine fix at every meal, though. I can't think of a single place where you could get BBQ or catfish with wine. I'm like Firegoat, in that I'm more likely to be found in the dives rather than the upscale. But, I can help with the ambience of some of these places, and hopefully steer you away from an unhappy SO situ. Oh, and I rarely agree with Scott Cherry, and can't really help with a good source, other than Chowhound, for info on Tulsa restaurants.

                                                            It's easiest for me to start with restaurants that your SO may find unpleasant...

                                                            Goldie's. Yes, it's a Tulsa institution and you can't talk about burgers in Tulsa without mentioning Goldie's. And, a couple of times since moving, we've had a Goldie's jones. It's actually the very first restaurant I can remember ever eating in as a child (we moved to Tulsa when I was about three). That being said, I usually find the Goldie's experience "icky". My husband makes fun of me for using that word, but I know exactly what I mean by that. Goldies' waitresses (and they are all waitresses) are not terribly friendly, but not sassy or surly enough to be reminiscent of "Flo". And the decor has a diner-ish vibe, but not in a cool retro diner way. More like dingy colored booths and tables that were dated looking when they remodeled in the 80s. Even their newer locations have somehow managed to have the same dated feel. Again, it's not a kitschy fun look, just tired. Why do I ever eat there? Because the burger flavor has never been matched by any other I've eaten. Although, sometimes the bun is stale, and I don't care for their sides or the famous "pickle bar" (you just help yourself to as many pickles as you want). I have come away from there wishing I could have had that burger in a whole different restaurant. I'm sorry, Goldie's. If you find yourself determined to try a Goldie's, let me know. I can run through the locations and help you find the least "icky". Oh, and they definitely don't have wine.

                                                            Shiloh - My mom likes this place. I went once, and to me, it was like if Denny's was a locally owned place. They have good cloverleaf dinner rolls. But, it's either attached, or right next to, a Super 8 Motel. It's not in a bad neighborhood. The time I ate there, I didn't feel the food was good enough to endure the atmosphere. And, in case it sounds like I'm anti-diner, I'm not. I'd just prefer them to have character.

                                                            Savoy - I haven't eaten there since 1994, when they allowed smoking and every one of my dining companions smoked. It's one of Tulsa's older restaurants. They're known for their cinnamon rolls. I can't say much more than that.

                                                            Ron's - We love Ron's. I've written about it on CH as well. Every time we go back to Tulsa, we go to Ron's (at Christmas time, we went several times). I read Brian S.'s comments, and never knew why the burgers tasted so good. Now I know. I will say, it never occurred to me to ask for the thin burger cooked rare. I just take it the way they cook it. The specialty of Ron's, and the thing that makes it so craveable, is the chili cheeseburger. The burger is prepared, then the chili is ladeled over the top of the burger (bun and all), and fills the plate. You must eat it with a fork. They also have hand cut fries. There are several locations. We go to the one in the Farm shopping center more than others. This is booths and formica, but clean and well lit. This is something special. But, unfortunately, no wine. And, I'm not sure your SO will enjoy it as much. Lots of families and small children mean that the floors sometimes get cracker crumbs and such on it. Maybe you can leave her to shop at Utica Square and take your sis to Ron's. (They aren't super close, but Tulsa's pretty quick to get around in.)

                                                            You are very lucky to be staying at the Ambassador. I used to work at a law firm, and that's where we put up all of our major out of town clients. You will probably want to have one of your meals at the Chalkboard in the Ambassador. I've only had breakfast there, and a happy hour meet and greet. But, I've heard raves about their food.

                                                            McGill's - Brian S. mentioned their lobster pasta. I used to have their lobster pasta for lunch frequently when I worked downtown. It was one of my fave dishes in all of Tulsa. I'm wondering, though, if they've changed it, because he said it was a "red cream sauce" and what I had was a regular cream sauce. At any rate, your SO will be comfortable in McGill's and can certainly get wine there. This was the place that our sales reps always went to when I worked in telecom. Although, they were all ordering steaks and drinks.

                                                            BBQ - This is a tough one. I moved FROM Oklahoma TO Texas, so my thing is that I desperately miss the sweet sauces in OK. (Billy Sims is our favorite, and mom bought my husband a case last year for his birthday). However, since moving to Texas, with their tangy vinegar & black peppery sauces, I now have a new appreciation for the meat itself. I can't recall a smoky BBQ place in Tulsa that smells and tastes like the Lockhart BBQ or Cooper's in TX. I'm sorry I can't come up with something for you. I hold a special place in my heart for Oklahoma BBQ, but you may not. We go to Billy Sims when we visit, but it's not smoky and I've never seen a pit. On the upside, your SO would feel safe. They are in nice areas. No wine, though.

                                                            Catfish - I know a fabulous catfish place 45 minutes from Tulsa (in Wagoner County). It's a small town country cafe. Clean, safe, friendly, but poorly decorated. It's really delicious, but may not be what you're looking for. It's Baker's Fish House (internet says it's in Porter, OK, we've always just called it Wagoner).

                                                            Chicken Fried Steak - my husband and I have wracked our brains trying to think of the best CFS in Tulsa, and can't come up with one. It's not that you'll find bad ones. I just can't tell you "The One" that is the best.

                                                            Mexican - I used to like Chimi's when I lived there. Now that I've moved to Texas, I've had better Tex Mex. It sounds like the others who have commented are more up to speed on Mexican restaurants in Tulsa.

                                                            Finally, if you do get a hankering for Italian while in Tulsa, I highly recommend Mary's Trattoria. I love this place. Their pasta is homemade. They've tastefully decorated with old Italian family memorabilia. It's a little kitsch and casual, but in the evening, they dim the lights a little, and you can sit and enjoy your meal without being rushed at all. The waitstaff is attentive. They have wine. And, it's the best alfredo sauce I've had anywhere. Also, my favorite tiramisu. I understand you have mom and pop Italian restaurants on every corner in your neck of the woods. But, just in case, I had to give Mary's a shout out.

