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
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
Kaiser's American Bistro
1039 N. Walker
What works: juicy burgers, tasty soups
What doesn’t work: The au jus on the french dip is kind of “au no.”
Tips: Milkshakes make every meal better.
Things change. People change. And sometimes, most devastatingly, menus change.
Please, have a sit. Kaiser’s American Bistro is dropping its green chili cheeseburger. I know, I know. Just let the tears flow.
Originally called the Hasta Infierno burger, the green chili cheeseburger ($8) is a magical mix of beef, chorizo sausage and jalapeños, topped with green chilies and cheese. It has a kick and will be missed.
(But it’s not gone yet, so go get one and make some really overt yummy noises. Maybe Kaiser’s will keep it ... although the patty melt it’s being replaced with sounds pretty good, too.)
Shaun Fiaccone describes Kaiser’s as “stick-to-your-ribs home cooking,”
but I think of it as diner food made better. Yes, the eatery has
burgers and soups and salads, but they’re made really, really well.
Case in point: The Pollo Diablo ($8) is a chicken sandwich. Usually I hate chicken sandwiches. They’re boring. They’re bland. The texture is all wrong. Not this time. Here you’ve got roasted chipotle chicken, pulled and chopped, mixed with poblano peppers and topped with provolone cheese. Wrapped in Prairie Thunder focaccia, it’s texturally and flavorfully exciting.
All sandwiches come with a side. I preferred the mac and cheese and kettle chips to the pasta salad and french fries, but your taste buds might prefer another combination.
If you need something with a little less heat, but just as much flavor, the smoked salmon burger ($9) might be swimming against the stream and into your alley. The salmon flavor is mild, complemented by melting feta cheese and a caper aioli. Squeeze on a little lemon while you’re at it. You’re welcome.
And if you’d like to continue thanking me, might I recommend some soup?
The Grateful Bean ($3.50 a cup/$5 a bowl) is a ham and bean soup made with smokey ham hocks and lots of diced veggies. The broth takes on a creamy consistency as the beans break down a bit. I put in a little hot sauce, but you do what you like.
The chicken and dumplings ($3.50/$5) is even creamier, with doughy, slightly chewy dumplings and big pieces of chicken. Very satisfying, if you’re the type of person who gets that sort of thing from soup. (I am.)
We really can’t go on without talking ice cream. Yes, I scream, you scream, we all should get our hearing checked.
Seriously, guys. Enough with the screaming. I know you’re excited for ice cream, but there are better ways to show it. Maybe smile. Or offer to pay for your own.
Kaiser’s makes ice cream.
Shaun told me his favorite is salted caramel, so I tried it. He’s right: It’s pretty awesome. You can also get sundaes, ice cream sodas and Chocolate Nirvana ($7), which includes a fudge brownie, ice cream and whipped cream. It’s big and it’s good.
The menu at Kaiser’s will keep on changing, I’m sure. And we’ll lose some old friends — sniff, goodbye, green chili cheeseburger — and make some new ones. As long as the place keeps making dinerstyle food with high-end techniques, I’ll still be a fan.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.