It's been great to see the progress of the soon-to-open BOk Center and even more exciting to see local businesses become aware of the potential for success by returning to downtown Tulsa.
Jared Jordan, General Manager of SoChey Jazz Café, had the insight to buy the building at 2nd and Cheyenne (formerly Pomodori's), knowing what the future might hold for this downtown.
Jordan was the general manager at The Chalkboard, 1324 S. Main St., from 2002-2006, and after working with his current executive chef Trevor Tack, they "wanted to branch out and do our own thing," as Jordan explained.
"We were working on opening a pub, but this building came open and we knew this would be a good location with the opening of the BOk Center. We had the same vision and wanted to get involved with what is going on downtown in the 'arena district'," as he so aptly coined this area.
They wanted to create a place with upscale dining but with a laid back feel, so they decided on a restaurant revolving around live jazz.
And so SoChey on South Cheyenne was born.
So far there have been few complaints with Jordan or Tack since the opening February 1. "Lunch is fantastic," Jordan said, "even exceeding expectations. For lunch we have nothing over $10. My philosophy for lunch is that I want to serve good quality food quickly, so the lunch crowd can be in and out to get back to their office. For dinner, we hope to get the theatre and Brady crowds to come out."
A friend and I dined here on a Friday night when the jazz music filled the air. The Birdcatchers, a jazz combo from ORU, were performing that evening, and the group served its purpose with light, cool sounds and nothing harsh or bold to stifle table conversation.
The SoChey dinner menu begins with "Take it From the Top" (starters), moves to "Interludes" (soups and salads), and finishes with "And All That Jazz." Jordan said that he, chef Tack and sous chef Jason Hart created the menu on their own. It was their first time for such a venture.
An example of a dish from the heart is the Chorizo and Potato Pierogi served with Chive Cream and Manchego Cheese. Chef Trevor's mother is Polish and pierogi is a staple in Polish cuisine, so he took that idea and brought it to another level by combining it with a southwestern twist. For starters, Jordan said the trend is to have tapas or small plates, but he wanted to have starters that could stand alone.
It's a menu with different, but very appealing items, such as the "Warm Truffled Flatbread with Local Quail Eggs, Fresh Thyme and Parmesan Cheese Curls ($11.95) and 'Boilermaker' Shrimp: Belgian Beer Battered Shrimp with Whiskey Horseradish Aioli ($11.95) that my friend and I chose to begin our meal. We did not know what to expect with the Flatbread and Quail Eggs, but we were pleasantly pleased.
Simply put: the presentation was fabulous. The aroma of thyme circled us as we were presented the plate. Delicately sunny-side-up fried petite-sized quail eggs rested on the flatbread with swirls of truffled oil and cheese curls scattered about.
It was a beautiful sight to behold. It was even better when we pierced the yolks to take the first taste. Heavenly! The yolks became the gravy for the bread with the herb and oil enhancing each bite. Jordan said this starter has gone over very well with his customers.
"It's a very spring dish. It's definitely one of the more interesting things on the menu."
The four large shrimp also provided a slick presentation on the plate, as they were laying on a film of the horseradish aioli. This dish was light and very fresh.
Our "Interludes" included Smoked Cheddar and Roasted Asparagus Soup ($6.95) and Beet Carpaccio nestled in arugula greens, local goat cheese and finished with pine nuts. The soup had a definite roasted flavor of cheese and asparagus. The soup was smooth except for a few little pieces of cheese throughout. The beets were julienne sliced and served with the pine nuts, goat cheese and arugula. It was all tossed with a splash of lemon juice. This brought a freshness to the entire dish.
Selections for dinner were difficult to choose. A few of the dinner entrees are Vegetarian Plat du Jour, Split Roasted Free-Range Chicken, SoChey's Fish and Chips, SoChey's Roast and Coast and Frenched Berkshire Pork Chop. Jordan said with his full size entrees he wanted to stray from common trends in dinner dining. "Instead of the usual filet and shrimp on menus, I rather selected the words 'Roast and Coast'," he said. He added that the most popular items so far include the Fish and Chips, Roast and Coast and the Pork Chop.
I chose the Prince Edward Island Mussels over Linguine with Caramelized Fennel and White Wine Cream Sauce ($18.95) for my entrée while my friend chose the Chicken ($15.95). My dish was superb! The mussels were very fresh, full and tasty. The linguine was tossed in a very creamy rich sauce with fennel slices adding another dimension of fresh taste. My friend said his half chicken was very tender and fresh; the greens were caramelized in a way he had never tried before. The taste was phenomenal.
Everything was delightful. After dinner, we sat around and enjoyed the relaxing jazz from the Birdcatchers.
SoChey Jazz Café
219 S. Cheyenne
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