                                                            I have no real ethnic recommends, other than I've heard good things, like Firegoat, about Lanna Thai. The attorneys I worked for loved Ri Le (Vietnamese), which has changed locations to expand sometime in the last ten years. I don't know enough about Vietnamese food to recommend it, but it's had a following for many years. I wish I had more exotic ideas for you.

                                                            You'll find it's easy to get around in Tulsa. The places in the Utica Square area are near downtown, as is the Cherry Street area (15th Street) and Brookside (Peoria). Plus, you can get from one side of town to another in less than thirty minutes (except on the "BA"... or Broken Arrow expressway... at rush hour, or if you go near "Shoppageddon" which is 71st Street near Woodland Hills Mall).

                                                            Tulsa's a really nice town. People are friendly, it's easy to get around, and there aren't a lot of bad areas to avoid. I think you'll have a nice time on your visit.

                                                            1. re: stephanieh

                                                              Thanks for taking the time to write this! One small cavil... I still say Shiloh has about the best chicken fried steak around.

                                                              1. re: Brian S

                                                                No need to thank me. I love Tulsa and like to see others enjoy it too.

                                                                Tell you what, next time I'm in Tulsa, I'll take my mom to Shiloh and I'll get the CFS and let you know what I think. I'm actually still looking for the perfect CFS. I thought I found one here in TX, but the second time I ordered it, it was gristly. I'm "tough" on CFS (pun intended). When I make it at home, I pound the bejeezus out of it so it's tender. I just haven't perfected my breading yet, or the best CFS would be at my house.

                                                                What's the breading like on the CFS at Shiloh? I like the kind that gets crispy with all those nooks and crannies and flaky bits all around it. Do they pan fry theirs or deep fry? I also like them to be dinner plate size, because then I know they've pounded the heck out of it. Is their gravy homemade tasting? I found a place here with gravy that tastes like mine from real pan drippings, but their coating didn't stay crispy and didn't cling to the meat well enough. (See, I told you I'm picky about CFS.) I can't say for sure what I ordered the time I went to Shiloh, but I do remember those huge rolls.

                                                                BTW, funny story about the time I went to Shiloh... it was before I was married and was between boyfriends. It was Valentine's Day, and I was going to dinner with my mom. So, we picked the place least likely to be "date night" for dreamy-eyed couples in love. The funny thing was that night, Shiloh had decked out the whole restaurant in Valentine's Day decor... glitter, crepe paper, all those cut-out banner things strewn everywhere. They dimmed the lights really low and had candles everywhere, and the waitresses were all wearing long dresses. It was sweet they made the effort, but that phrase "lipstick on a pig" comes to mind. Anyway, it was memorable and funny.

                                                                1. re: stephanieh

                                                                  You're more of a connoisseur of chicken-fried steak than I am so I don't think you should make a special trip to Shiloh. The CFS was very good but I don't think the gravy used pan drippings. All I asked the waitress was if they used lard. They did, so I ordered it. By the way, you can order cake as a side dish at Shiloh (you get 3 side dishes) and if you do that you get your dessert free. (Talley's is an even bigger bargain; last year I got a huge chicken-fried steak, two sunny side up eggs, home fries, biscuits and gravy -- all of which cost $6.55 -- and then I paid extra for a stack of huge pancakes. I didn't need dessert.) Shiloh is very popular, and if you go much after 5 PM you might have to stand on line.

                                                                  One place you might like is Joyner's, described here:

                                                                  1. re: Brian S

                                                                    Brian, I just realized I sounded like a supreme CFS snob before. I really didn't mean to. The gravy doesn't have to be from pan drippings. I don't think that's very common, and the CFS can still be delicious. Lard's certainly a plus. I'm all for lard. (I think I'll adopt that as my personal slogan.) Cake as a side dish... what an awesome concept!!! (That reminds me of the places in TX that list "mac and cheese" as "vegetables").

                                                                    It's probably been 20 years since I've been to Tally's (Is it Talley's or Tally's? And were they opening another location across the street?) I used to love their breakfast, but I don't remember ever ordering the CFS there. I can't even remember why I stopped going. Did they close for awhile and remodel or something? They totally went off my radar long ago, which means I missed out on a lot of good breakfasts.

                                                              2. re: stephanieh

                                                                My son's at He was asked to come back and be a mainstay, so much so that they kept open a spot for weeks for him. He was at my place for a lot of the summer. He had worked there some before, as well as a long stint at Bouldin's while in school. He's the handsome kid with the naked girl near his wrist! Typical artist.... (I'm very proud of him


                                                                I've heard that J.M.'s Restaurant, in Eufala has a great CFS.
                                                                I've been several times to McGehee Catfish Restaurant, in Marietta.
                                                                I mentioned JM's to my SO and she said yuck! She does not want a greasy CFS or calf fries. She won't want much catfish but I could probably talk her into going to Baker's, especially if it is on the way to do the Talimena scenic drive in the Kiamichi Mountains. I used to go there in my 20's.
                                                                BTW, is a user content map I have created in Google Maps. See my other maps if you are ever in those areas.
                                                                What is OK's laws regarding BYOBs? Are there any places that do that/allow that or could I bring a bottle or six-pack into a hamburger joint that does not serve any alcohol without asking?

                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                  Your link to the Foodheads post doesn't work because you put a dot after the link, here it is corrected

                                                                  1. re: Brian S

                                                                    Foodheads!!!... how funny... I was just there last week getting breakfast tacos. (They were delicious! I love the huge chunks of roasted potatoes they have for them!). I'd go more often, but I don't parallel park very well. There are some sandwiches I've been wanting to try there, but have never made it at lunchtime. I don't remember seeing a guy with a naked girl near his wrist. (I'm assuming that's a tat, and not an actual naked girl... but that would be pretty funny, wouldn't it?) I'll look for him next time I go.

                                                                    Back to OK. I'm embarassed to say in all the years I lived there, I never went much outside of Tulsa. Most of the years I was on my own and working ungodly hours, but didn't have as much money to play with. When I did take a vacation, I felt the need to get all the way out of Oklahoma. Now, when we go back, it's an eight hour drive, so driving even more when we get there isn't appealing. I'm putting McGehee's on my list of places to try to get to sometime.

