POSTED ON OCTOBER 1, 2008:
Good for the Gastro
An 18th and Boston pub serves upscale victuals just right of the pond
Sink Your Teeth In. The Hanger Steak is prepared with chimichurri, an Argentine sauce and marinade, and was grilled to order, medium rare. This was excellent--tender, flavorful and most satisfying. Highly marbleized, these strips of steak are excellent and highly recommended.
Definitely not a common household term when it comes to restaurants, gastropubs, originating in Britain, are public houses specializing in more than just the usual pub grub fare of alcohol, fish and chips, kidney pie, bangers and mash and pasties.
Oscar's Gastropub (the word a combo of pub and gastronomy), lead by owner and executive chef Eli Huff, continues the British gastropub craze here in Tulsa. The atmosphere has a modern, casual, classy feel. The newly refinished wooden floor, the deep olive green and cream color scheme and the ceiling-to-floor curtain, which serves as a divider between the dining area and raised south side that can be used for somewhat private gatherings, all bring Oscar's up a notch to a place catering to more than a beer crowd.
The evening I dined here, more people were still in their office attire of ties and slacks, dresses and dress suits. In fact, I, in my blue jeans, was almost underdressed.
When my guest and I arrived, it took a minute or two for someone to seat us. Looking around, a few tables were occupied with large groups, a few people were at the bar, and the overall feel was warm and inviting. We were seated, and our server for the evening greeted us.
We reviewed the drinks, finding 24 beers on tap and decided to sample Marshall Brewing Co.'s Atlas India Pale Ale ($5) and Sundown Wheat ($6). Both were very good choices, the Atlas having a kick, as my friend said, and the Wheat smooth and mellow.
I found the menu selections refreshingly limited to one page, and while the selections were fewer than what might be expected, it was nice to know that Oscar's was not trying to be everything to everyone.
Oscar's starters include a variety of choices. For the more conservative diner, Crispy BBQ Chicken Thighs and Beer Battered Green Beans are good options, and for the more aggressive diner, the Ahi Tuna Tataki, Candy Smoked Salmon Terrine and Oscar's Chorizo Wontons, all priced $10 or less.
We decided on Oscar's Chorizo Wontons ($7). These five crispy wontons were filled with an odd marriage that worked quite well: goat cheese and chorizo (a coarsely ground pork sausage laden with chili powder, garlic and other spices). We found these delicate and crispy on the outside and richly savory on the inside. The goat cheese gave the filling a pleasant, yet attention-getting zing with each taste. When dipped in the accompanying sweet and sour sauce, another level of zing occurred on the palate juxtaposing the sweet and sour with the cheese and pork.
Soups and salads are a staple on menus, and Oscar's is no exception. House Chop Salad, Tomato Pesto Panzanella, B.L.T. Wedge, Teriyaki Beef Salad and Shredded Caesar Salad are the choices. We skipped to the entrees.
Eight entrees and six sides are offered. My friend went with the Organic Hanger Steak and Frites ($22), and I chose the Ahi Tuna Oscar ($24). Hanger Steak was a new one for us; it is named from its positing of "hanging" from the diaphragm (between the rib and the loin) of the steer. Traditionally more popular in Europe, hanger steak is gaining attention. It is similar to flank steak, and while it can be less than tender, it has a rich, flavorful taste.
The Hanger Steak is prepared with chimichurri, an Argentine sauce and marinade, and was grilled to order, medium rare. This was excellent--tender, flavorful and most satisfying. Highly marbleized, these strips of steak were excellent and highly recommended. The Frites were slender and crispy and the grilled asparagus delightful.
My Ahi Tuna was stacked: spicy aioli, Dungeness crab cake, grilled asparagus, Ahi tuna and a fried wonton wrapper from bottom to top. The tuna was excellent. Grilled to the very rare side, this fish was pretty and pink, and delectably exquisite. I also enjoyed the grilled asparagus. The Dungeness crab cake was also quite good--crispy, fresh and full of flavor.
I also ordered a side of 3-Way Mac 'N' Cheese ($6). This was creamy with cheese and with what seemed to be chili powder as the seasoning. The pasta was too soft.
Other entrees include Sante Fe Ribeye, Pork Wienerschnitzel, Smoke Roasted BBQ Chicken, American Kobe Beef Meatloaf, Grilled Teriyaki Salmon, Oscar's Noodle Bowl. Sides include Grilled Asparagus with Aioli, Texas Goat Cheese Mash, Sweet Potato Fries and Drunken Mushrooms, each at $6.
Lunch at Oscar's has Grilled Hanger Steak and Frites as entrees and an assortment of sandwiches, sliders, wraps and a cheeseburger.
Service was fair. Often we were without a server (when we needed one), for she was tending to seemingly all tables in and out. Prices are on the high side. My dinner for two with only two beers and no dessert was $70 without tip.
1738 S. Boston Ave.
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