Monday, June 30, 2014

R Bar and Grill...Gastropub Goodness

     R Bar is a Gastropub extraordinaire. The owner, Bill Grant, a top notch, kind, yet savvy Tulsa business man, knows how to run a great establishment. And when he's present, things run smooth.
     I've been going to R Bar since it opened and for the most part, it's been great. From the food, to the service, including the menu items and beer selections.  I would say the Old Fashions, of which I'm a huge fan of, are made too sweet for my taste.  The food is pretty good, usually...but on this particular day, they were off...from service, to food and just overall treatment. I didn't see Bill, which may have been a big part because usually, when he's there, it's always good.

     My brother and I ordered the Margarita Pizza and the Lamb Shank.  The Margarita came with cherry tomatoes, which should never be true to the recipe. They should come with thinly sliced roma tomatoes...always.  And should also come with fresh basil, which in this case, seems like it came with jarred pesto, sprinkled with some fresh and waaaay too much cheese. It was super oily too. The crust was pretty good...a little heavy, but all and all it tasted fairly decent, just not like a true Margarita Pizza.
Margarita Pizza

     The Lamb Shank entree should have come with red beans...RED BEANS. As you can see, that day, they came with pinto beans. Yes, foodie or not, anyone could see they were pinto beans and they were from a can, then sauteed in a pan to cover that up (eek).

Lamb Shank with eh hum, red beans? No, pinto beans today.

     Okay, the lamb was cooked B-E-A-utifully! For real. Look at it. It was falling off the bone, tender and flavorful. I wished they'd served it with red beans because red beans have so much more flavor than canned pinto beans. I will say that the chef did a good job of making those pintos savory...they just weren't deep enough.  I like R Bar because of the staff too. Today, there was a little old man on the patio moving people around, making room for the cover band (I'm not a fan of cover bands, sorry) as the World Cup games were wrapping up. Keep in mind, we had just ordered our food and this man was not asking, not apologizing for the inconvenience, but telling us we HAD to move to make room for this band. He was rude and I didn't appreciate it at all. So when we got our food, yes, I was less forgiving for this honest review of the Margarita Pizza being made overly cheesy and greasy with jarred pesto and cherry tomatoes rather than all fresh ingredients and lack of roma tomatoes and fresh basil. The lamb dish being served with canned beans rather than fresh red beans because it was hot outside and rudeness made it all worse. Now, having said that, I love Bill and the rest of his staff and bartenders so of course, I'll go back. But maybe I'll be rude to the man that was rude to us...okay, no I won't because my mom raised me to respect my elders, but still...gerrrr.

R Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Escolar aka Waloo/Walu...Explosive Facts You Should Know!

     Escolar also known as walu/waloo, butterfish, oilfish, super white tuna and king tuna is a delicious oily/buttery fish served in restaurants, often in sushi/sashimi dishes in fine sushi and Japanese restaurants. This is seriously my all time favorite. Recently, I visited one of my favorite local establishments where the chef/owner informed of a new dish he had with the main protein being escolar.  

     He said he could only serve it in a maximum of 6 oz. at a time. He didn't go into detail as to why, and after researching it, I realized he didn't go into detail because we were getting ready to eat lunch and it's not a topic one should discuss prior to dining :-D 

     According to a recent article I found at titled 'Use Caution When Eating Escolar', ["Escolar is a type of snake mackerel that cannot metabolize the wax esters naturally found in its diet. These esters are called gempylotoxin, and are very similar to castor or mineral oil. This is what gives the flesh of escolar its oily texture. As a result, when full portions of escolar are consumed, these wax esters cause gastrointestinal symptoms.
To be frankly and bluntly specific - and I'm sorry for this - consumption of escolar causes explosive, oily, orange diarrhea. People have reported that the discharges are often difficult to control and accidents can happen while passing gas. I personally know someone who ate an escolar steak one night, unaware of its side effects. The next day he was riding the elevator to his office when out of nowhere his bowels unleashed a surprise attack on his pants. As he said later, "Thank God I had my gym bag with me, which had a clean pair of underwear in it." This explains why escolar is also called the "olestra fish" and the "ex-lax fish."]
     Thank goodness for responsible chefs and restaurateurs for knowing this and not allowing patrons to not consume more than 6 oz.! For more info on this delicious yet cautious consumable fish, visit

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Celebrity Club...Old School Swank with Romantic Charm


      Celebrity Club, a true part of Tulsa heritage for 
almost fifty years!
     A last minute lunch, my date suggested Celebrity's been years since I'd been so I was excited about it.  It's RED inside...but an old school swanky red!  Not bad, but it could use an update. Perhaps updated black and white large nostalgic photos and artwork hanging on the walls to replace and refresh what they currently have, as it doesn't really fit the theme of the restaurant. It's late 80's early 90's framed artwork, yet the ambiance is retro 60's era.

