When the original owner of Bluestone Steak House & Seafood asked Bill Tackett last year if he knew anyone who would be interested in buying the restaurant, the wheels started turning.
At the time, Tackett was working for U.S. Foods, and Bluestone was a client.
“I had helped Steve (Al-khatib) set up this restaurant and knew all about it,” Tackett said. “Our children had grown, and my wife (Sharon) and I thought it was time to leave the corporate world.
“We had lived in Tulsa, Houston, Oklahoma City (where he owned Lotus restaurant in Bricktown from 2002 to ’05) and Kansas City, and we always liked Tulsa.”
Tackett’s culinary roots go back a number of years in Tulsa. He said he worked for Dave Ingram at Fountains and Apple Mill, and with Jim Sellers, who today operates Artichoke on Grand Lake.
“I also worked with Joe Hamilton, a fine chef, and with Richard Clement. He’s in New York now, and he was the greatest saucier I’ve ever seen.”
Tackett’s specialty at U.S. Foods was meats, another reason taking over a steakhouse was appealing.
“I’ve probably been to every feed lot and packing house in Kansas,” Tackett said.
He said he uses Certified Angus Beef brand products for his steaks, which are wet-aged for 35 days.
We decided in advance that we would order a steak and a seafood dish on a recent visit to the fine-dining restaurant.
I ordered a new item, New York Delmonico steak ($39), medium-rare with lotus potatoes and a vegetable medley of sauteed broccoli, carrots, yellow squash and zucchini. My wife selected the halibut ($39) with baked potato and asparagus.
The 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.
The halibut was thick, moist and well-cooked. It was topped with a creamy lemon-butter sauce, two large shrimp and lump crabmeat, a winning combination. The asparagus was tender and tasty.
Prior to the entrees, we also shared a crispy wedge salad ($4.50) with lettuce, Maytag blue cheese crumbles, roma tomatoes, grilled green onion and blue cheese dressing, as well as a bowl of thick lobster bisque ($7) dotted with bits of lobster.
We polished off the dinner with vanilla bean creme brulee ($12) made with Madagascar vanilla and drizzled with creme fraiche. It was luscious and plenty for two.
The menu also includes a variety of steak choices, seafood dishes, appetizers, salads and desserts. It has a separate lunch menu and an a la carte Sunday brunch menu.
Bluestone has full bar service, including craft cocktails, high-end bourbons and scotches, and an attractive wine list. Riedel stemware is used for wine service, and the wine pours were generous.
Our server, Dede, was a pro. She knew the menu and preparations and kept things moving at a measured pace. The Tacketts often are seen roaming the dining room to chat with customers.
Bill Tackett said much of the former staff, including chef Jose Garcia, stayed on when he and his wife bought the restaurant.
The restaurant has live music four nights a week. Mike Leeland and Angie Cockrell perform Wednesday-Thursday and John Johnson on Friday-Saturday.
Bluestone is a white-tablecloth restaurant with small oil lamps, dark wood walls, fireplace, piano and 10-seat bar. Reading glasses are provided.
“We do our best to take care of our customers the right way,” Tackett said. “Getting to know the people is the best part of the job.”