                                                                    Firegoat already mentioned the onion rings at Baker's. If you go, you must get them... no excuses. I don't typically like onion rings, and I like theirs. They are thin cut onion strings fried extra crispy and delicious. And even a half order is a huge mound of them. I'd also recommend one of my all-time favorite desserts... their peanut butter pie. This is similar to a pecan pie, but made with peanuts, and presumably there's peanut butter in there too. They have pie every day, but the flavors alternate. If you call a day ahead of time, they will make sure they have that one for you.

                                                                    I wish I could answer your question about BYOB. That's kind of a foreign concept to Okies. I've honestly never seen it done. Not to say they'd frown on it. I just think you might get some blank stares.

                                                                2. re: stephanieh

                                                                  Catfish.... that reminded me of a BBQ place I had forgotten, Billy Ray's BBQ and Catfish.
                                                                  I would also second a nomination for Bakers. When I lived in Muskogee we used to eat their several times a month. Get the onion rings if you go

                                              2. re: Scargod

                                                Some bbq ideas
                                                in Tulsa
                                                Check and see if Latimer's has reopened by then. Has been closed for a while, but the last time I talked to the owner he had said he planned to reopn.
                                                I personally like
                                                Elmer's bbq - try the bad-wich
                                                Knotty Pine bbq
                                                If you don't mind driving a little ways, head down highway 75 south to Okmulgee and check out Massey's bbq
                                                or Favor's BBQ (just up the street from it
                                                )Speaking of hole in the wall's, I'd recommend Slick's BBQ in Muskogee (just about 40 miles to the east) but I haven't been there in some time and have no idea if it is still open.

                                                As far as destination trips, I'm not very familiar with the SE part of OK, so I'll leave that up to someone else. While you said you don't really want to seek out Italian food here, there is a wonderful little town called Krebs south of Tulsa. Kind of the little Italy of Oklahoma. Just google Krebs and italian food and oklahoma and you should find numerous restaurants as well as a great little grocery that imports their food direct.
                                                Another easy trip is over to Wagoner to try out the Canebreak. Here's a link to an article that explains a little about what you could find there.

                                                Edited to add, that your 62 y.o. significant other might enjoy a Sunday brunch at the Philbrook Museum's restaurant.
                                                I've never been disappointed with the food or the service there.

                                                I would recommend some of the many Oklahoma vinyards to tour, more for the wine tasting then the food, although depending on the event there can be some good food to be found, but based on the time of year you are coming, it would be rather pointless.

                                                If you're thinking about striking out to some different places, you might surf over here to the tulsa world's top 100 in oklahoma list and see if anything catches your eye.

                                              3. re: Jocelyn P

                                                Just wanted to update the link for the palace cafe menus are now at

                                                1. re: josephholsten

                                                  Thanks! I go to Palace Café quite often for lunch and brunch and have reviewed it here:

                                              4. re: Scargod

                                                A few other thoughts.... I tend to think of them on the drive home from work......
                                                Breakfast - I agree with the poster who mentioned Brookside by Day in the Brookside area. Always a fun place to eat and delicious potatoes.
                                                The Blue Dome Diner which is fairly close to the Ambassador.
                                                Talley's Diner -- where I"ve had some great cinnamon rolls in the past
                                                and Ollie's Station and Railroad Museum which is one of my favorite weekend breakfast stops

                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                  Last year the Tulsa World had two long and very useful lists of hundreds of places, each with informative comment:



                                                  1. re: Brian S

                                                    Brian, These lists are very helpful.
                                                    RE, fine dining when the golf pros are in town: Many of these are not listed in this thread. What's up with that?
                                                    Like, Baxter's Interurban, Brasserie, French Hen, Garlic Rose, Green Onion, Michael V's, Rick's Cafe Americain, Warren Duck Club, Snooty Fox, Jazzmo's (Cajun?), Prive, Charleston's, Kampai Lounge, Brookside Bar & Grill, Alioli Tapas Bar and A Bar & Kitchen?
                                                    Those at RiverWalk Crossing, like Fifty 5 Degrees (contrived name-should be resto in NYC), Los Cabos, Riverside Grill, Redrock Grill, etc. I know the thread is about "Utica Square" but I seem to have hijacked the thread and the RiverWalk Crossing area is only six miles away. That's nothing to us.
                                                    India Palace and Helen of Troy, in the Southern Hills area?

                                                    Celebrity Club? "The setting, though, remains formal, punctuated throughout with crushed red velvet and gold trim." Sounds to kitschy/snooty for me.

                                                    The "100 list" is too much steak, burgers, pizza and fried food. I can take a little along those lines, but not too much. I did note Bodeans.

                                                    I hope y'all will comment on some of these. Thanks!

                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                      I can only comment on the one's I've been to. I've already posted on French Hen and the Riverside Grill, both of which I was surprised no one had mentioned yet.

                                                      Baxter's interurban is okay food, nothing special. Green Onion is fantastic. Rick's Care Americain is very good. Los Cabos I have not gone to but have heard its not good, chain type mexican food. Charleston's = chain, although decent food, but not what I thought you wanted. Bodean's is a favorite of mine, but since it is heavily seafood, I didn't mention it since you were coming from the coast. I've always had really really good seafood there and they have a gorgeous new location.

                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                        Firegoat, you've heard right about Los Cabos. I swear there was Velveeta inside my cheese enchiladas. (I like Velveeta, in the privacy of my own home, as a sort of guilty pleasure occasionally. But, Velveeta has no place in an semi-expensive chain Mexican restaurant. I take a very firm stance on that.)

                                                        I also agree about Green Onion. Or, at least, I can attest that it was fabulous the last time I went, which was 1994-ish. They had a seafood pasta that was my "special occasion dish" (ie I requested it several birthdays in a row).

                                                        Charleston's - I love Charlestons food. That being said, though, I've been to two other restaurants with a very similar menu (American meat and potatoes) and ambience (highly polished dark wood and flickering gas lamp type lighting). If you've been to Houston's (of the Hillstone Restaurant Group) or California Dreaming (CentraArchy Group), then Charleston's will feel very familiar to you. I find it extremely odd that "Charleston's" in Tulsa, "Houston's" in Austin, and "California Dreaming" in Charleston, SC, aren't all owned by the same eccentric person who likes naming restaurants after cities/states they are not in.

