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
La Baguette Bistro
7408 N. May
What Works: The food. Specifically the kind you eat.
What Needs Work: The Bermuda Triangle dining room. Don’t get lost!
Tips: Try something different. This is the kind of place that does different very well.
Say what you will about the French. No, seriously, just go ahead and say it. Get it out of your system.
Are you done? Good. Because while I will let you defame the entire nation, I will not hear a word about their food, unless that word is “More?” And at La Baguette Bistro, Oklahoma City’s oldest and most beloved French restaurant, my answer to that word will always be, “Oh, God, yes. Please.”
Whether you’re looking for Sunday brunch, a drink at the bar or a full-on French feast, La Baguette is the place. But let’s start with breakfast, because that’s how all my days begin.
My favorite has always been the croque madame ($12), which is a ham and Swiss sandwich, topped with béchamel sauce and grilled, with two sunny-side-up eggs piled on for good measure. It’s absolutely decadent and would make a good breakfast for anyone who needs to build a barn and then bare-knuckle box 10 men and a horse.
For something slightly lighter, but no less tasty, I think the Bonjour Paris ($8) with ham and scrambled eggs, bacon and Swiss cheese on a toasty croissant is pretty wonderful. Both dishes come with breakfast potatoes and fresh fruit.
While those are exclusive to breakfast, the quiche Lorraine ($10 for breakfast, $10 or $12 for lunch and dinner) is available any time and has never let me down. This dish is what happens when a magician decides to make eggs. It is both solid and fluid. The crust is buttery and flaky. Your fork can hold it, but it melts on the tongue.
I always love quiche, but there are few quiches I love as much as this one.
I told my mother that I was getting beef tartare ($13), and she audibly cringed. But while I will always love her, it is clear our tastes have diverged for the better. Because beef tartare is an absolute delight of chopped rare beef tenderloin, mixed with onions, capers and sauce and served with toasted baguette slices. Tart, tangy, rich and savory — it’s one of my favorite French creations.
Now would be a good time to give some love to the little-loved French waiter, whose reputation for snootiness is unearned, at least at La Baguette. Our waiter was a friendly man hell-bent on helping us pair our meals with a great glass of wine. And before you accuse him of padding the bill, he chose the cheapest glass on the menu for me, and it was a perfect match for both the tartare and my filet of orange roughy special.
My wife was also quite taken with his recommendations, which she said played perfectly off the duck breast ($23). Glazed with orange and sherry, the duck breast is cooked to your liking — I’d steer toward medium rare or medium. It is served with risotto, tomato, haricots verts (fancy green beans) and topped with a roasted sunflower.
If that seems too exotic for you, the filet au poivre ($30) may be more up your alley. It’s a filet mignon prepared the way all filets should be — with lots of fresh black pepper, seared, flambéed and topped with a bit of veal glaze and cream. This was the steak that first awakened my love of the filet, and I’ll bet it can do the same for you.
That said, if you go to La Baguette and only get dessert, I will not blame you. The chocolate mousse cake is, by far, my favorite way to get diabetes. A six-inch cake will run you $16, and there might not be a better way on this planet or any adjacent planets to spend that money.
La Baguette is an experience and one I think everyone should have. You can eat there on a budget and still walk out satisfied, or you can spend to your heart’s content and roll out the door elated. I think you can guess which one I prefer.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.