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
1313 W. Lindsey, Norman
What worked: Possibly the best upscale joint in Norman.
What needs work: The dining room is a bit cramped and cluttered with bric-a-brac.
The Tip: Good food and fancy atmosphere that manages to avoid pretension.
The first clue you’re entering a ritzy establishment is the high-dollar iron parked in Legend’s lot. Spotted when I went were a sleek Mercedes-Benz, new Cadillac and late-model Corvette.
The tables in this iconic Norman restaurant are small and seating a tad cramped, but relatively comfortable overall. Fresh flowers graced a baby grand piano in the center of the room. The place is decorated with lots of abstract oil paintings, large potted plants and random artifacts such as an old Victrola. It’s a country club atmosphere in which the guests don’t have to be a member.
On request, our server made a recommendation on what to order instead of falling back on the all-too-common and irritating response, “Everything is good.” It undoubtedly helped that he suggested a dish that already had caught my eye.
Cost is not outrageous when you consider that steak, seafood, pork and fowl entrees all come with rolls baked in house, along with salad and side dishes included in the price. Sandwiches and pasta dishes are well under $15. The least expensive choice, a chicken supreme sandwich ($9.95), is a boneless breast dredged in bread crumbs, sautéed in butter and served open-face on rye with a Madeira (a Portuguese fortified wine) cream sauce. At the top-end of the menu is a grilled half-pound beef tenderloin ($32.95). Add a bottle of wine and a couple might kill a Benjamin.
The conversation level in the dining room was low and quiet, lending the place an elegant feel. It’s only a stone’s throw from the University of Oklahoma campus, and the clientele that evening appeared to dispel the notion that all college students are broke.
our server recommendation, a friend had suggested I go with the salad
bar and lemon cake. The salad bar is attractive and not one of those
30-yard-long spreads of every cold dish conceivably known to man.
Compact and well-planned, it includes four varieties of fresh greens, a
few hearty pastas, some bean concoctions and tabouli.
Don’t skip the delectable chilled potatoes in dill and sour cream. If salad bars aren’t your thing, opt for a Caesar or bleu cheese wedge salad, which will be delivered to the table.
My wife chose crispy pork tenderloin medallions ($18.95) for her meal. The meat was seasoned with a hoisin-based sauce and smothered in marinated portobello mushrooms. It received rave reviews. Sour cream and chive mashed potatoes, along with sautéed carrots and broccoli, crowded the generous plate.
The filet of horseradish crusted salmon ($24.95) was as tasty as any finned creature I’ve had in seaports from Vancouver to Ocho Rios, let alone our landlocked territory. Baked in dill, lemon and cream, there wasn’t a speck left on my plate. It was served with the same sides as the pork dish. We both ordered what turned out to be gargantuan slabs of lemon cream cake ($5.50).
It’s worth the splurge on dessert, too. The delicious confections have been written about in Bon Appetit and Southern Living magazines.