Archive for the Oklahoma restaurants Category

White Dog Hill

Posted in Oklahoma restaurants, Upscale eclectic on August 17, 2008 by redforkhippie

White Dog Hill — which opened its doors in 2007 — is a relative newcomer to the Mother Road. The building that houses it, however, has been around since 1926, when it was constructed from native stone as a clubhouse for the Clinton Country Club. Owner Nelson King has spent the better end of three years restoring the property, which is situated on a hill three miles east of downtown Clinton, Okla., that offers diners a sweeping view of the countryside and the town below.

The restaurant’s slogan is, “Come for the view … stay for the food,” and both are worth the trip. 

On a recent visit, we started dinner with a large cheese board consisting of three cheeses, bread, an apple, grapes, olives, and mixed nuts, all arranged attractively on a thick wooden board. The appetizer is also available in small and deluxe sizes. The deluxe comes with five cheeses — cheddar, smoked cheddar, gouda, gorgonzola and havarti with dill — and would probably make a light dinner for two all by itself.

Our next course was a Caesar salad, which came with shaved — rather than grated — Parmesan, which I thought was a nice (and flavorful) touch. 

For his entree, Ron chose steak, which came with corn on the cob and a potato salad served cold with green beans and a nice vinaigrette. The steak was tender and succulent, and the potato salad was a creative change of pace from the usual mustard-based fare.

I opted for Cornish game hen, with a baked potato and grilled squash on the side. The hen was stuffed with a delicate cranberry-and-wild-rice dressing, and the squash was exceptional — light yet buttery and gently sweetened.

Other options included grilled smoked pork chops, grilled shrimp, catfish (battered or pan seared) and bacon cheddar burgers.

I let Ron finish my hen so I’d have room left for dessert: lemon pecan pie (right). Ron tried Aunt Ole’s Mud Pie (left). He said it was good. I believe him; he’d finished the whole thing before I had a chance to ask for a bite.

Other dessert options include strawberry shortcake — which we’ve had in the past and can wholeheartedly recommend — and raspberry wine ice cream floats, which we haven’t tried.

The service is quick and friendly, and the historic ambience is wonderful. Diners are encouraged to stick around after dinner to enjoy the view from the terrace, which is outfitted with brightly painted Adirondack chairs.

Hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, although King is considering closing on Wednesdays and adding a Sunday brunch instead. A kids’ menu includes a cheddar burger or a grilled cheese sandwich, both served with salad, chips and a drink. 

Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Prices are moderate, with entrees ranging from $9.50 for a big bacon cheddar burger to $23 for a 16-oz. ribeye.

Reservations are recommended; call (580) 323-6922. White Dog Hill can also accommodate parties and receptions.

Grades:
Value: A
Product: A+
Service: A
Route 66 Spirit: A-
Overall: A

Tally’s Good Food Cafe

Posted in American food, Diners, Oklahoma restaurants on January 15, 2008 by redforkhippie

(Cross-posted from Indie Tulsa, with minor changes.)

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I was disappointed when the late Metro Diner in Tulsa closed to make way for TU’s oh-so-visually-stimulating McDorms, but I wasn’t devastated. To be honest, the Metro’s quality had slipped rather precipitously in recent years, and by the time it closed, I’d already found a better place to meet out-of-town friends for dinner: the aptly named Tally’s Good Food Cafe.

I miss the Metro’s great Deco lines, glass-block windows, chrome accents, and that spectacular pink and aqua neon sign that stood out front, but Tally’s — with its retro-styled sign mounted above the door (on a framework that evokes the Meadow Gold sign in miniature), stylish architectural neon around the exterior (complete with glowing Route 66 shields every few feet), and killer breakfasts — is a fine substitute.

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You have to respect a restaurant that accompanies its chicken-fried steak with a soup bowl of cream gravy, and I think Ron would willingly swap one of his kidneys for a bacon and cheese omelet and a plate of those crispy seasoned home fries from Tally’s.

I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve eaten at Tally’s. The fry cooks know what they’re doing, the waitstaff is friendly and efficient, and although I didn’t ask about the hours, I will say that Ron and I keep strange hours and eat at weird times, and we’ve never come home hungry after heading out in search of a late supper at Tally’s.

Perhaps best of all, the owner, Tally Alame, really appreciates the community that supports his business. Every year, he shows his appreciation by serving a free Thanksgiving dinner to anybody who wants to stop by and eat.

Located on historic Route 66, at the corner of 11th and Yale, Tally’s is also within easy walking distance of the historic Desert Hills Motel, making it popular with my in-laws, who stay at the Desert Hills every time they’re in town and love to start each morning by walking down the block for a cinnamon roll at Tally’s.

Grades:
Value: A
Product: A+
Service: A
Route 66 spirit: A
Overall: A+

Ike’s Chili House

Posted in Chili, Diners, Oklahoma restaurants on January 3, 2008 by redforkhippie

(Cross-posted from Indie Tulsa.)

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Ike’s Chili House has been in Tulsa for as long as my Cubbies have been disappointing their fans.