                                                        Did Bourbon Street become Jazzmo's due to name change or due to management change? I liked Bourbon Street, but can't vouch for Jazzmo's.

                                                        Celebrity Club - this place has no windows, thus, when I was a child and we drove by, I thought naughty things were being done in there. Turns out, it's just one of those old-fashioned supper club type places. I've not eaten there, but my mom did recently with a group of retired teachers. She commented that the decor hasn't changed in years. I'm gonna say, Scargod, that your kitsch/snooty assessment is probably accurate.

                                                        I'd like to help you more, but I've just realized, while thinking back on any special occasion meals I had while living in Oklahoma, they all involved pasta or red meat.

                                                        The lists are kind of helpful, and also kind of a hodgepodge. I wouldn't have put some of them in the same sentence. Baxter's Interurban, for example, had a decent grilled chicken sandwich last time I went, but they are kind of a dressed up sports bar. Snooty Fox, if it's still where it used to be, was kind of a dressed up pub. Brookside bar & grill is a dive and I wouldn't dream of making it a destination for food. I can't for the life of me picture that place full of golf pros.

                                                        Bodeans and French Hen have impeccable reputations in Tulsa. Unfortunately, I don't have personal experience with either of them.

                                                        1. re: stephanieh

                                                          Stephanieh, the Celebrity Club is on my short list of places to try. LOL.... mostly for the historical/kitsch factor.

                                                          Speaking of restaurants with no windows.... I have not been to Jamil's since they moved to the former Jimmy's Egg location on 51st. I didn't mention Jamil's because Scargod didnt want a steak house, but I really do think lebanese Steak houses ARE a big part of Tulsa. (If I were mentioning steak houses I would have mentioned Avalon and Molly's Landing as well!)
                                                          I'll be interested to see how Jamil's takes to the new location.... that kind of shady, weird hole in the wall place was so much of it before.....

                                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                                            Firegoat, I thought I'd replied... I must have dreamt it. I've been itching to add Molly's Landing to our recs for Scargod, but I've only had steak there. It's just such a pleasant place to sit and have a long unrushed meal.

                                                            I'd not heard Jamil's moved to the Jimmy's Egg building. That's gotta have an effect on the dining experience. That old Jamil's building was just a true landmark. Funny story about one time I went to Jamil's... well, I guess it's not "funny ha ha". I was with several other women and one guy. The only person who got addressed at the table was the guy. He had to ask for drink refills for the rest of us or we'd have got nuthin'. The steak was divine, but it was a weird experience. It's been years since I've been there... not totally because of that, but partly.

                                                            There is part of me that wants to know what Celebrity Club looks like inside. I'd have gone by now if I were as curious about the food. I just never hear anyone talk about the food there.

                                                            1. re: stephanieh

                                                              I've also just had steak at Molly's Landing. But I LOVE the ambience there. Just such a nice place for a relaxing meal.

                                                              I haven't been to the new Jamil's location. I tend to agree with you, I don't know how they will replacate that same experience there. I will miss the Jimmy's Egg there. I only went maybe one weekend a month there for breakfast, and the waitresses always knew our drink order before we said it.

                                                              And stephanieh, I feel the exact same way about the Celebrity Club. I want to go look at it... every time I read about it I want to go.... but I've never heard that much about the food.

                                                      2. re: Scargod

                                                        Many of the restaurants listed for the golf pros are not "fine dining." I have not eaten at some of them, but here are my personal views of the ones I know:

                                                        Brasserie: I have eaten there one time, and enjoyed it very much.
                                                        French Hen: also one time (lunch), enjoyed it very much. The French Hen is the established classic restaurant, while the Brasserie is newer and hipper. From what I've seen and heard, the clientele is generally older at the French Hen.

                                                        Fifty 5 Degrees is gone, much to my chagrin. I really liked the two meals I had there. In it's place is Garlic Rose, which moved from Brookside. (edited to add that they did not move, rather added a second location) I have not eaten there since the move, but at the old location I found the food wildly inconsistent. I've had some fabulous meals there and a couple of awful ones. This may be a weird quirk, but it bothers me that artichoke and/or asparagus seemed to be in nearly every dish. The menu feels repetitve to me. In my last meal there, the same ice cold tomato-basil bruschetta topping was present in three of my four courses. Thank heavens it wasn't in my dessert.

                                                        India Palace: I like to eat here. They have a very good lunch buffet and the service is fantastic. The friendly owners always seem to be in the dining area, chatting with the customers (many of whom are obviously regulars). Extensive menu, pleasing decor and music.

                                                        Helen of Troy: family-owned Lebanese place. Owners are very welcoming and friendly, but overall I prefer La Roma's food.

                                                        Michael V's: been there once, not going back. Atmosphere is nice enough, but the food was waaaaay to rich for my taste. Butter, butter everywhere.

                                                        Redrock Grill: the food here is also very rich. It's a chain, albeit a nice one.

                                                        Aioli is gone. I think Kampai Lounge is gone, too.

                                                        Charleston's: eh. It's okay, I guess, but nothing exciting.

                                                        Los Cabos is just plain awful. I'm not wild about any of the restaurants at the Riverwalk, although I do frequently get gelato at Kaffe Bona (formerly Nordaggio's).

                                                        1. re: Jocelyn P

                                                          I am with you for almost all of your post and I appreciate it greatly.
                                                          A few questions: La Roma is a "gourmet" pizza and Lebanese food place, correct? The Lebanese food is good, correct? I could care less about the pizza.
                                                          I think we will skip "Garlic Rose". I think I get what you are saying and I want more imagination than that. Yumm! Tomato-basil ice cream!
                                                          I think I'll let the "old hens" have the French Hen, if you know what I mean.
                                                          I've got a few more to enter on my Google map:
                                                          I am curious about what Tulsan Chowhounders think.

                                                          I am also still trying to understand if in OK you can have a BYOB place or do any restaurants do corkage fees and let you bring wine in? I called one burger place and they said "no alcohol allowed"! Are liquor laws as wierd as in Texas, or is it up to the individual restaurant?

