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
7202 W. Hefner
What works: Spicy sauces and tender meats.
What needs work: Soggy french fries and flavorless green beans.
Tips: The two-meat plate is enough for two meals, if you’re the kind who likes next-day barbecue.
Please, help yourself to some salt.
I cannot guarantee an unbiased review of Steve’s Rib, because I know for a fact that I am biased. What I’ll try to do here is be fair and accept your critique of that fairness.
No, I don’t hold a financial stake in Steve’s Rib, nor do I have any connection to the owners. I have just eaten a lot of barbecue from Steve’s. The location in Edmond is a couple of blocks from the house where I spent the majority of my childhood and about equidistant from my old high school. For a year, I ate at Steve’s nearly every other day.
What I’m saying is, it’s hard to separate my wistful longing for my carefree youth from the chopped brisket sandwiches I got from Steve’s.
Of the two locations, I prefer the one in Oklahoma City because it’s most like the one I grew up with. Here you walk along a glass case, ordering as you go before you reach the register. No waiters or waitresses. Not much waiting at all, really.
And the food is just classic barbecue. My personal favorite is the smoked turkey. It has a pretty clean flavor with just a hint of smoke. What you’re really getting is a moist slab of tender meat to dress with Steve’s sauce. Between the sweet and the hot, I go for the hot, but your mileage may vary.
Steve’s barbecue is not the kind I’d eat dry. It doesn’t have that deepdown smoky flavor that carries the meat all on its own. But it doesn’t have to, because the sauce packs a nice wallop.
You can get your brisket sliced or chopped, and I like the latter. That big pile of meat soaks up the sauce and makes for a very tasty sandwich. It’s also a bit fattier, which means it’s juicy and more flavorful than the sliced.
The one meat I can take without the sauce and still be happy are the ribs. Steve’s Rib is aptly named, I guess, because these are nicely done and really swallow up the smoke. The bark on the outside has enough chew to be interesting, while the meat underneath is tender and sweet.
On the side are baked beans that have a nice kick of sugar and spice, although I’d avoid the french fries if I were you. If you are desperate for some starchy goodness, upgrade to the “premium” side list and get a baked potato. It’s worth it just to see them squirt enough liquid butter to drown a lobster into the stillsteaming potato, but I’d recommend eating the thing while you’re at it.
They have different kinds of fruit cobbler, which is usually a good bet, but one I rarely make. I’m too taken with the giant slabs they call chocolate brownies, which are a sure thing.
Is Steve’s Rib good barbecue?
I think so. But I can’t be sure that half the flavor isn’t provided by my nostalgia gland. Whatever your opinion ends up being, it won’t change me one bit — I’ll keep going to Steve’s because it’s in my blood. Or it’s in the sauce.
After so many years of going there, I’m pretty sure I’ve got some of that sauce running through my veins.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.