I can’t say how many times this has happened over the years, especially at better restaurants, but it has been a lot: The entrees were quite good, but the appetizer stole the show.
That was the case when we recently visited the new Chamber restaurant in the 3-month-old Tulsa Club Hotel.
The seared scallops appetizer ($15) was extraordinary. The dish included only three scallops, so we each got one and a half; I could have eaten five or six and called it a night.
The scallops were nice-sized, seared thoroughly on the outside and cooked just enough inside to deliver a pleasing texture. They tasted clean and had no grit, but what really made the dish was a creamy citrus vanilla sauce that we swirled with every bite.
Edible flowers — I guess they were because we ate them and lived to write about it — prettied up the dish a bit.
I was fairly certain the entrees didn’t stand a chance after that, but we soldiered on with the seared local filet mignon ($38) and the coffee-crusted tomahawk pork chop ($28).
The ounces were not listed on any of the meat dishes, but the certified Angus prime filet was thick and tender. The steak was served with a few asparagus spears, very good sautéed wild mushrooms, a roasted garlic parsnip puree and mustard demi cream. The latter two items were tasty but not overbearing.
The chop was large and tender enough for that cut of meat. It benefited from a blueberry horseradish jam drizzled around the plate and was served with white cheddar grits and vegetables that included carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes and blistered tomatoes.
The menu was not particularly long, but it showed a lot of variety. We were teased by the shrimp cocktail tostada, avocado caprese salad, pepper lavender-seared ahi tuna salad, roasted aubergine and seared Scottish salmon.
Complimentary water came in two large, crinkly-looking glass bottles. Chamber has full bar service.
Brunch is served all week. Its dedicated menu includes such choices as hanger steak and eggs, bread pudding French toast, avocado toast with cherry balsamic gastrique, ricotta hotcakes and The Benedict Goff, a crab meat benny that gives a nod to the building’s original architect, Bruce Goff.
The Chamber also will stage what it is calling Sunday School Brunch on the last Sunday of each month.
“It will be aimed more toward the millennial crowd,” said Chelsea Hill, restaurant general manager. “It will be more upbeat, and we will have more modern music. We also plan to have a DJ, beginning at 11 a.m.”
Clint Walker is assistant general manager, and Jacque Siegfried is executive chef.
The Chamber ambience is a reflection of its art deco past and modern design with a stunning bar area and a mix of caramel-colored booths and wall banquettes. Our booth was a little tight; the banquettes had more elbow room.
The floors are hexagon-shaped black and white tiles, and gold, hanging light fixtures were shaped something like a starburst or arrow. Utensils were gold, also. The room was filled with mirrors, and some windows were clear, some glass block.
The restaurant is the last big piece of the $36 million renovation of the renowned Tulsa Club building into a boutique hotel. The building opened in 1927, and the Chamber of Commerce occupied the first five floors until 1952.
“That’s where the name of the restaurant comes from,” said Chad Horvath, hotel general manager. “The bar in the lobby is called Commerce.”
Diners can wind their way from the lobby and Commerce bar on the west side of the building to the restaurant or use a dedicated entrance on the east side of the building near Cincinnati Avenue.
The Tulsa Club building was closed and abandoned in 1994. It suffered three fires and damage from weather and vandals who found their way inside.
It once was thought to be headed for destruction until two Tulsa companies, the Ross Group and Promise Hotels, teamed to buy it. The Tulsa Club Hotel operates under Hilton’s Curio Collection brand.
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