                                                          1. re: Scargod

                                                            Scargod, I don't know the Ok liquor laws, but I believe you'll find they're even weirder than TX. Grocery stores in OK can only sell 3.2 beer. There are probably other weird laws for restaurants.

                                                            I took another look at your map. I smiled that Italian food got a special heart icon. : ) And the little fish icons, too... so creative.

                                                            One place I noticed, though, Senor Tequila... I can't warn you enough not to go there. We were in Tulsa the first part of August for hubby's family reunion. His cousin and her family (husband & four daughters & one of the girls' boyfriends) all wanted to meet up at Senor Tequila for dinner. They seemed to really love it, and we hadn't been, so we were game. It was bland with a capital B. You know how usually, when you order some kind of enchilada or combo plate at a Mexican restaurant, sauces all run into each other and the plates look like a brightly colored hot mess? These plates came out with way too much "white" showing. My enchiladas were pale (I'd ordered some kind of pork and cheese enchilada. The enchiladas were skimpy, had little cheese inside, and were topped with a spoonful of non-BBQ pulled pork like stuff. It was weird. Everyone at the table had ordered some kind of enchilada combo, and everyone's food was almost "beige".)

                                                            We'd treated, and the upside is that we only paid about $120 for eight adults to eat there. The downside, it was terrible. I know I've been a bit wordy, but if I hadn't warned you, I'd feel bad.

                                                            There's one place for Mexican that I haven't seen mentioned here. I've been a little hesitant recommending it though. Ricardo's has been in Tulsa at least since I was a kid. I ate there a lot in my twenties when it was close to where I worked and it was always good. Last year we were back in Tulsa, though, and I was craving it, so made hubby take me there. It wasn't quite as good, and I couldn't put my finger on why. I'd be interested in what the other Tulsans think of it. Did we go on an "off" day? Or have they gone downhill?

                                                            1. re: stephanieh

                                                              I'm surprised that French Hen gets an older crowd. The chef-owner looks about 17 and I sometimes see him in the trendy young Tulsa bars. He also owned the ubercool Table Ten, which closed last year. I heard that he totally changed and modernized the old French Hen menu. But I've never eaten there so could be wrong.

                                                              As for Senor Tequila, when they first opened at Harvard and 51, they were a cut above your average Tex-Mex... some of the food was halfway authentic Mexican. They did good carnitas. I ate in the Brookside branch last year and it wasn't quite as good as it used to be... but still I wouldn't call it bland. There are a LOT of Mexican restaurants in Tulsa that no one I know has visited. Most are way east on 21st Street, which is the new Mexican nabe. The old traditional one was on Lewis just south of Admiral.

                                                              1. re: Brian S

                                                                I am curious about more true ethnic Mexican places out 21st street or in the Catoosa area, like "Taco Mayo", ""Casa San Marcos", Casa Garcia", or "Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy". I'm wondering where the restaurants are that are in the Mexican neighborhoods that the Mexicans go to?
                                                                I adjusted my map and took your suggestion about Senor Tequila. I don't think I would care for it.

                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                  Wow I just stumbled onto this awesome thread! what fun.
                                                                  If you want to see local Mexicans, drop by Cancun International after Sunday Services. It is pretty close to the Our Lady of Guadelupe shrine.

                                                                  They only do Menudo on the weekend.

                                                                  1. re: Betty

                                                                    Thanks! This is what I find; that menudo and moles may only be available on one weekend day.
                                                                    I/we will have about 14 meal opportunities during our stay in Tulsa. We'll have one dinner (for sure), at my Sis's house and perhaps another. All four of my siblings are big on cooking and at least three will be there. Five meals out will be breakfast. That leaves 5 lunches and 4 dinners. We will do at least one museum lunch.
                                                                    I'm not going to have an iron-clad itinerary, because, for one thing, there are at least eight siblings or grown kids involved. I'm just trying to wrangle this dining out a little and provide choices. As I mentioned, my Sis is a (selective), vegetarian. She will eat fish and a few other critters. We will probably have the greatest latitude for breakfasts and lunches, since it may just be us or one other couple.
                                                                    This is a long-winded way of getting back to Mexican the locals eat. I am adventurous. Others are not so much so. I hope we get a chance to eat at one or two good "Chowish" places! This implies that the food is very good (and not the run-of-the-mill), without having to throw $25-30 an entree at it.

                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                      Hmm, for a big group, even though you can no doubt get better Italian there, I'd still have to recommend a trip to Krebs near McAlester. One of my favorite eating experiences there is going with a big boisterous group and being served family style Italian.
                                                                      If you go, you have to try some "Choc Beer" from Pete's Place
                                                                      make a visit to Lovera's Family Grocery
                                                                      There is also Isle of Capri and Roseanne's.
                                                                      I think the experience there with the family style food is what makes it worth the drive for me. That and Lovera's always has something I want to buy to bring home. I just take along a cooler.....

                                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                                        Hmmmmm. McAlister or OK city? About the same distance! But I was thinking we might do the scenic drive in the Kiamichis.
                                                                        SO has never been in Oklahoma! In a way, I want to shock her a little... :) Would Joyner's or Shiloh's do that? A funky Q place might..
                                                                        There's three or four Italian places in Krebs. Which one?

                                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                                          Krebs is just south of McAlester, so kind of on your way to SE Oklahoma.

                                                                          Of course if you're going south, you could try Wild Horse Mountain BBQ near Sallisaw. When I was working out in that area the locals swore that it was the best ever. I tried it, and enjoyed it. Don't think I'd say the best ever but certainly pretty good. It's kind of a legend down that way.

                                                                    2. re: Betty

                                                                      Betty, is this the same Cancun that you are talking about?

                                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                                        Same address. Thanks for digging that review up!

                                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                                          I didn't know Michael Stern had a website. He has five Tulsa reviews there...

                                                                          Here's his Gourmet Magazine article about White River:

                                                                          I haven't been to Cancun in years. I liked it when I went, maybe not my favorite but good. The owner is from Honduras I believe, but no conch soup or pupusas, it's Mexican chow only. Closed Wednesdays.

