Tulsa restaurants that deserved five stars in previous years

Last week the Tulsa World went from a four-star rating system for restaurant reviews to a five-star system, and Bodean Seafood collected the first five-star review.

My boss, Ashley Parrish, asked me what other still-operating restaurants over the past 15 years would have received a five-star rating for food.

I came up with 20 restaurants that might have garnered a five-star rating for food based on the review at the time. Some didn’t get a perfect score the last time around, but they were close enough to be considered.

It’s quite possible I am forgetting a couple, as well. It’s a fluid process.

For some diners, 20 five-star restaurants might seem like a large number, but it doesn’t seem so many when one considers I have reviewed somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 restaurants in the Tulsa area.

Here are some possible five-star winners from the past, with excepts from their reviews:

Scallops with angel hair pasta and Brussels sprouts at Biga.  CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World file

4329 S. Peoria Ave.

“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.”

Halibut with rice and vegetables is served at Bluestone Steakhouse & Seafood.  MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World file

10032 S. Sheridan Road

“The (New York Delmonico) steak was covered in a dark wild mushroom and Port wine sauce, and it was tender and flavorful. The lotus potatoes, like au gratin potatoes, were among the best tasting of that dish I have ever had.”

Pan-seared beef medallions are served at Boston Deli.  JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World file

6231 E. 61st St.

“The quesadillas delivered all they promised. Four triangle-shaped quesadillas had thin, crispy, dark-skinned crusts, just short of being burned and were filled with chicken, melted smoked Gouda, red onion and buttermilk dressing.”

The Caesar salad prepared tableside has been a signature dish at Celebrity Restaurant for five decades.  JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World file

3109 S. Yale Ave.

“One of the real treats is to have the Caesar salad prepared table-side. Nick (Samara) has made thousands of these, and he made a great one for us with salt, black pepper, garlic, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce and a mix of Parmesan and Romano cheeses with oil, lemon juice and egg.”

Scallops with rhubarb reduction at The Chalkboard. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World file

1324 S. Main St.

“The (Alaskan black) cod was the most impressive, by far. It was thick and flaky and served over a tasty ginger risotto with a side of cashew vinaigrette. It was topped with a fitting tomato sambal (a mixed-item condiment, sort of like a pico de gallo).”

A Salmon Burger at the Daily Grill in Tulsa, OK, Aug. 13, 2013. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World

100 E. Second St.

“Two two-rib lamb chops were stacked like a teepee in a pretty presentation with a mound of spinach mashed potatoes. The chops were ordered medium, came out looking rare and were terrific, on a par with any lamb chops we ever have had.”

Steak, au gratin potatos and asparagus at The French Hen.  MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World file

7143 S. Yale Ave.

“The tenderloin (I was told it was prime beef) was fork tender with a char-grilled flavor, while both the lamb and duck were tender with clean, mild flavors. A peppery brandy peppercorn sauce complemented all three meats.”

A mezze medley is served at Laffa Medi-Eastern Restaurant & Bar.  Tulsa World file

111 N. Main St.

“In addition to the brown rice, the (Big Fat Brown Rice) salad had a beautifully balanced mix of cucumbers, tomatoes and sweet red onions tossed in an oregano mint vinaigrette on mixed greens and topped with feta cheese, shredded chicken breast, parsley and pine nuts. We loved the fresh pine nuts and the minty dressing that pulled everything together.”

Halibut with corn “chowder” at Lucky’s. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World file

1536 E. 15th St.

“The thick filet was cooked a perfect medium-rare, as ordered, but it was the foie gras that took the dish to another level. The rich foie gras was covered in a sweet port wine sauce, and the combination was about as decadent as it gets.”

Steak and lobster is served at Mahogany Prime Steakhouse.  MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World file

Mahogany Prime Steakhouse

6823 S. Yale Ave.

“A 14-ounce rib-eye held its medium-rare state throughout dinner, and it was fabulous — crispy outside, tender inside, with the salty-buttery-peppery seasonings that pair so perfectly with a first-rate piece of beef.”

The tenderloin Oscar at Michael V’s. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World file

8222 E. 103rd St., Bixby

“The (tenderloin ravioli) stacker had a lot going on flavor-wise as each item perfectly complemented the others. It included an 8-ounce filet mignon sitting on top of a fried spinach ravioli, both on a bed of red pepper marinara cream sauce. The dish was topped with sauteed mushrooms, wilted spinach and onion strings.”

Sea bass and rattatouille from the Palace Cafe. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World file

1301 E. 15th St.

“Some of the highlights included some fabulous bento (small appetizers), including shrimp-shiitake potstickers that came with a sake dipping sauce, maple quail breast that had a smoky flavor and was served over polenta, and salmon over potato pancakes, which was sensational.”

Moules pitas at Papa Ganouj Mediterranean Grill. Tulsa World file

1328 E. Sixth St.

“The chicken baklava, indeed, lived up to expectations. It featured layers of flavor with chicken, pine nuts and honey rolled in phyllo dough, then baked to a golden brown. It came with a spicy harissa sauce, a North African item made with chili peppers, olive oil, paprika and other spices.”

Colorado rack of lamb at the Polo Grill. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World file

2038 Utica Square

“The steak was thick, maybe two inches. At first cut toward an edge, it seemed it might have been on the grill a little too long, but another cut toward the center proved differently. It was a perfect medium-rare. We also added sliced portobello mushrooms and sauce to the steak.”

The 40-day dry-aged rib-eye steak from Prhyme Downtown Steakhouse. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World file

111 N. Main St.

“Other reports around our table were glowing. Most ordered the (120-ounce) wet-aged filet and wound up with thick, fork-tender cuts of beef. A couple asked for Bearnaise sauce and peppercorn cream sauce on the side and enjoyed those additions.”

A rib-eye steak with wild mushrooms and Gorgonzola cheese at Ridge Grill.  JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World file

9999 S. Mingo Road

“The thick steak had been cooked a perfect medium-rare and delivered a big flavor with the help of cracked peppercorns and Cognac sauce.”

Pistachio-crusted halibut at Stonehorse Cafe. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World file

1748 Utica Square

“I asked for the duck to be cooked medium, and it arrived medium-rare to rare. In this case I was glad for the apparent mistake because the cooks got it right. The meat was tender and delicious. This dish also had a sizable amount of shrimp served with it, as well as small balls of duck sausage that had a mild touch of fennel or anise.”

Smoked and roasted bone marrow at Tallgrass Prairie Table. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World file

313 E. Second St.

“How about the hard-cider braised pork belly and scallops? The generous portion of meat was tender and flavorful, and the two plump scallops were flawless. They were served with butternut squash puree, charred mustard greens and guajillo (a mild chile) barbecue sauce.”

Grilled swordfish at The Tropical.  CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World file

8125 E. 49th St.

“Big scallops were perfect, cooked through but not rubbery. The sauce was extra-heavy on the lemon, and the rice was moist with a floral scent. Fresh basil cooked with standard fries proved to be a tasty combination.”

Food from the new Waterfront Grill in Jenks for Scott Cherry story, Feb. 28, 2011. STEPHEN PINGRY/Tulsa World

120 Aquarium Drive, Jenks

“Waterfront tilapia was filled with shrimp, scallops and crab meat, then topped with fresh basil and lemon caper butter sauce and served with Asian stir-fry vegetables.”

Scott Cherry 918-581-8463


Scene Writer

Scott is in his second tour of duty with the Tulsa World. He was a sports writer during his first stop. Since returning to the World in 1992, he has been the food writer and now restaurant critic and wine columnist. Phone: 918-581-8463