While it can’t claim to have the best chili on the Mother Road (that distinction belongs to the Rock Cafe in Stroud), the restaurant at 5941 E. Admiral Place — an early alignment of Route 66 — serves a respectable product, with a large side of history.

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Enlarged black-and-white photographs of earlier Ike’s locations grace the walls of the restaurant, and the chili — served straight or with beans — is a tame but flavorful blend of meat and spices. Shakers of ground red pepper and bottles of hot sauce are on all the tables to placate fire-eaters. Three-way chili (over spaghetti, with beans) and other variants are on the menu, but I’ve never bothered to order them. Such niceties strike me as gilding the lily when you’ve got a basic chili that’s so tasty and so filling all by itself.

Of course I was too busy wolfing down a large bowl to remember to take a picture of it the last time we were there, so if you want to see it, you’ll have to head down Admiral and order a bowl.

Ike’s is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

As a West Sider, I am delighted to note that a new location opened last year at 1630 W. 51st St. Click here to read the Tulsa World’s article about it.

Grades:
Value: A
Product: A-
Convenience: B+
Service: A
Overall: A

Blue Dome Diner

Posted in American food, Diners, Oklahoma restaurants on December 28, 2007 by redforkhippie

(Cross-posted from Indie Tulsa.)

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Located at 313 E. 2nd St. in Tulsa’s historic Blue Dome district on the east side of downtown, the Blue Dome Diner offers an upscale spin on old-fashioned diner fare.

Catering to a decidedly eclectic crowd, the diner serves such specialties as quiche, French toast, and grilled cheese sandwiches made with real cheese (not “pasteurized process cheese food”) stacked between thick slices of homemade bread.

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Even a simple bowl of oatmeal becomes a gourmet affair at the Blue Dome Diner, where the cereal is cooked gently, with enough water to moisten it, but not enough to make it mushy; each individual oat remains separate and distinct, sweetened with plenty of brown sugar and big, fat raisins. The oats are a meal unto themselves, but they come with a side dish: toast, fluffy biscuits with thick cream gravy, or the diner’s to-die-for French toast.

The decor features exposed brick walls and poster-sized enlargements of postcards and photographs from Tulsa’s past. The diner sits catty-cornered — and takes its name — from the historic Blue Dome building, an Art Deco structure that once housed a gas station on the original alignment of Route 66.

The staff is friendly, helpful, and supportive of Tulsa’s indie business scene (a Blue Dome waitress clued us in to the existence of Under the Mooch while she was ringing up our order one morning last winter), and the prices — while a bit higher than most diners — are pretty reasonable, considering the quality and quantity of food being served.

Bring quarters to feed the parking meter if you go during the week, as the Blue Dome Diner, like the rest of downtown, suffers from a dearth of free parking. Still, you can usually find a meter fairly close by, and if you aren’t in the mood to walk, there’s a fairly inexpensive ($2 or so) pay lot right next door.

The Blue Dome Diner is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.Saturday and Sunday; and 6 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Grades:
Value: A-
Product: A
Service: A-
Overall: A-

Hank’s Hamburgers

Posted in American food, Burgers, Oklahoma restaurants on December 26, 2007 by redforkhippie

(Cross-posted from Indie Tulsa.)

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In Tulsa, the competition for “best mom-and-pop hamburger stand” is fierce (after living here for three and a half years, I’ve yet to find a less than satisfactory burger), but one contender stands out from the pack: Hank’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers, located at 8933 E. Admiral Place — an old alignment of Route 66 on Tulsa’s north side.

Everything I’ve eaten at Hank’s has been good — the chili, the fries, the burgers — but two items stand out from the pack: the Big Okie and the chocolate-covered peanut butter balls. Even after consuming the former (a behemoth of a burger consisting of four, count ‘em, FOUR quarter-pound beef patties, layered with cheese, grilled onions, and all the trimmings), I manage to find a little room for the latter.

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A couple of years ago, during our first encounter with the peanut butter balls, Ron and I noticed a sign taped to the side of the Pepsi machine that read: “We hate to brag, but these are the best thing you have ever tried.”

It’s a bold assertion, but it comes close to the truth. As far as I’m concerned, there are only two desserts better than a peanut butter ball from Hank’s, and neither is available in Tulsa.*

When Waylon Jennings came through Tulsa, Hank’s was one of his favorite haunts — as evidenced by the autographed photographs of Jennings and his wife, Jessi Colter, hanging in the dining room.

When I stopped by for lunch one afternoon, a radio in the kitchen was playing a James Taylor tune, and the tantalizing smell of grilled onions and sizzling beef hung in the air. I got a single cheeseburger — cooked to order, with grilled onions, mustard, tomato, and pickles — for $2.84 and paid 75 cents apiece for a half-dozen peanut butter balls.

It took all the restraint I could muster to keep from eating the entire bag of rich, creamy, truffle-like creations on the way back to the office.

Roadfood.com did a terrific writeup on Hank’s a couple of years ago. The review includes a photograph of the Big Okie.

