POSTED ON OCTOBER 12, 2011:
Meat and Greet
A friendly staple with a perfectly pink and juicy center
Doe's Eat Place, 1350 E. 15th St., has to be one of Tulsa's best kept secrets when it comes to indulging in a fine steak dinner. Situated within the heart of Cherry Street, I think of Doe's when I have a hankering for beef. This particular cool autumn evening, a friend and I enjoyed our dinner outside on the patio which parallels Cherry Street.
We were greeted warmly entering Doe's and once we were seated on the patio, we were eager to begin with a cocktail -- though it was a number of minutes before our server arrived tableside to take our drink order. Dining out for me is not a mechanistic operation, but rather a time of relaxing and enjoying the experience. So, slow service, in my estimation is actually preferred over rushed service.
Sipping our beverages, we studied the Starters from among Shrimp Cocktail, Shrimp Appetizer, Avocado Prawns, Cold-Water Raw Oyster Shooters, Cooked Oysters from Chesapeake Bay and Lobster Thermidor ; we opted for the latter, of which the menu boasts as being "Our perfect appetizer for two!" for $19. It is described as 4-5 ounces of lobster simmered in bourbon, cream, mushrooms and fresh spinach. "Many restaurants make this with lobster paste -- I don't even have it in my kitchen," said Proprietor Richard "Skip" Long, who has been managing the operations at Doe's for seven years.
I met with Long a few days following dining at Doe's, and he provided some insight to this appetizer. He said it is a dish that needs to be very delicate and not packed with an overabundance of lobster. (Ours had delicate and small bite-sized pieces of lobster.)
"It has one full lobster in it, and I purposely place the shell on top," as if for evidence of that fact. He recalls having this dish overseas and wanting to recreate it here. My dining companion and I savored each bite. The simplicity, richness yet delicate nature of the dish was incredible. This was served with Doe's fry bread which had a puffy light texture (but slightly greasy). We thought slices of crispy French bread would have been a better companion to the Thermidor because of the rich creaminess of it.
Long says he has changed up the menu a bit recently by adding a few new dishes -- citing the economy and the restaurant smoking law around 2006 which negatively affected his restaurant from a variety of standpoints. Still, the steaks are the best on the menu in my estimation: T-Bone, Porterhouse, Sirloin, Rib Eye, Filet and Smoked Tenderloin. The menu says Doe's steaks are cut fresh daily from whole beef loins (and never frozen). Each loin is aged at Doe's at least 21 days to enhance the flavor of each steak. They are served by size: 1.5 up to 2.5 pounds. Long adds that the "aging of the steaks makes them so good."
I chose the Porterhouse, to which Long offered his nod of satisfaction. By no means being discourteous, he said many ladies will order the Filet which is actually not as flavorful (and tender) as the Porterhouse. The Porterhouse offers the best of both (steak) worlds: cut from the middle portion of the short loin, this steak also contains a "T-shaped" bone. On the small side is the filet while the larger side is the strip steak. (Doe's will even cook the 2.5-pound version of this steak at two different temperatures.) I ordered the 1.5-pound version ($42) with a bowl of Sautéed Mushrooms ($8) while my friend chose the 1.5 pound Rib Eye ($38) and a side of Fresh Broiled Asparagus ($8).
For those opting for something other than steak, Long offers Cold Water North Atlantic Lobster, Pan-Fried Tilapia, Broiled Salmon, Stuffed Chicken Breast, Stuffed Pork Chop, New Zealand Rack of Lamb and Colorado Rack of Lamb. Salads and Kids' Meals are also featured.
Salads came with our meals and they were of the basic sort -- perfect for the meal we were about to consume. Iceberg lettuce, freshly sliced red onion and tomatoes were tossed in the house vinaigrette. Lots of cracked black pepper dotted the salad. (Service was a little off as my friend did not receive a fork with his salad and eventually used my fork since our server did not return until our steaks were brought to the table.)
Our steaks were impeccable. My Porterhouse filet side was melt-in-your-mouth buttery tender and prepared medium rare just as I requested. My friend's Rib Eye was just as fine although just by its nature, the flavor is stronger than the Porterhouse cut. My side order came to me wrong: I was given the 1941 Green Beans rather than the mushrooms, but what a happy mistake.
These beans, as Long explained, are some of the best. He said he begins with caramelizing onions: cooking them to this state rather than adding raw onions to the beans makes the difference. To the onions he adds a healthy dose of butter and olive oil, a bit of ham paste and then the canned green beans. Green beans never tasted better. (I did also receive the button mushrooms which were very good, but not as enjoyable as the green beans.)
My friend's asparagus was very good: prepared slightly firm, they are cooked under a flame then served with drawn butter and freshly made Hollandaise sauce. The citrusy flavor of the sauce coupled with the rich butter in the sauce accented this vegetable well.
Another change since I dined there last, Long points out, are the flatware and colorful Fiesta dishes. The flatware is of substantial girth, sufficient to cut into any steak without compromising its shape.
Sitting at the bar with Long, he reminisced about the place and the joys and sorrows which come with owning and managing a restaurant. Yet through it all he said it is worth it. Long graciously granted me a grand tour of Doe's, including the completion of their room renovation and kitchen area.
The kitchen and meat cutting room are impeccably clean. Long allowed me a view of the stainless steel meat cutter which was immaculate. The kitchen was equally spotless, from fry areas to vents. He said his employees clean them every day before opening the kitchen. A very small kitchen, he said he has three or four staff in the kitchen each night.
The tour continued into the dining rooms, sectioned off for a semi-private dining experience. Two rooms offer a "board room" feel with long tables providing comfortable seating. Other rooms, each with its own airy and warm feel, will accommodate from 20 to 26 diners. There is even a courtyard dining area of about four tables, nice for private dining.
A great place to be with friends over a drink or appetizer at the bar or for a full-scale dinner, Doe's is a must for fine Tulsa dining in a relaxed and homey feel.
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