Here, atmosphere counts. Only a restaurant along Riverwalk Crossing can offer a view looking out to the Arkansas River; it's a perfectly delightful dining backdrop.
Te Kei's 2 is the second location for this locally-owned and -operated Asian restaurant; the first is at roughly 15th and Utica. Having been in the restaurant business since high school, Owner Todd Kramer has a passion for what he does and is pleased to have ventured to Riverwalk Crossing.
"Te kei" is derived from the Chinese translation for "special guest," and without being too cliché, that is what Kramer has prepared for all who enter TK's 2. The atmosphere is appealing -- an open dining area with simple décor; the lighting during the day is provided by sunlight from the windows and at the night, the dim lighting is cozy and soothing. You may consider bringing that special Valentine here to enjoy the warm atmosphere and savory meals. In fact, on Fri., Feb. 13, Susan Herndon grabs her guitar and fills the restaurant with music for lovers to enjoy. Catch her from 6 to 9pm.
A full circle bar is situated off from the dining room with three large flat screen TV's; large booths are also available in the bar area.
A ceiling-to-floor waterfall provides both white noise and a wall separating the dining area from the Program Room, which, as Marketing Consultant Diane Gawey-Riley said, is ideal for meetings (equipped with power point capabilities) and private parties.
The months of March and April mark the start of live music at Te Kei's 2. And, as the weather warms, the fireside patio will be a refreshing outdoor setting.
But for now, TK's 2 builds its winter customer base with a menu almost identical to the midtown location.
A friend and I dined here on a Saturday night and had a very pleasant experience. Defying the cold weather, we opted for chilled Momokawa Ruby Sake ($6.50) and a Chinese Margarita ($8.50), which consists of Jose Cuervo Tequila, sweet and sour, Triple Sec and Midori. Both drinks were fabulous and I highly recommend them both.
For our appetizer, we selected Te Kei's Potstickers ($7.45), presented on a plate spread with a light, savory soy-cream sauce. The six steamed dumplings were filled with chicken, garlic, ginger and onion then lightly pan-seared. We both thoroughly enjoyed the texture and taste, with ginger and onion aromas dominating the dish.
We both ordered cups of soup on this chilly evening -- Hot and Sour and Wonton ($2.95 each). The Hot and Sour had a fine taste, but the texture was a bit too thick for our preference; my friend said it tasted more like a stew, not as 'clear' as others he's had.
My Wonton soup was delicious! The fresh green onion gave it some spunk while the soft wontons, filled with chicken breast meat, were mild and chewy in the light broth with freshly sliced mushrooms, spinach leaves and ginger. The only negative to this was the temperature; it should have been hotter.
For our dinners, I ordered the Szechuan Blackened Chile Noodles ($10.95) while my companion ordered the Ahi Tuna Tataki ($12.95). Under the menu section titled "Noodle Bowls," my dish blends pieces of chicken breast with pan-blackened chiles, garlic, onion and peanuts in a spicy sauce and served on Chinese egg noodles. I loved the spiciness of this dish, and even consumed many of the blackened chiles. The flavor was robust, as was the texture.
My friend's Ahi Tuna Tataki was excellent. It was seasoned then seared with onion, ginger puree and green onions, flavored with ponzu sauce (a mixture of soy sauce, sweet rice wine, rice vinegar, lime juice and bonito flakes--or dried fish shavings). The crushed pepper on the side added an interesting dimension to the fish.
While these are good dishes to try, Kramer told me about some of the customers' favorites so far. "As far as the appetizers go, the Potstickers and Summer Rolls are favorites. The Thai Grilled Salad and the Calamari Caesar Salads are very popular as well," he said.
From there, he added that among the Rice Bowl dishes, the Sesame Chicken and Mongolian Beef sell well, and the Pad Thai Noodle Bowl is also popular.
"We have a very good menu, but it is very complicated," he said. "There are 40 different sauces that we prepare, many of which are base sauces with as many as 12 different ingredients in them."
He said all the desserts are homemade -- Mount Fuji, Asian After-Dinner Mint, Pacific Rum Bread Pudding, Crème Brulee and Banana Cream Pie. He is especially proud of the latter, saying it was a favorite of his as a child. For the sake of nostalgia, he had the chef create one for Te Kei's 2.
Kramer is excited about the Kids' Menu and noted that all of the items (grilled cheese sandwich, chicken finger 'Lollipops', sweet and sour chicken, sesame chicken, chicken-fried rice and lemon chicken) were tested and 'approved' by his children.
Both Kramer and Gawey-Riley are also excited about the catering service. "We deliver anywhere," Kramer said, adding that delivery to Owasso, Claremore and even Okmulgee is also available.
In many respects, Riverwalk Crossing, in virtue of its setting, has evolved into a seasonal place; customer numbers dwindle when the temperature dips. Still, TK's 2 is warm, inviting and eager to serve excellent Asian dishes to those who make the extra effort to venture out.
Te Kei's 2 Chinese/Asian Kitchen
400 Riverwalk Terrace, Ste 180
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