OK I admit it, maybe on some deep dark level, one little teensy part of me for just a second, hoped secretly to walk in, sit down and have everything go wrong. I'm not a person who thrives on others failing, but all the hype for this guy, you know? I guess I figured he has so many restaurants, and so many different concepts, and he probably never even came here, why should it be so great? But it was.
When we went to Wolfgang Puck Bistro recently, not long after they opened, it was anything but a failure. As a matter of fact, it was really, really good.
As I said, essentially Wolfgang Puck has a number of different concepts, depending on what the market is in that particular area. Correctly, the concept selected for this Brookside location is an upscale, casual, contemporary Bistro, and works perfectly for this high energy, happening area of Tulsa.
The menu and food is decidedly eclectic, and self-described as "casual, approachable dining."
I started with a cup of tortilla soup, rich in flavor and wonderfully textured. It was topped with a pyramid of crisp, deep fried, multi-colored corn tortilla strips -- a perfect contrast to the tasty broth.
My wife opted for a roasted beet salad. This starter was an artful combination of oven roasted beets, sweet and tender: creamy goat's cheese, pan toasted pecans, fresh orange sections and beautifully simple balsamic vinaigrette.
It was stunning to look at, and wonderful to eat as well.
The next course was a bit more difficult to decide. The Bistro menu includes a wonderful and unique selection of stone oven pizzas. Far from your average "red sauce out of a can" pie, Chef Richard Schlosberg provides diners with really unique offerings like Shrimp, Roasted Eggplant and Olive pizza with garlic, basil and pepperoncini, Smoked Salmon with Dill crème and Chive, and this one: Lamb Sausage, Roasted Fennel, Eggplant, Goat's Cheese and toasted cumin. After vacillating between a Tuscan Pizza with Prosciutto, Sporessata (a specialty salami from the southern region of Italy), Genoa Salami and Roasted Sweet Peppers and a Viennese Beef Goulash that we were assured was a faithful rendition of Wolfgang's mother's traditional preparation of this classic dish, I gave in to my urge for a plate of the ultimate in comfort food: Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with mashed potatoes, port wine sauce and crispy onion rings. It was excellent in its simple execution, but complex in its layers of flavor. I know I'm just talking about meatloaf here, but it was really quite good.
A great recipe for meatloaf to begin with, it was then wrapped in bacon and oven roasted, sliced and nestled on a bed of awesome, buttery mashers with a hint of roasted garlic. The whole thing was drizzled with a beautifully silky port wine demi-glaze and topped with a mountain of crisp fried onion straws.
Our service professional (and he was a professional), was a gentleman by the name of Jason. Jason was the perfect host. He gave us as much time as we needed to ask questions, and described in succinct but easy to understand details, every menu item we asked about.
His service was understated but attentive, and I could see him out of the corner of my eye, checking on us from afar to make sure we were doing well. Really good job on a relatively busy night. His comments and banter were professional, entertaining, and very appropriate for the setting, and we will definitely ask for him when we go back. The manager as well, was working the floor and stopped by our table on several occasions during the evening to make sure we were comfortable and happy.
My wife chose the Spaghetti with Tiger Prawns, and went straight to heaven. Tiger Prawns are a farmed shrimp, beautiful and red in color once cooked, and have a distinctly identifiable shell with tiger stripes on it. They are tasty when cooked properly, but are very easy to overcook. Beware when you see them on a restaurant menu, they take about two-thirds as long as a regular shrimp to cook and become tough, rubbery and bland if not handled with care during the cooking process. Chef Richard has trained his sauté man well. These were perfectly cooked and deliciously flavored, as was the rustic preparation of the sauce: tomato, fresh basil, capers and a hint of anchovies tossed with perfectly cooked pasta.
The entrees were accompanied by a basket of foccacia, bagette and oven toasted lahvosh and no matter how hard we tried to empty it, it kept coming back full.
Chef Richard Schlosberg began his career in Italian restaurants in the New York area. After some culinary schooling and 15 years in Colorado restaurants, plus the last 5 years here in Tulsa as Executive Chef of the Marriott Southern Hills, The Convention Center and BOK kitchens respectively, he joined the Wolfgang Puck organization.
Both Chef Richard and his sous chef, Kelsey Knouse, (sous is the French word for "under") spent time in L.A., working in some of Puck's restaurants, including Spago, where Richard and Sherry Yard, renowned pastry chef at Spago, designed the dessert menu. And if that weren't intimidating enough, he then had to present a tasting to the man himself, of all the items he wanted to put on the dessert menu here in Tulsa. Woah!
He must have been a hit with Chef Wolfgang, because the desserts we tried were spectacular!
My wife and I felt obligated to try several out; you know, not for us, for you! We sacrificed and ordered the Warm Apple Tart and a Fruit Cobbler w/Farmer's Market Crumble.
Jason warned us that the apple tart would take about 10 minutes, and it was worth every second. It was a hand-made puff pastry, filled with caramel glazed Fuji Apples and topped with creamy, rich vanilla ice cream. It came to our table hot from the oven and the ice cream melted into a sweet, creamy sauce as we ate it. The pastry was flaky and tender, a trick with a puff pastry since it is often tough, and the apples were al dente and delicious.
The Cobbler was a combination of fresh black and blueberries and fruit, peaches and other fresh delights. The streusel-style topping was a combination of crushed almonds and cinnamon, with a touch of sugar and butter. Also hot from the oven, it came with it's own scoop of creamy vanilla. Wonderful! It was a sacrifice, but as I said, we did it for you. The décor fits well with the Brookside feel. I called it a California casual/Euro chic fusion. My wife told me I was over-thinking things, but what does she know? Humpf!
At any rate it was a nice combination of light, open space, rich wood and stone and treated concrete. Nicely appointed, it was very comfortable with lots of banquette seating, inviting chairs and ample table space, including a mix of high and low top tables. Crisp table linens give it a polished feel.
There is an open, display-style kitchen that gives diners a view of the action, and Chef Richard can be seen working the pick-up slide, making sure everything is perfect.
The attention to detail, and professional staffing, not to mention excellent food, make this a new restaurant to be reckoned with.
Wolfgang Puck Bistro
3330 S. Peoria Avenue
HOURS: Sunday-Saturday from 5PM
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