                                                                        2. re: Firegoat

                                                                          Cancun... that's the place that the men in the office would go for lunch and come back with their eyes rolling back in their heads. They literally ate til they made themselves sick every time they went, then came back groaning in that pleasure/pain way that a good meal does to you. They never asked any of us girls to go to lunch with them on "trash Mexican food days". Sadly, I never made it to Cancun when I lived in Tulsa.

                                                                      2. re: Scargod

                                                                        Scargod, you don't want Taco Mayo... they're a regional chain a la Taco Bell. It also sounds like you wouldn't want Abuelo's. They're a higher end chain (think Cheesecake Factory with Mexican food). I ate there once years ago and didn't like it, but they had just opened. I also blame myself for maybe ordering wrong, but I haven't been curious enough to go back, and we even have them here in Austin.

                                                                        I just read that you wanted to shock your SO. *evil grin* And, here I've been worrying about places where she might get something on her clothes. You're looking in the right part of town for real Mexican food. Make a big square between 21st and 31st from Mingo to Garnett and I'm sure you'll run across several Mexican hole-in-the-wall joints. I doubt if they have websites, though. If I were in Tulsa, I'd case the neighborhood for you.

                                                                        1. re: stephanieh

                                                                          Man! That Abuelo's "Mexican Food Embassy" sounded like a compound I'd want to get into and seek asylum. Dang. I appreciate you steering me away. None are on my map! I guess the even allow Taco Bells in Austin. Boy are they liberal!
                                                                          I appreciate the offer. Funny we just hired a Stephanie N who is of French ancestry, but all-American.
                                                                          I might get some sleuthing done by my Sis or her DH. Damn, there I go using abbreviations! I mean her hubby. :)
                                                                          I went to a hole in the wall Q joint in Austin (I may have written it up on CH), where she would not stay and eat in the place. It was a little sketchy and everything was tobacco brown and the air thick with smoke. We were the only whities there! This was Sam's.
                                                                          I was thinking more of taking her to a redneck Oakie place with a down-home kinda setting and good country food.

                                                                          1. re: Scargod

                                                                            Along the lines of a good downhome Okie place, may I suggest a trip north to Bartlesville to Murphy's Steak house --- The home of the hot hamburger. A friend who used to work there took me there.... and what a unique place to eat. I did have the "hot hamburger" and it was unlike anything i'd ever had before. You can combine the trip with a drive to Woolaroc or the Price Tower.
                                                                            Here's a review of Murphy's from road food.

                                                                            1. re: Firegoat

                                                                              Reminds me of the Quebec-French dish Poutine. Can you get cheese or onions on it?

                                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                                I know you can definitely get onions, as they are a standard offer. I'm sure if you asked for cheese they would accomodate.... no idea what kind of cheese it would be tho.

                                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                                    Well I see you can get a Hot Cheeseburger.... so I assume the cheese is under the fries and the gravy. I'm also going to assume it is probably of the american variety.
                                                                                    Wouldn't make a difference to me.... it was pretty darn good.

                                                                          2. re: stephanieh

                                                                            stephanieh, we could always send him to Casa Bonita since it has reopened (as seen on South Park) . LOL. I actually do plan to go there soon, just for the kitsch factor, not so much for the food. It's just one of those cultural icon kind of dinosaur places. I'm waiting to find a friend with kids to go with, as us two adults might look a little silly.

                                                                            1. re: Firegoat

                                                                              Trying to help me out, huh? Its outside looks very cool but I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole if it is still "all you can eat".

                                                                              1. re: Scargod

                                                                                lol I"m sure it is.... with the little flags that you raise on the table when you are ready for more. :) Now, Now... I didn't ACTUALLY recommend it..... it just kind of came up. Okay, now all kidding aside... I did think of one other place today. (they always come up in the drive from or to work). African/carribean food at the Talking Drum.

                                                                                You have to read through their menu... especial down toward the bottom with his food from home. Very friendly place to eat. Don't know why I didn't think of it.

                                                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                  I saw that, and was curious. I thought it was a good idea and then nixed it. Can't remember why! Perhaps I thought that for Tulsa (sorry), I thought it just couldn't be really good. We have some African influenced/style restaurants in New Haven. What I've had, I've enjoyed.
                                                                                  The menu is fascinating, and, by golly, they have wine!

                                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                                    He cooked for a benefit for his old school that I went to and the food was really outstanding. The restaurant itself isn't overly fancy (its in a strip mall) but you couldn't meet a more genuine chef.

                                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                                      btw, I'm really looking forward to your trip and the review of every place afterwards. I know its (Tulsa -- sorry) LOL, but there are some really good food places here. Will be interesting to see your impressions after you've done so much preliminary research.

                                                                                      1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                        Thanks for putting the spotlight on me and asking for the drum roll..... Now I'm sweating and have lost my appetite.
                                                                                        I know there are many good places to eat in Tulsa. I remember fondly looking for the simple catfish shack, on the side of the road, or going to get moonshine somewhere outside of Muskogee. I had my first haircut by a woman in Okay. She rubbed so gently against me during the process. I've never wanted a man to cut my hair since!
                                                                                        You can believe I will take my cameras and laptop and chronicle the event. My sister keeps asking me...when do you find the time to do all this shit?

                                                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                                                          Heh, no pressure! I just know we'll be curious to see what you select. and how they turn out. Thinking about the restaurants reminded me that i had plans to try out the new Japanese restaurant that came in this summer as well as try one of our vietnamese restaurants.

                                                                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                            There are a lot of Vietnamese restaurants in Tulsa and even one of something people would love to have in New York... a Hmong restaurant!

                                                                            2. re: Scargod

                                                                              While driving to White River today I saw a tiny Salvadoran restaurant on Sheridan just south of Admiral! Pupuseria & Tienda El Salvador at 13 South Sheridan. I never heard of this place before.

                                                                              1. re: Brian S

                                                                                That Salvadoran joint was reviewed in this week's Tulsa World.


                                                                                1. re: Brian S

                                                                                  I have eaten there a couple of times, the food is simple but good.

