POSTED ON MARCH 31, 2010:
We Shall Eat
Blue Dome Diner offers a great start or end to the day
The Blue Dome district, one of Tulsa's downtown niches, is a quaint area within a bigger resurgence of businesses, urban residences and entertainment venues that is turning downtown Tulsa into the area many of us have waited and hoped for, for a long time. "Urban" Tulsa is actually made up of quite a few of these little neighborhoods including Greenwood, Brady, Blue Dome and others.
The District's namesake building still sits on the corner of Second Street and Elgin. In the mid '20s, it was opened as a high profile Gulf Oil and Gas Station on Route 66, which ran smack dab through downtown Tulsa. A really cool old cylindrical building continues to sport the blue dome. Someone in my group felt compelled to point out that it was a perfect match for my blue dome, but I don't see the similarity.
The Blue Dome Diner sits right across the street on Second, about halfway between Detroit and Elgin Streets. Not particularly noticeable from the street, it blends in well with the unpretentious art deco decor all around it.
The Blue Dome Logo is on the front window, with a sign that hangs from the side of the building that says simply, "Eat." It was simple and to the point, which was perfect. And that's what they deliver inside, too.
The breakfast menu is fairly comprehensive, ranging from a selection of huevos rancheros to either pork chops or chicken fried steak and eggs. There's an assortment of ingredients where you can build an omelet to your liking. Pancakes and French toast also line the menu along with a special vegetable scramble for my daughter--in-law and the growing list of vegetarians I come in contact with daily.
Prices ranged from a few bucks for a breakfast sandwich to $8.99 for chicken fried steak and eggs. Lunch entrees seem to be pretty consistent at $7-$8 for everything on the menu. Dinner runs between $10 and $15.
We haven't had the opportunity to go back for dinner, but it is the perfect place for a before ball game, a play or a night-on-the-town meal.
I chose the pork chops and eggs, (my vegetarian friends haven't "turned" me yet, so I still order from the "dark side") and although tender, they were a bit thin for my liking. The eggs were cooked perfectly, and the potatoes were great; a fresh pile of Blue Dome home fries that were well-seasoned and plentiful.
The standard breakfast entrees come with a choice of biscuit and gravy, pancakes, French toast or toast made from their excellent home-baked bread. I decided on the biscuit and gravy, and it was the right choice as it was outstanding. One of the lightest and fluffiest biscuits I have had in years and tasty gravy, even though I personally found it a bit too thick.
My wife opted for the Blueberry French Toast, and it was exceptional. Great vanilla and cinnamon flavor, creamy and "eggy" toast topped with a nice amount of blueberries. It was really, really good.
The omelet another diner ordered was huge and airy, and she claimed it was first rate. My grandson's pancakes were the size of a Desoto hub cap, and his bacon was tasty but not as done as he likes. A little crispier would probably suit the average person as well.
A Mickey Mouse pancake was the hit of our table, though, and it was bigger than the plate.
Adorned with chocolate chips to make up the facial features, one diner reported that they were not just your average chocolate chip but had to be at least Ghirardelli or even better. It's important to have a chocolate chip expert in every group -- I've always said that.
Our service was good, but it's one of those places where it comes when it comes. You get the sense that diners might all get their meals minutes before or after others, but it's a relaxed enough atmosphere that it didn't seem to matter a great deal. If you're looking for more than slapdash food service, this might not be the place for you.
Presentation is definitely not the strong suit at the Blue Dome. When the server put the plate in front of me, I first thought someone else had already started on it. (Really!)
Potatoes were sprawled over the plate, including hanging off the edge, and the pork chops were just dropped on the plate rather than at least shingled on top of each other. I have heard others say the same, and even though it's a casual sort of place, a bit more time could be spent making the plates look presentable, so the diner doesn't feel like the most recent victim of kitchen anarchy.
The décor is a terrific mix of eclectic artifacts, tin signs, posters and pretty much whatever they could find. We ate in the back dining room. It had a stage and a bar for evening events, and the bar, along with one in the front room, held a number of single diners and couples that chose not to wait for a table.
The place might look small from the outside, but according to Downtown Tulsa Unlimited's Web site, the back room holds hundreds of people and is "suitable for shows, parties and general misbehavior." You gotta love it.
The clientele included everyone from groups of off-duty firemen to Saturday morning athletes to folks in upscale casual wear from a local hotel.
Overall, it was a pleasant experience, and we are very happy to see another downtown Tulsa business thrive in that area, especially in these tough times.
The Blue Dome Diner
311 E. Second St.
Thursday-Saturday 6pm-11pm (dinner)
Service *** 1/2
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