What a wealth of choices! We remember the days when the only places to eat after 10 p.m. were Denny’s and Waffle House. Next time you’re out late with friends, check out OKC’s abundance of local late-night eatery options.
— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock, Shannon Cornman and Gazette staff
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
The Lobby Cafe & Bar
4322 N. Western
What works: great service, interesting dishes, excellent atmosphere
What needs work: Prices can be a little high for the amount of food.
Tips: Park in the back, where there’s lots of room.
Just order something weird, OK?
Look, I know it is scary going to new places and trying new things. And when you have finite resources, it seems even more important that you really enjoy the food on which you’re spending said resources.
But if you never try anything new, you’re never going to find your new favorite thing. And I think a lot of you will consider The Lobby Bar & Cafe your new favorite, given the chance.
Located on a particularly restaurant-y stretch of Western Avenue, is The Lobby Bar. Inside, you’ll find a menu that is probably different from what you’re used to seeing.
Sautéed calamari, for instance. Or a lamb slider. Or the beet salad. And that’s a pretty great place to start.
The roasted beet salad ($9) is a gorgeous little blend of greens topped with slices of hearty beets — a little sweet, a little savory — and paired with almonds, a vinaigrette and goat cheese mousse. Salads are often an afterthought, but this is a well-crafted and well-reasoned dish.
Want something a bit warmer?
I like the soups at the Lobby Bar, too. It has daily specials, but the white bean and bacon ($2.50 for a cup, $4.25 for a bowl) is always on the menu. It’s a light soup, with a broth that is thin, but substantial. There’s not a ton of bacon, but the flavor is there in spades. It’s smoky, peppery and tasty.
The tapas menu is a real draw, with plenty of items you’re not likely to see elsewhere in the metro. The bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and chorizo ($5.50) are a sweet bite that pairs well with wine or a cocktail — as a bar, the Lobby Bar is pretty well-stocked — although I found the flavor to be very comparable to sweet potatoes.
I was a little less taken with the roasted red pepper hummus ($8); however, I bet many would disagree. Unlike some versions of this dish, I detected a lot of red bell pepper. It’s a bit wetter than most hummus, but with much more flavor. I liked it, but there’s more on the menu that I crave.
Like the grilled cheese ($8) with a mix of Spanish cheeses like Manchego, Mahon and Tetilla. It’s a little greasy, a lot nutty and very delicious. It’s not a meal in and of itself, but that’s kind of the point here: Try a little of a lot of things and you’ll enjoy yourself.
One of the most popular dishes on the menu is the lobster slider ($8). While I understand the appeal, I was a little disappointed in the lack of lobster flavor. There’s plenty of lobster, which is great, but paired with bacon, tomato and horseradish aioli, it gets lost in the mix. It’s still a great-tasting mix, but if you’re looking for lots of lobster punch, you might not be satisfied.
those wanting something heavier to pair with libations, the
bacon-wrapped meatloaf slider ($8) comes with balsamic ketchup and Swiss
cheese. Oh, and my affection. That’s in there, too.
Have you saved room for dessert? There’s seasonal ice cream ($4) and a lemon panna cotta ($8) with a vanilla gastrique. I say this in the best way possible — that panna cotta reminded me of lemon yogurt. Like, the purest expression of lemon yogurt ever. It’s creamy, tender and tartly sweet. The only problem I had was sharing.
But that’s how things work with a menu like this. It’s different, although not shockingly so, and everybody is going to want to try a bit of everything. So make it a point to go there with friends ... or at least enough of an appetite to finish off a few items by yourself.