                                                                            3. re: Brian S

                                                                              Brian, you're so right. I had eaten at the 51st & Harvard location years ago, but completely forgotten the name of the place. What I remember about that location was that it did lean more toward authentic Mexican, not Tex Mex at all, and that the staff and many of the diners were Mexican. So, last month when we went to the Senor Tequila on Brookside, I never even connected the two until I read your post. The Brookside loc, from what I could gather from the menu, was trying to be more Tex Mex than authentic Mexican. There were very few Mexicans in the restaurant at all, certainly none of the diners, and the food was disappointing. Thanks for jogging my memory. I assume the 51st & Harvard loc is gone now due to the BA widening project?

                                                                              1. re: stephanieh

                                                                                I believe that location is still there. They are holding out to the end... which might be a long time in coming. I remember that five years ago everyone was saying that the road would be built within six months... and five years later we're still waiting. But every other store in that mall is still gone. I can't guarantee that the food is as good though, since I think they might have lost their Mexican clientele.

                                                                          3. re: Scargod

                                                                            No, I wouldn't call La Roma's pizza gourmet, rather standard offerings done really well with fresh, high quality foods. The Lebanese/Middle Eastern food is very, very good. We've been eating there regularly for the last four years and view it as going to a trusted friend's house for dinner. We've gotten to know the family and their food philosophy and I feel really good about feeding my kids at La Roma. Sadly, the patriarch of the family died earlier this year but his wife and daughters continue on.

                                                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                Thanks for that. After reading this for about an hour I think I "could" bring a Oklahoma stamped bottle of wine into a place that sells wine, IF they allowed it and IF I had a club membership with the restaurant. Then, they could not serve it to me (as I read the statue). Still don't know if any restaurants I'm interested in are allowing it. I read that "Bella's is BYOB, the corkage fee is $5." I found a restaurant in OK city that welcomed bringing in wine.

                                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                                  Fusco's Riversidegrill has a wine locker option, where you rent a locker for a year and special order your wines in to be held there so they are always available. Kind of like the old bottle clubs back before "liquor by the wink" was abolished in Oklahoma. Calling ahead and asking would be your best bet. And obviously, if the place can't sell wine/liquor/beer, you can't bring your own in.

                                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                                    Which restaurant in OKC did you find that was BYOB? How did you find it? I've been curious to know if we had any of those in this area!


                                                                                    1. re: almccasland

                                                                                      Bella! I did a search of the internet and I couldn't find any others.

                                                                      3. re: Scargod

                                                                        I'm surprised that no one has mentioned The French Hen or Michael Fusco's new restaurant by the river. I haven't been to the French Hen in years, and while I went to Flavor's, haven't been to the new restaurant yet so I can't comment on it, other than I've always been impressed with Fusco's food at his old restaurant and during one cooking class I had the opportunity to be a part. The French Hen always used to get good reviews, has it slipped in recent years?

                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                          I did not find your comments on French Hen. Does Micheal Fusco's Riverside Grill have a nice view? I forgot that we like "views" and romantic settings. Will probably be too cool at Christmas to sit/eat outside....
                                                                          Not that we are big on buffets, but would anyone, besides "tiomano" rate the Canebrake highly over the Green Onion and Micheal Fusco's Riverside Grill? Do they do regular lunch and dinner meals?
                                                                          True, I'm less inclined to eat at a chain restaurant. I probably would not go there, no matter how good I hear it is. I did not realize it was a chain.
                                                                          When I read of Bodean's reputation, time in Tulsa, and that they're a real fishmonger, I might have to change my mind. I can only eat so much beef, pork and lamb.
                                                                          I have updated my map to include places of interest, though I still have some to add..

                                                                        2. re: Scargod

                                                                          A couple of other places you might want to consider for lunch, that often don't come to mind as "restaurants' are Hebert's Specialty Meats (Cajun) which now does lunch, and Siegi's Sausage Factory.

                                                                          1. re: Scargod

                                                                            Scargod, so many posts about the same old places around T-town.

                                                                            My new favorite upscale dining location is The Canebrake Kitchen 4 miles beyond Wagoner, it is only a 50 minute drive from Utica Square. Either for dinner, tomorrow I am headed out to see Chef Sam Bracken and the gang in the kitchen for the best Sunday Brunch in Eastern Oklahoma.

                                                                            For upscale Asian, the best place is KEO on S Peoria in the Brookside area. It is more than just Thai, there are Vietnamese dishes, Indonesian dishes, Cambodian dishes (the chef owner is from Cambodia)

                                                                            my favorite bbq in town is Albert G's, it is more texas style bbq with sauce on the side. The beans are also very good. I realize that prefered bbq is a personal thing and will not say that others are worse, they are just not to my personal liking Albert G's is on Harvard close to where you will be staying. If you want to wander, then my new favorite bbq outside of Tulsa is Buffalo BBQ in Sperry. It is the trailer in the Daylight Donuts parking lot open only Monday -Friday because the owner, Donny Teel, is usually away on weekends competing in bbq competitions. He took first place over all at the American Royal competing against 500 teams a couple of weekends ago. He does sauce but it isn't heavy or icky.

                                                                            White River is a great place for the food and for the experience. It is a favorite of Jane and Michael Stern of Roadfood fame. They have talked about the hushpuppies on Lynn Rosetta Kaspers NPR show.

                                                                            Stonehorse is a very good restaurant but I like to go to the market next door sometimes to create a meal.

                                                                            Another fun market is La Donna's on 15th, the best cheese shop in town by far.

                                                                            I am another person who goes to Rio Verde for breakfast, my favorites are the huevos rancheros or the breakfast burrito.

                                                                            A lot of people like to go to Tucci's on 15th for Italian. It is just a little neighborhood place also close to where you will be.

                                                                            For Indian I like to go to Desi Wok. It isn't fancy but the food is good and so many times I am the only non-Asian there. The Kofta, the Tikka Masala, the Saag, all are good.

                                                                            There are some new places in town that I have not been able to try yet but when I do I will post.

                                                                            I have no knowledge of BYO restaurant policies, the liquior laws here are very provincial and protestant.

                                                                            Restaurant reviews, Scott in the World is the best. The writer for the UTW seems to be even more fluffy. This is small city, and caters to the local advertisers. There is one web site you might find interesting reading,

                                                                            That is all for now.

