Saturday 26 Jul

Food briefs: You’re toast, er, pretzel

There’s a new food truck on the scene.
07/22/2014 | Comments 0

Upward mobility

Locals can have fresh microgreens and herbs for cooking in a new and convenient way. Microgreens, a chef favorite, are petite vegetable greens that add color, nutrition and flavor to dishes.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Vietnamese comfort food

I’ve always had a love affair with the refreshing, healthy cuisine of Vietnam. I love the fragrances, the fresh herbs, cilantro, basil, mint and other Asian herbs: perilla, Vietnamese coriander and sawtooth cilantro. And I love the contrast and balance in almost every dish: spicy vs. cool, salty vs. sweet and steamed vs. crispy.
07/16/2014 | Comments 0

OKG eat: Cool places, cooler drinks

We know. It’s hot. It’s summer in Oklahoma. Cool down by sampling cocktails that local bars and restaurants have concocted just for you. Find a nice, air conditioned space or a shaded patio and while away the hours drinking the flavors of summer. You might decide it’s not that bad after all.

— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock, Shannon Cornman and Lauren Hamilton

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

New kids on the block

There are a wealth of new local eateries cropping up in the metro and even more coming. If they’re not on your radar, they should be. From the comfy atmosphere at The Barrel on Western Avenue to the laid-back vibe at the Plaza District’s coffee shop, you might find a new regular hangout.

— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

07/16/2014 | Comments 0


Ah, the perils of working with special dietary needs. It can make dining out a pain. Luckily, with restaurateurs becoming more savvy to their diners’ needs, there are a bevy of places in OKC to satisfy your craving for the foods you love without losing taste. All choices this week have been road-tested by gluten-sensitive foodies to guarantee satisfaction.
07/09/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Food · Restaurant Reviews · Opposites attract
Restaurant Reviews

Opposites attract

Chef Eric Smith gives loyal lunchers a little taste of heaven at Pachinko Parlor, his split-culinary personality restaurant.

Carol Smaglinski February 2nd, 2011

Pachinko Parlor
1 N.W. Ninth
Executive Chef: Eric Smith
General Manager: Jennifer Hughes
Owners: Rick Haynes, David Haynes and Eric Smith
Food Style: Asian-inspired AmericanAverage Check: $9, lunch; $15, dinner

When Pachinko Parlor opened a year ago, few people around town actually knew what a pachinko was. I did, as my late husband bought me one while on a trip to Japan.

A pachinko resembles a pinball machine and really can be entertaining — and so can its namesake restaurant in downtown. Pachinko Parlor, 1 N.W. Ninth, is a clever name for a restaurant, and a quirky spot where customers enter to see a pachinko hanging right on the wall.

“The owners have it hanging, otherwise the servers would be playing it all the time,” said Flint Beard, a waiter at Pachinko.

The place is tucked in near the end of an up-and-coming neighborhood just off Broadway, serving a smart selection of American food inspired by Asian cuisine. Hot and hip, the color-sparked restaurant is most often filled with people who are looking for an adventure. The result? Some of the tastiest food around, with clean, distinct flavors playing marvelously against one another.

You can sense young chef Eric Smith’s enthusiasm and how the Asian/American fusion influences his work. This sort of crazy-fun food perfectly complements Pachinko Parlor’s stylish space.

This unique spot was perfect for a unique review. For the first time in more than 11 years of doing reviews for Oklahoma Gazette, this reporter’s name was announced to the employees. Why? Because we filmed this review to be shown on KOKH- Fox 25’s “Morning News.”

Gazette reviewers (and there are several) are never provided with complimentary food or drinks from the restaurants in exchange for favorable reviews, nor are their identities as reviewers made known before they complete and pay for their meals. May I add that although I know the owners of many restaurants, very few of the servers have ever seen my face.

That particular day, I was joined by the handsome Fox co-anchor Matt Austin, although still in makeup from his morning shoot at the television show, which broadcasts live every weekday from 5 to 9 a.m. He was joined by Fox cameraman Jeremy Ferris, and when he aimed his camera, the food started flying out of the kitchen.

In just minutes, polished server David LeMaster Donahoe started us off with the edamame ($5). These were Japanese green soybeans that were crisp-fried rather than steamed and then livened up with sprinkles of sea salt. We quickly pulled the beans out through our teeth and discarded the pods. The spring rolls ($7) were stuffed with roasted chicken, goat cheese, arugula and presented with a peanut sauce.

The Asian variation of French bouillabaisse ($5) was satisfying, with thin strings of cooked onions and a creamy base. That was just one example of Smith’s penchant for reining in vivid flavors, making new dishes seem like classics.

If there’s a common thread among these dishes, it’s a true complexity, yet it all looks effortless.

My Merle Haggard sushi roll ($11) was an Okie California roll with real crab and masago, which are smelt eggs. Meanwhile, Austin was polishing off the Teddy Roosevelt roll ($14), done with yellowtail, cream cheese, avocado, habanero, masago and topped with crispy won tons and drizzled with scallion oil.

We also tried the beef tenderloin “roll” ($12), tender slices of beef stuffed with scallions with wasabi mayonnaise.

Somehow, we left room for dessert and decided on the chai tea crème brûlée ($5). It was a reminder that restraint and simplicity are always welcome, but so is excitement on the plate. This had it all.

If there’s a common thread among these dishes, it’s a true complexity, yet it all looks effortless.

In summer months, it’s enjoyable to grab a table outside. Add some suds or cocktails, and Pachinko Parlor has a great blockparty feel. In the year it’s been open, Pachinko has really made an impact on the local food landscape.

Pachinko is open daily, but do check the hours. From 4 to 6 p.m., all rolls are half-price for happy hour.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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