When you are really looking for something out of the ordinary, a place to dine in Tulsa that stands out from all others, The Alley Gastro Pub is for you. Designer and owner Brian Biehl defines a gastro pub as a place with a "look and feel, the warmth and coziness of a pub with upscale pub food."
Opening December 17 of last year, this is Biehl's first place even though he is not exactly new to the restaurant business. A Tulsa native, Biehl spent a number of years in corporate sales living in Chicago, although his desire was to own his own restaurant. He worked his way up the ranks, first in Chicago then back in Tulsa with the McNellie's Group at Dilly Deli and The Tavern. Now, he is the proud owner of The Alley Gastro Pub.
Straight away, I must say I am fond of this particular location -- even going back to when St. Michael's Alley was here. While -- perhaps because -- this location is out of the mainstream midtown mania of eateries, it has a neighborhood feel about it. Biehl mentioned he wanted coziness for his pub, and he has achieved it. My friend and I were warmly greeted at the door, assigned to a table in the bar area, and server Natalie, took good care of us through the evening.
We began with a beverage. My friend ordered a Marshall Revival Red ($5) while I had the Earhart ($7.50) from the Wine and Concoctions list. This drink was refreshing: it is made with Broker's Gin, Crème de Violette, lemon sour and a splash of sparkling wine. Biehl said bar manager Roger Byers creates most of the drinks himself and changes them up according to season. The Earhart was particularly good. The Crème de Violette gave the cocktail a distinctive light purple hue. It was most refreshing. Other concoctions include such creative drinks as the Smuggler, made with Kirk & Sweeney 12-year Rum, lime juice, house made Falernum (a sweet syrup often made with ginger, cloves, almond and vanilla), ginger beer and angostura bitters; and Alley Cat Cosmo, which has Pearl Pomegranate Vodka, triple sec, fresh lime juice and cranberry juice.
It was time to select an appetizer, or something from the snacks menu. Selections include Scotch Egg, Devils on Horseback, Duck Terrine, Sausage & Cheese Board (executive chef Mitch Neely makes his own sausage), Bone Marrow and Blue Cheese Fries. We felt bold tonight and ordered the Bone Marrow ($14).
I know, what in the world were we thinking. Actually, this was a delicious choice of roasted bone marrow served with toast and onion marmalade. Biehl said this dish "is an old, old dish that goes back to the Middle Ages." He purchases the cow bone marrow pre-sliced from a vendor, he said, and Chef Neely roasts it with butter, oil and seasonings. "The result is a rich, meaty and buttery flavor. It's definitely for the more adventurous," said Biehl.
"It has a gelatinous texture. What people sometimes forget," Biehl said, "is that this is where all the flavor comes from."
We found it very rich and buttery, just as Biehl said. It had a roasted, earthy flavor -- it was really out of the ordinary. On toast, the marrow, together with the onion marmalade which was placed across the bones, was a good beginning to our meal. "Rustic" is a good term to use for this dish.
Next, we selected our entrees. Under Eats, I selected the Pork Tenderloin ($15) and my friend the Fideo ($17). Biehl described the pork entrée as one of the healthier ones on the menu. "Pork is a lean meat, and in fact, is one of our more popular dishes. We smoke, then roast the tenderloin, and serve it on top of great white northern beans. It's basically pork and beans, but we just dress it up. It's a very basic dish," he said.
It was a charming dish. The impressive plate presentation would never lead one to thinking they are eating pork and beans. This dish was layered with the roasted red pepper beans on the bottom, smoked pork rubbed with garlic mustard rubbed next, then the fennel arugula salad, and a tarragon aioli on top. The pork was tender with crispy edges, and with each bite, my taste buds were energized with the various flavors and the textures kept each bit interesting.
The Fideo, a Spanish name for "noodle," is a type of pasta often used in soups. Here, Biehl said this bouillabaisse is a classic San Francisco dish. This dish is prepared by first toasting the angel hair pasta in oil to create a nutty flavor. From there, clams and shrimp are in a tomato shrimp broth. My friend really enjoyed this, saying it was within the same family as frutti de mare. The pasta was al dente which he enjoyed. The shrimp were very fresh and crisp.
Biehl said his place is different on purpose, yet he carries food that many pubs carry, such as fish and chips and burgers. "We have a New York strip and Trout which we prepare in a more unique way, yet at the core level, it is not too different," he said. Scotch Egg is listed as a "snack" on the menu and is typically a pub item. Biehl said he has an excellent version of it. This traditional British dish is very popular at The Alley. It begins with a boiled egg, breaded with their house-made sausage, then fried and served with mustard cream.
The beer menu is also a little different. Biehl likes to work with seasonal beers, such as summer lagers and pilsners. He said he likes to try new things for his customers.
The Alley has a few specials during the week. On Monday nights, it's half-price burgers; on Tuesdays, it is "pig and a pint" night, when customers can dine on a draft and dinner for $10. A pork special is offered, and the special changes monthly.
Send all comments and feedback regarding Restaurants to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share this article: