Wednesday 16 Apr

Smooth pop

Ah, springtime in Oklahoma and the joy of eating food from a street vendor. Just in time for the warm weather, two new mobile concepts want you to chill out.
04/16/2014 | Comments 0


No single holiday has done more to ruin the reputation of eggs than Easter.
04/16/2014 | Comments 0

Plane food

Ozzie’s Diner

1700 Lexington Ave., Norman


What works: No-frills diner food served fast and friendly.      

What needs work: Seating is slightly cramped.     

Tip: Come hungry; portions are huge.    

04/16/2014 | Comments 0

OKG7 eat: Fresh off the farm

There was a time not too terribly long ago in Oklahoma City when there was a chain on every corner and the closest you could get to local was to make a trip to your farmers market and make the food yourself. We always celebrate all things local, and luckily, it’s getting easier for OKC restaurants to incorporate locally grown, all- natural ingredients into what they offer.

— By Devon Green

photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

04/16/2014 | Comments 0

OKG7 eat: Soccer pub crawl

Football season is finally here! We call it soccer, but that doesn’t have to stop you from indulging in two favorite European traditions: walking and pub crawling. Since the Energy FC games will be alcohol-free, we’ve created a list of pubs and taverns within walking distance from Clement E. Pribil Stadium at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.

— by Devon Green 

photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

04/09/2014 | Comments 0

OGK7 eat: Dollars to doughnuts

While the idea of fried dough may or may not be American in origin, the traditional ring-shaped confection that we know and love does originate here. According to The Smithsonian, doughnuts were created by an enterprising New England sailor’s mother who wanted a way to store and transport pastry. Regardless of its origin, the doughnut is a modern favorite.

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

04/02/2014 | 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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