Wolfgang Puck Bistro: New chef Michael Fusco aims for perfection
BY SCOTT CHERRY World Restaurant Critic
Thursday, December 06, 2012
3/28/13 at 7:54 AM
Chef Michael Fusco had left his namesake restaurant, Fusco's (now Riverside Grill), and was cooking for longtime friend Tim Inman at Stonehorse Grill when he received an intriguing phone call.
The call came from Tony Henry, president and operating principal of Wolfgang Puck Bistro in Brookside.
"Tony asked if I was interesting in taking over the kitchen at Wolfgang Puck," Fusco said. "He said there were some transitions taking place in the kitchen and thought I might want to look into it."
Fusco said he was interested and wound up taking the executive chef position in early August.
"I had a good time working at Tim's place, but he already had a great restaurant and didn't need me," Fusco said. "And Wolfgang Puck was someone I looked up to when I was young, well into my Bodean years."
Fusco's first job in Tulsa was at Bodean Seafood more than 20 years ago.
Although he was accustomed to having creative control at his previous stops (Bodean and his own Flavors and Fusco's), he said executing someone else's menu has not been a problem.
"The Wolfgang Puck concept is the same as my own: to use organic, natural and local products as much as possible and put the best and freshest food on the table that you can," Fusco said. "It's always a challenge to make things as perfect as possible, no matter where you are."
We recently stopped in near the end of the rush hour on a busy Saturday night.
It wasn't exactly wintry outside, but we sampled the seasonal winter entree, pumpkin ravioli ($13), along with pepper-crusted filet of beef ($29) and a personal fall favorite and Wolfgang Puck classic, Viennese beef ghoulash ($14).
We found pumpkin and pasta make tasty partners. The raviolis also were stuffed with roasted garlic butter and Parmesan cheese and topped with candied pecans.
The filet is listed as 8 ounces, and this thick, tender piece of beef was all of that and cooked a perfect medium-rare. It was surrounded by little fingerling potatoes, balsamic-glazed mushrooms and sweet, round pearl onions the size of big marbles, all sitting on a red wine-and-shallots sauce.
Wide egg noodles cradled tender chunks of beef seasoned with paprika, caraway and garlic in the ghoulash dish, and there was enough left over for lunch the next day.
We started with a butter lettuce salad ($7) and a bowl of butternut squash soup ($7).
The thick soup, dotted with chives and drizzled with roasted red pepper sauce, was rich and flavorful and no doubt will be even more popular as the temperatures cool. The fresh salad came with balsamic vinaigrette and tomato-goat cheese crostini.
Complimentary flatbread and sourdough bread are served in a wire basket.
The restaurant also is known for its outstanding wood stone-oven pizzas and house-made desserts.
Wolfgang Puck has full bar service, including a wide range of wines that are interesting, though a bit pricey.
Our server, Travis, was pleasant, informative and kept things moving at a measured pace.
WOLFGANG PUCK BISTRO
3330 S. Peoria Ave.
(on a scale of 0 to 4 stars)
Lunch, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-
Saturday; Sunday brunch, 10
a.m. to 4 p.m.; dinner, 5-9 p.m.
Sunday-Wednesday, 5-10 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday; accepts all
major credit cards.
Original Print Headline: New chef at the helm
Scott Cherry 918-581-8463
Trout with risotto and arugula is a new item on the Wolfgang Puck Bistro menu. CHRISTOPHER SMITH / Tulsa World
Pizzas, such as this one with wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, garlic and thyme, are signature items at Wolfgang Puck Bistro. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World
Veteran Tulsa chef Michael Fusco took over the kitchen at Wolfgang Puck Bistro in early August. CHRISTOPHER SMITH / Tulsa World