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Hank’s opened in 1949 and has been in its current location — a small yellow building on Tulsa’s oldest alignment of Route 66, between Mingo and Memorial — for more than 50 years. The restaurant is open from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The dining room closes at 6:30 p.m., so plan accordingly.

Grades:
Value: A
Service: A+
Product: A+
Overall: A+

*The only two desserts I love more than Hank’s peanut butter balls are the Dutchman’s Delight concrete from Ted Drewes’ Frozen Custard in St. Louis and the maple truffles from Funk’s Grove Maple Sirup in Shirley, Ill.

Beto’s Mexican Grill

Posted in Mexican food, Oklahoma restaurants on December 24, 2007 by redforkhippie

(Cross-posted from Indie Tulsa.)

Dinner at Beto's

If your vision of heaven involves tortillas covered with meat, cilantro, and onions, then Beto’s Mexican Grill, 1709 Southwest Blvd. in Tulsa, is a little slice of paradise.

This is especially true if your concept of the perfect taco includes barbacoa, which I think is Spanish for “I’ll have three of those, please.” (OK, so I just made that up. Barbacoa is actually Mexican barbecue, and around here, it frequently involves goat, which is what beef wants to taste like when it grows up.)

Beto’s offers an extensive menu that includes terrific enchiladas, quesadillas, menudo, American-style tacos, and my personal favorite: traditional Mexican tacos, which consist of small, soft, gently fried corn tortillas topped with meat, cilantro, and finely chopped onions. Tacos are available with a variety of meats, including the usual steak, pork, and chicken, along with several more exotic options (we’re fond of goat and beef tongue). Dine-in orders are served with chips and fresh salsa made just the way I like it: with plenty of cilantro and a respectable kick.

On our last visit, Ron tried the fish tacos, which include grilled fish and fajita-style peppers and onions, while I had the barbacoa tacos and a bowl of menudo — a simple, brothy soup made from tripe, pork, and whatever else the cook feels like adding. Beto’s version is served in an enormous bowl, accompanied by a couple of lime wedges and several little dishes containing dried oregano, chopped jalapenos, and dried New Mexican chiles, all of which can be added to the bowl at the diner’s discretion.

Upon learning that this was my first encounter with menudo, the restaurant’s owner — an affable guy with a quick smile and a friendly manner — gave me a crash course in the finer points of making and seasoning this traditional Mexican dish. He suggested squeezing a lime wedge over the bowl and adding some Tabasco, which turned out to be good advice.

The prices are very reasonable (you can stuff yourself for under $10), and the service is friendly. On very hot days, it might be advisable to eat late or take dinner orders to go, as the orientation of the windows is such that the restaurant can get a little too warm just before sunset.
Beto’s is open 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It closes at 3 p.m. on Sundays. Dine-in, carryout and delivery are available. For more information, call (918) 599-9300.

You can read more about Beto’s in this Tulsa World story.

Grades:
Product: A+
Service: A
Value: A
Overall: A

Ollie’s Station Restaurant

Posted in American food, Diners, Oklahoma restaurants on December 23, 2007 by redforkhippie

(Cross-posted from Indie Tulsa.)

To my knowledge, Ollie’s Station Restaurant, 4070 Southwest Blvd. in Tulsa, is the only business in town that advertises itself with matchbooks that list its location as simply “Red Fork, Oklahoma.”

Tucked under an overpass next to the railroad tracks, directly across historic Route 66 from the remnants of downtown Red Fork — a little working-class community that was annexed into Tulsa well over half a century ago — Ollie’s is one of the best places in the area to take out-of-town guests or have lunch with a rugrat.

In addition to a terrific breakfast buffet, great fried chicken, and to-die-for cinnamon rolls, Ollie’s offers friendly service; a helpful, community-minded owner; and perhaps best of all, a collection of model trains that periodically race around the room on tiny tracks suspended from the ceiling.

One of my favorite memories of Ollie’s involves a toddler who was so delighted with the trains that he stretched out his arms and squealed with unbridled joy as he wobbled along beneath the track, chasing the tiny cars around the dining room.

Below are a couple of videos of the model trains running:

And here’s a clip of the restaurant’s miniature cable cars (the ski-lift kind) moving up and down in the dining room:

Everything I’ve had at Ollie’s was pretty good, but the weekend breakfast buffet — which offers thick slices of smoky bacon, three kinds of sausage, waffles, pancakes, French toast, biscuits, cream gravy, hash browns, home fries, and umpteen other goodies — is one of the few things that can coax me out of bed early on a Saturday morning.

Incidentally, Saturday morning is really the best time to go to Ollie’s, as classic car clubs frequently use it as a starting point for weekend Route 66 cruises, making it likely that you’ll find a few vintage Corvettes or ’57 Chevys on the lot if you get there early enough.

Service can be a little slow when it’s crowded, but you can expedite things by heading for the buffet instead of ordering off the menu.

Ollie’s is open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information or to reserve a banquet room for a meeting or party, call 446-0524.

Grades:
Products: B+
Service: A-
Value: A
Convenience: A-
Overall: A-

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