Tuesday 15 Apr

Thai me up

Thai Kitchen Cafe

327 Dean A. McGee Ave.


What works: Top-notch pad thai, excellent stir-fry dishes, fast and friendly staff.

What needs work: Parking can be a real pain, but that’s the price of eating at Thai Kitchen Cafe.

Tip: Go at dinner if you want a larger selection. But there’s plenty to love at lunch.

04/09/2014 | Comments 0

Beer and wine

“Drink pink” is the rallying cry of spring for many wine lovers. The big reds of the fall and winter are retired in favor of lighterbodied wines for warmer weather, and the more patio-friendly the better. While white wines, especially sweeter ones, dominate the spring and summer, many wine lovers still prefer dry, red wines.
04/09/2014 | Comments 0

Drinking al fresco

One of the first signs of spring every year is the increase in drinkers and diners spending beautiful afternoons and evenings on metro restaurant patios. As the number of restaurants in the metro continues to grow, so do the number of patio options, but very few provide spectacular views of the city while you enjoy your spring cocktails. Here are three hot spots worth visiting for more than just food and drinks.
04/09/2014 | Comments 0

OKG7 eat: Soccer pub crawl

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

04/09/2014 | Comments 0

OGK7 eat: Dollars to doughnuts

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 

04/02/2014 | Comments 0

OKG7 eat: BBQ for me and you

Ubiquitous barbecue joints are a point of state pride and, in some cases, a reason to poke fun. When comedian Jim Gaffigan visited Oklahoma last year, he commented on the sheer number of barbecue restaurants in the Sooner State. Whether it’s the rub or the sauce, pork or beef, there’s one thing we all can agree on: A full plate of smoky, sweet barbecue with all the sides is heavenly.

— by Devon Green, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman

03/26/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Food · Restaurant Reviews · Noble nosh
Restaurant Reviews

Noble nosh

The way of the Samurai is to prepare simple but solid sushi that will have you roll back for more.

Greg Elwell December 18th, 2013

Never doubt the power of one bad meal. I visited Samurai (1630 NW 23rd St.) when it opened a few years ago and did not feel the need to return. The sushi was not good. I remember the tempura batter being sharp. Like, it hurt my mouth to eat.

But time heals all wounds, including whatever gum-gouging went on before. I found my way back to Samurai with a sushi-loving friend and ordered too much for two people to eat (we ate it all) and decided I wanted to go back.

It may take time for restaurants to find their feet, unfortunately, and those unlucky test subjects who experience early rough waters may not be the forgiving type. If you ever shied away from Samurai, it’s time to give it another shot.

Strip-mall neighbors to Pizza Hut and Jersey Mike’s, Samurai is pretty small. There’s a sushi bar and a few tables; that’s it.

The menu is not small. It has lots of rolls to try, so forgive me if I concentrate on the highlights.

If you can resist the siren call of an appetizer called Monkey Brain ($4.95), then you’re a better man than I. Shaped a bit like a muffin cut in quarters, the “brain” is avocado topped with spicy tuna and crab with a tempura top and a sweet, mildly spicy sauce. A bit of a mess to eat, it’s a nice little combo to whet your appetite.

It’s nothing compared to the gyoza ($3.95), which I recommend you get pan-fried. These little dumplings are a tad greasier than most, but I think it’s because they are made on-site. Filled with tender pork and vegetables, they are a delicacy most dangerous. You will not realize you’ve eaten them all until you look down and then see your dining companion’s scowl of displeasure.

The sushi sample appetizer ($6.95) is just five pieces of nigiri, but the simple presentation complements the dish. A chef’s choice of fish on rice, ours was the usual lineup of tuna, salmon, crabstick and the like. And you know what? It was good, honest sushi.

That said, if you like specialty rolls and sauces and things that are tempurafried, Samurai is happy to serve you.

It’s a one-man show in the kitchen, so far as I could see, so don’t be alarmed if food takes a minute to show up. We were quite pleased with the Crunch & Caliente roll ($7.95). Basically a spicy tuna roll with avocado, tempura and spicy sauce on top, it was the favorite of the bunch — proof, perhaps, that a lot of ingredients doesn’t always guarantee a better roll.

Which is how we felt about the Phoenix Tail ($9.95). A mix of salmon, tuna, crab and avocado, fried and topped with eel sauce, it wasn’t bad. It just didn’t make much of an impression.

Better was the Bomb Bomb ($11.95) with a California roll under crab and spicy tuna with scallions and the house spicy sauce. It was a little crunchy and had plenty of heat.

Look for lots of old favorites — veggie rolls and Philly rolls — and combos a little less common. The Boston roll ($5.25) combines steamed shrimp with avocado, lettuce and cucumber. I’d have it again.

There are more cooked entrees, as well, but the best things I had were the simplest. Tuna Tataki ($9.95) is a plate of seared tuna slices in a spicy ponzu sauce. This is what I love about Japanese food: one dish, done extremely well, and it made my entire meal better.

My only reservation in telling you about the small Samurai is that I’m afraid I won’t be able to get in the door when people realize how good this little restaurant on 23rd Street is. But it’s too good to keep secret.

Such is the power of one good meal. (Well, two. I went back for more.) Suddenly, you can’t wait to tell everybody.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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