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
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
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
What works: Crowd-pleasing menu and service.
What needs work: I'd like en entrée of pretzels. But that's more my issue.
Tips: Go at night and get a drink. Hippy Juice tastes like smiles, but will knock you down.
“We wanted a place that felt comfortable,” he said. “The kind of place where we’d want to hang out.”
On that count, he’s succeeded.
Whether it’s a room full of couches, a seat at the bar or one of the tables and booths, Picasso is a nice spot to park your butt. And while comfort and service might draw in some customers, the food needs to be pretty good, too.
It is. I’m sorry, was I supposed to wait until the end and treat this like a cliffhanger? My mistake. Let’s try to mystery this thing up again.
Good appetizers are pretty essential at a restaurant where people linger. Heavy entrées are fine and all, but you need something to pick at. And there’s nothing I want to pick at more than the soft pretzel ($5). Tender dough, with just a little pull on the crust, lots of salt and that warm, soft center. The cheese for dipping is fine, but I really love the mustard: all spicy and sharp.
The ahi tuna appetizer ($10) is more substantial, but with a light Asian vinaigrette on top, it’s still easy on the stomach. And the risotto croquettes ($6) — deary me, but they can give a gentleman the vapors. Crunchy and creamy and, when paired with the tomato sauce, full of really wonderful flavor.
As much as I like the tuna appetizer, I’m even more taken with it as a sandwich ($10). Blackened ahi tuna on a bun, with thinly sliced carrots, cucumbers and a wasabi aioli. I tell my friends it’s on the menu because of me. My friends have responded by naming the sandwich “The Douche Bag.” But, seriously, it’s a great sandwich. Rather than lettuce and tomato, the carrot and cucumber complement the Asian flavors of the tuna and wasabi.
More fish? More fish. Fish and chips ($10), to be precise. It’s tilapia, instead of cod, and the batter is made with delicious Old Style beer. More to the point, it’s fried perfectly and served with a caper rémoulade, which, you have correctly guessed, is delicious.
If you’re looking for something a bit heavier, let me point you to the airline chicken ($13). It’s a seared, skin-on chicken breast (with a bit of the wing, for presentation) topped with bacon-blue cheese cream. It’s tender. It’s big on flavor. It’s the kind of thing you should order if you feel like you’ll be chopping wood or fighting Mothra.
right Margarita pizza
With a crowd? Get a pizza ($12). House-made dough and a nice selection of options. C’mon. A chorizo-jalapeño-onion pizza sounds pretty good. Search your heart. You know it to be true.
Vegetarian options are available, including quinoa tacos ($7) and vegetarian chili Frito pie ($9). I prefer the grilled cheese ($8), however, which is an ever-changing beast made with whatever cheeses are on hand for the cheese plate.
It’s easy to be at Picasso Cafe.
Too easy, really. One quick drink usually becomes a couple of hours of laughing and talking and ordering food I didn’t intend to get when I went in. But that’s a good thing, and it’s one of the many reasons I keep going back.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.
Photos by Mark Hancock