When I heard last year that Mahogany Prime Steakhouse was moving to a new location, my question was: Why so soon? The original building still was pretty nice.
Time does fly, as was pointed out by corporate executive chef Brad Johnson recently at Mahogany’s new location in the Shops at Warren Place.
“When we opened in 2000, there were only one or two other upscale steakhouses in south Tulsa (Jamil’s, The Spudder), and that building already had two other restaurants previous to us,” Johnson said. “It was older than you think.”
The Tulsa restaurant was the first Mahogany Prime Steakhouse in the Norman-based Hal Smith Restaurant Group. The group has only three other Mahogany locations — two in Oklahoma City and one in Omaha, Nebraska.
“Our new location is based on the one in downtown Oklahoma City,” Johnson said. “It’s classic, yet modern.”
Amy VanTuyl, general manager of the Tulsa store, also pointed out the new location has about 100 more seats, many found in the expanded bar area, and four private rooms as opposed to two in the former site.
We stopped in recently for a late dinner, and even at a little past 9, the restaurant nearly was full. The private rooms were being used for overflow.
We landed a table in one of the semi-private alcoves in the main dining room, which also has seating along a wall banquette and at tables down the center of the room. Everything about the place was elegant, yet comfortable.
After looking over the appetizers, salads and soups, we settled on the two soups on the menu — French onion au gratin ($10) and crab and lobster bisque ($13).
The bisque might have been the best I ever have had. We didn’t have to search for the seafood. The silky, creamy broth was full of sizable pieces of lobster and crab and could have made a light dinner with a glass of wine.
The French onion was outstanding, as well, with sweet onions swimming in a rich broth covered with a thick layer of cheese that had a perfect sear across the top.
The bowls of soup were served on small white plates with lacy white paper doilies.
For our entrees, we chose the 14-ounce bone-in filet ($59) and North Coast salmon ($35).
We had the regular filet previously but never the bone-in. Because of the bone, it might not have had quite as much meat on it as the 12-ounce filet, but the bites of meat near the bone were heavenly, something less than medium-rare and melt-in-your-mouth tender.
The salmon featured a good-sized fillet cooked enough to take it out of sushi territory but not over-done. It was topped with lump crab meat, capers, chopped tomatoes and a nice, creamy citrus beurre blanc.
Side dishes are large and meant to be shared. We selected the chive whipped potatoes ($10), which were fine. Among other choices were asparagus, baked potato, sautéed spinach, au gratin potatoes (highly recommended by regulars) and risotto, all priced $10 to $13.
Several of the dining spaces featured modern art, interesting light fixtures and coffered ceilings. Floors are a mix of carpet, wood and travertine tile. One of the private rooms and space over the bar are decorated with black-and-white photos of long-ago celebrities.
The original Mahogany was designed to replicate classic Chicago steakhouses, and the new location still retains some of the dark woodwork and stone columns.
Mahogany has full bar service, and the wine list offers almost all of the upscale wines that have Oklahoma ties.
The husband-wife team of Shawn and Christa handled most of our service, and they were exceptional. Shawn crumbed the tablecloth, a little nicety we still like to see in better places.
Katy Innis is kitchen manager, and Calum Wulfers is bar manager. VanTuyl has been with Mahogany since the first day it opened.
“She started as a server when she was in college,” Johnson said. “She was my first hire here, and now, she’s GM.”
In addition to much more dining space, the new kitchen is considerably larger, as well.
“We brought over the same two broilers because they are seasoned like we want them,” Johnson said. “It’s a real luxury to work in the new kitchen.”
The Hal Smith Restaurant Group also operates Pub W, which just opened on the opposite side of the Shops at Warren Place, plus Neighborhood JA.M., a breakfast-lunch spot expected to open in April just down the sidewalk from Pub W.
Other Tulsa-area restaurants in the Hal Smith group are Charleston’s, Louie’s Grill & Bar, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, Redrock Canyon Grill, Smitty’s Garage Burgers & Beer and Upper Crust Wood Fired Pizza.
“Our last day in the old building was New Year’s Eve, and we opened here on Jan. 5,” VanTuyl said. “We haven’t had much down time. It has been crazy, but a good kind of crazy.”