BY SCOTT CHERRY World Scene Writer
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
It could be remembered as the night when my wife was “finished” with Tom Brady when she spotted the New England Patriots quarterback on television scratching himself and gazing around at nothing in particular rather than paying attention to the national anthem.
Or it could be remembered for the amazing grilled scallops and veal scaloppini, or the Tuscan white beans and butternut squash ravioli.
Or maybe both. We were at one of the high-top tables in the bar at Biga, Kate and Tuck Curren’s Italian-themed restaurant that is going into its 13th year on the south end of Brookside. The main dining room was packed, and the game was on, so a table in the bar was the best choice for us.
We shared a caprese salad ($8.95) and butternut squash ravioli ($8.50) appetizer while we waited on our entrees of that night’s special, scallops with angel hair pasta ($25), and veal scalopini ($25).
The salad was a winter version with three thick slices of housemade mozzarella topped with half a plum tomato and drizzled with what tasted like a basil-based pesto sauce. The four raviolis filled with butternut squash and served with sage butter made for a perfect starter on a cold night.
The three big, thick scallops were flawlessly cooked, and it was the first time in a long time we’ve had scallops this size with no grittiness in the texture. Prosciutto, dried cranberries and young, tender Brussels sprouts were mixed with the angel hair pasta.
Thin, tender pieces of veal smothered in sauteed wild mushrooms and Marsala sauce made the veal scaloppini another stunning winter dish. It came with a lemony wilted spinach.
We added a bowl of Tuscan white beans ($5.95) punctuated with sage and sprinkled with parsley to round out both plates.
Although the thought of dessert seemed a little over the top, we were happy we decided to share a bowl of amaretto gelati ($5), which cleaned the palate and provided a sweet ending to the evening.
In addition to the regular menu, Biga offers a $20 three-course dinner with a choice of one of five appetizers, five entrees and five desserts.
Biga has full bar service, including a nice selection of imported and domestic wines.
Our server and bartender, Craig, was a pro, smoothly moving from course to course.
The dining room has a warm ambience with a fireplace and a row of wine bottles, signed by the winery owners or winemakers, that sit on a shelf above a wall banquette. Old black-and-white photos displayed on one wall are Italian family members of Kate’s. A new addition is a print signed by George Clooney, who dined there last fall while producing the film “August: Osage County.”
During an interview on a separate visit, Tuck Curren reflected on how Biga has evolved over the years.
“When we opened, we had the menu in Italian and all Italian wines, and I could have kicked myself for that decision,” Curren said. “It didn’t go over well and didn’t last long. The first five years were really tough.
“The last five years have been good. Biga has become a neighborhood bar and restaurant — a high-end bar and restaurant for sure — and a place where our regulars can be comfortable. I don’t think it’s something I could make happen again; it just happened.”
He said longtime employees such as Tom Rush, who does a little bit of everything around the restaurant, are a big part of Biga’s success.
Find this and other restaurant reviews in Thursday's Weekend magazine. Find all of Scott Cherry's reviews at tulsaworld.com/cherrypicks.
4329 S. Peoria Ave.
5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 5-9 p.m. Sunday; accepts all major credit cards.
An imported meat plate is among the popular menu items at Biga. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
Scallops, with angel hair pasta, and brussel sprouts are one of the popular menu items at Biga. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World
Osso bucco and risotto milanese make up one of the popular menu items, at Biga. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World