                                                                            Oh, a newer place I forgot about, the Daily Grill might be of interest to your sister. It is in the Crown Plaza but is independent of the Crown Plaza. It is a chain headquartered out of Beverly Hills. This property is their first inhotel property. Very clubby feeling and the valet parking downstairs if free fi validated.

                                                                            1. re: tiomano

                                                                              This is great, thank you! I have been meaning to go to Buffalo's BBQ but I haven't yet. I can give you the address, it's 201 N Oklahoma 11 (which basically is the north end of Peoria Av), telephone 288-6200.

                                                                              Desi Wok is interesting in that they feature Desi Chinese... Chinese dishes adapted for Indian tastes, which originated in Calcutta years ago and became popular in NYC a year or two back.

                                                                              1. re: Brian S

                                                                                My friends offered to take me to any restaurant in Tulsa and I chose Buffalo's BBQ. I'm glad I did. It's located just east of the town center of Sperry. The town center of Sperry is a few sad-looking boarded up brick shops clustered around a misshapen brick gazebo. Must have been quite attractive way back when. It is indeed located in the parking lot of a donut shop. Donny Teel is a great guy (I phoned before going and he put ribs aside to make sure I got some) and the contests have won are evidently the BBQ equivalent of the World Series.

                                                                                We got a whole huge rack of ribs plus 2 sides for $26 (tax included) I shared it with 3 southerners who agreed that it was just about the best ribs they'd ever tasted. (The baked beans were excellent too.) The sauce is very good but the meat was so excellent I didn't use sauce.

                                                                                201 N Oklahoma 11 (which basically is the north end of Peoria Av), telephone 288-6200

                                                                                It's a neat easy drive along Peoria. Not always open, since he drives his trailer to BBQ contests around the country, so call ahead.

                                                                              2. re: tiomano

                                                                                This is great stuff! Thanks to both of you.
                                                                                I was about to Google Buffalo's BBQ so I could call ahead and make sure he would be there.
                                                                                BTW, don't go by Albert G's Bar-BQ website. I hope the Q is better than that god-awful site!
                                                                                I'm still adding to my Google map and will submit a list of who's in the finals in the near future... Like Obama, I'm busy vetting.

                                                                            2. Just got back from White River Fish Market and it's as good as ever. In fact, I liked it better than the other time I went. The first time I had the broiled flounder ($13.40), a whole fish that looked beautiful on the plate but yielded a few juicy delicious morsels and not much else. This time I had a fried platter ($13), with catfish scallops and shrimp. They have a knack with frying and it was very good indeed. Okay, I have had fried fish done better, but I wasn't complaining as I ate every bit of the huge portion. One of my friends had the broiled salmon ($16)and it didn't look very exciting but it had a surprisingly good flavor.

                                                                              You walk in, and there's a counter next to a display case of fish. You order at the counter -- basically you choose what kind of fish you want, and whether you want it broiled, grilled, or fried. You can even pick the fish you want from the showcase. Then you choose two sides. Please choose the onion rings. They are awesome. You then go pick a table in a big airy room with lots of tables... .and lots of diners, and a waitress will bring your food in short order. As you leave you might want to do what I did, which was to order a quart of gumbo ($6.50) from the retail counter on the other side of the dining room.

                                                                              White River Fish Market & Restaurant
                                                                              1708 N Sheridan, Tulsa

                                                                              Gourmet Magazine review:

                                                                              White River website:

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Brian S

                                                                                I've already decided that this place looks very appealing to me. I think it would be great to get the whole gang to go there and share food!

                                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                                  Well, I don't want to overhype it. It's not the best seafood restaurant in the world, or even in Tulsa. You can probably even get better fried fish in other Tulsa places, such as Joyner's. But it's good and a lot of fun and definitely a Tulsa institution and as of this year they even have a (very inexpensive) wine list. I'm really glad I ate there today.

                                                                              2. I will be testing no restaurants this weekend.... as the State Fair is in town. I plan to spend tomorrow night eating some food on a stick!

                                                                                1. Now here is a restaurant that intriques me..... but somehow I always forget to try it when I'm thinking of a place to go. Today, their chef was on TV doing a demonstration, and the food was impressive, as well as his discussion that his restaurant is now buying local whole pork, so they'll be making their own ham, bacon, and doing some pork shoulder specials. The restaurant is "Lucky's". And I think I skip over them because them name sounds like a bar, not a restaurant. But after seeing their chef's work, I went to the website and checked out the menu. I'm suitably impressed. Has anyone else tried it?

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                    OK, Flaming Bahhhhhhhh, you've got my attention now! "Chicken Fried Rabbit...$24
                                                                                    Chipotle Gravy, Cilantro Mashers, and Grilled Peppers".
                                                                                    The menu is really amazing! I only see local reviews.... I need to do more research.
                                                                                    I suppose you want me to be a guinea pig?

                                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                                      LOL.... it was the chicken fried rabbit that floored me as well. I've never even heard of such a thing!
                                                                                      You might get to be the guinea pig... depending on when you're coming. If it isn't til Christmas I have a feeling i'm gonna have to head in and take one for the team. On TV today he was making this delicious looking noodle, lamb, mushroom dish with truffle oil and mint and ...... mmmmmm it just looked delicious. The lamb that is on their menu is locally purchased as well.... and it is really good lamb. I know several people who have bought lamb from the monestary. And now with local purchased pork, I can't wait to see what new shows up on that menu.
                                                                                      You probably already found this review
                                                                                      and here's a link to the monestary that raises the lamb

                                                                                      1. re: Scargod

                                                                                        We might be able to talk Brian S into being the guinea pig. I think he eats out in Tulsa a bit more often than I do now that I'm living on the farm.

                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                          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.


                                                                                          1. re: Brian S

                                                                                            C;mon Brian... be our guinea pig!
                                                                                            Dang, i feel like I have to meet most of you for drinks and appetizers now.
                                                                                            Okay, a new game... if you ate at lucky's with the current menu... what would you HONESTLY order.... and if you would assume you would be eating with a specific sig other, what do you think they would order?