To borrow an old complimentary term: I’m mad for MAD Eats.
We went by for a late weekend brunch recently, and the downtown Owasso restaurant was doing a brisk business. Even the big patio was full on a hot, muggy (is there any other kind?) afternoon.
Actually, it is all brunch, all the time, from morning to night at the one-menu MAD Eats. The MAD stands for Modern American Diner, which is an apt description. The food is reflective of chef-driven classic diner fare, often with some modern twists.
Take the chicken and waffle Benedict ($13), for instance. Which I did. This baby started with a waffle topped with hollandaise sauce, then a fried chicken breast, maple syrup and two eggs.
The maple syrup gave the dish a sweet edge without being too sweet. The chicken was fork-tender. The eggs were listed on the menu as over-easy, but they were closer to over-medium, which for me was a good thing.
Even better, I thought, was the caprese grilled cheese sandwich ($11). It didn’t stand out as anything particularly special on the menu, but it was something special to eat.
It was a mix of melted fontina, cheddar and Havarti cheeses with sliced tomato and basil pesto on good toasted bread. It had just the right amount of pesto with the blend of cheeses so neither overpowered the other.
The sides for the above two dishes stood out, too. Thin-cut hash browns were not greasy and were browned — just short of burned — on the outside and tender inside. Tater tots also were crispy outside and tender inside.
We shared a bowl of French onion soup ($7) and did not leave a drop. It featured caramelized onions in a rich, sherry wine beef broth topped with one large crouton and melted fontina and Havarti cheeses. I could see this being a go-to dish in the fall and winter.
A portion of the menu offers fried chicken picnic baskets — a half chicken ($16) or whole chicken ($29) with spicy Asian slaw, mac and cheese, tots and buttermilk biscuits.
Our hard-working server, Elijah, told us most folks eat the fried chicken picnic baskets at the restaurant. Not us. We had a dadgum picnic.
The half chicken included the standard breast, leg, thigh and wing. They had a thick, crispy crust and well-cooked, tender meat. The mac and cheese was tasty, likely prepared with one of the cheese blends.
One of our neighbors, Stephanie, had just picked blueberries and brought us a jar of fresh blueberry jam she had made. I saved the biscuits, which had a fairly dense texture, to pair with the jam, and the combination was terrific. The biscuits also came with a nice honey butter.
The menu has a lot of variety, from grilled veggie tacos and hot brown turkey sandwich to stuffed French toast and slow-roasted pork tater totines.
Prices for the majority of items range from $9 to $12.
House-made pies, available by the slice only, top the dessert choices. We had a slice of a luscious, smooth peanut butter mousse pie ($8) with chocolate crust.
A menu for ages 10 and younger includes a cheeseburger, chicken strips, mac and cheese, foot-long Nathan’s hot dog and a short stack for $5 to $7 each. Each comes with a drink.
Elijah told us a new menu was expected to roll out this week with five or so new items. The items we ordered still should be available.
Milkshakes also are a specialty of the house. Some are themed, such as Hey You Guys with Oreo cookie shake, Oreo cookie rim, whipped cream and Oreo cookie skewer. The presentations are eye-catching, too.
MAD Eats also has full bar service, including boozy shakes, sparkling wine cocktails, craft cocktails, frozen cocktails, Bloody Marys, wine and local beers.
The dining areas have wall banquettes and booths, some in soft caramel and some in ’70s-era-looking green. One room has an eye-popping cluster of round ceiling lights hanging from orange wires.
MAD Eats is a concept developed by Erik Reynolds, chef-owner of SMOKE. Woodfire Grill, a neighbor in the new SEVEN6MAIN building in downtown Owasso. The original SMOKE still operates on Cherry Street in Tulsa.
Drip Your Beverage Lab, a coffee shop and restaurant, also is in SEVEN6MAIN.
To reach those restaurants from Tulsa, take the 76th Street North exit off U.S. 169 and go west (left) to the downtown area.
Blue Coast Juicy Seafood takes over the space that housed Mimi's Cafe on 71st Street.