     Service was awesome. Debbie, a server there for over nine years was great.  The food came out really, REALLY fast. Almost too fast if you can believe that. But my date had coffee so that enabled us to have more time to chat ;-)

     He had the tomato soup and a steak and potatoes.  The soup, (yes he let me have a taste, he's awesome) honestly, was okay.  It was tasty and went with the retro theme.

     See below, even the potatoes are retro. My mom used to fix potatoes in rippled slices like that. I really like old school "good" food now and brings back great childhood memories.

     I had the Asian Chicken was seasoned well and was good to the typical Asian salad...with mandarin orange slices, almonds and those crispy Chinese noodle things. It was good.

      All and all a great experience. In my case, it was the company with whom I dined that made it the best experience possible.  I think it would be best for dinner...with the warm, red colors and soft lighting, it would make for a wicked good romantic experience. Bon appetite!

Celebrity Club Fine Dining on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ming's Noodle Bar: Heritage Fresh Chinese/Japanese Cuisine and Cocktails!


                                                   Ming's Noodle Bar...amazing decor and art, phenomenal food and I didn't even try the noodles yet! But I plan to go back and try the different varieties!

     So I finally tried Tulsa's newest fresh made-from-scratch Asian restaurant. You can taste the freshness in every bite.  So, both owner and chef/owner were present...yet another sign of a restaurant that will succeed. The best restaurants always have the presence of one or all's the only way to ensure good food is going out and service is meeting the patrons' expectations.  Both chef/owner and owner came to my table and I had the privilege of meeting them and shaking their hands.  Super nice folks.

     As always, I asked the server Marsha, who was a stellar person by the way, to bring me the best or the chef's favorite on the menu. When Chef Fai Jow came over and started telling me what his favorite dish was...I could see the passion he has for not only the food, but specifically these dishes. The main dish he promoted was the Spicy Asparagus Chicken, which I had as my main course.  Here's what I started with...Hot & Sour Soup, Roast Pork Plate, Kimchi, and Spicy Asparagus Chicken.

Hot & Sour Soup-With lily flower, wood ear mushrooms, diced tofu, fresh bamboo shoots and a sprinkle of green onions with a drizzle of sesame oil. (You can see the oil in the center...mmm, sesame oil.) Small $3.50/large $5.50

Roast Pork Plate- Made fresh in-house, served with a side of sweet and sour apricot sauce, finished with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and green onions. $6.50

 Kimchi- House made with seasonal vegetables and seasonings. $3.50 (I ate some of this with the roast pork.)

 Asparagus Chicken-With shitake and crimini mushrooms, shallots, red bell peppers, fresh bamboo shoots, purple onions, julienned  carrots. $13/ exchange shrimp $16

     The entire meal was what you would get in a big city top chef restaurant. And the decor, wow.  But before we move on to the coolness that is the inner Ming's Noodle Bar, I need to add the following to what made this meal beyond foodie-gasm sensation.

     You see, Chef Fai Jow created a sauce that he actually bottles and sells.  Say hello to my lit-tel friend, Dragon's Chili Oil. A little goes a long way. It's not too spicy but packed, I mean loaded with flavor. I added it to my rice, I sprinkled some on the roast pork...AH-MAY-ZING!!!!

      There were a couple of other was a house-made orange marmalade, not too sweet but mellow, and just right. I also spooned some of this over the rice as well as the roast pork.  The other was a sweet soy concoction...I'm embarrassed that I took notes as I ate and sampled, and then, I left my notes there on the table :-(. So I'm going purely by memory.

      A few known facts about Chef Fai Jow like his family opened THE first Chinese restaurant in Tulsa...yep, true story. AND, because of his immense talent and years of experience, as owner/chef of Ming's, he brings us all of that goodness and transfers it into every dish he makes.  The flavors are vibrant, fragrant and layered so nothing gets lost but rather infused. 

     There's a very nice patio outside with flat screen TVs and a HUGE bar inside. You can enjoy the food at the bar, on the patio or, in the beautifully decorated restaurant.  Check out the photos of the artwork and especially the ceiling mural, that is still in the process of being's gorgeous!

 The Patio

 The Art Work

 The Restaurant 

The Bar

     Ming's Noodle Bar...a new Tulsa favorite of not only foodies everywhere, but people that love and appreciate good, quality food. 干杯! (cheers!)

Ming's Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon