Cafe I can 

Cafe Icon black lava stone
BY: Shannon Cornman

The friendly husband-and-wife team’s eatery is just south of the University of Central Oklahoma campus and aims to provide an interactive dining experience with a heavy emphasis on fusion of international cultures.

One of the inspirations comes from a large black lava rock that has been heated to over 800 degrees. The use of lava rock and other cooking stones is an ancient practice.

The lava stones at Icon are used to flash-grill meat or fish tableside. Choose from a selection of beef, lamb, duck or tuna and sauces that vary from sweet to spicy to complement.

Because of the high temperature, the meat sears quickly and no oils are necessary in the preparation process.

“[My customers] don’t worry that their food is going to get cold by air conditioning because the stone stays warm and maintains a nice flow for the meal,” Patrick Mok said.

The couple purchased the specialty black rock lava stone after Patrick’s sister saw the cooking technique at a food show in Hong Kong. The Moks are the only establishment to practice it in the state.

Some may prefer a quicker stream of epicurean fare. That’s where the sushi bar comes in. Choose a seat at a table, or sit at the 10-person bar. A team of chefs motivated from global cupboards works skillfully to turn out a creative array of chef-d’oeuvres.

Appetizers such as edamame, gyoza and tempura are simple staples. It’s the imaginative flavors that make it fun. Take the crawfish tacos — a mix of spicy crab and crawfish, Icon sauce, avocado and jalapeños — served in crispy taco shells and topped with its signature salsa.

“I am looking at the world,” Patrick said. “Customers are more demanding of what they eat. I have to be different, and that’s what I require from my chefs.”

The sushi and sashimi menu will meet any connoisseur’s desires. Prices range from $5 to $13, depending on chosen items.

Popular
rolls include the Thunder, which consists of a crab stick, cream cheese
and salmon rolled together. It’s then fried and wrapped into another
roll with spicy sweet mayo. Another favorite is the Country. This
interesting concoction includes fried chicken, bacon, avocado and
lettuce. It’s served with a sweet sauce.

For
non-sushi folks, hibachi chicken and shrimp are offered, in addition to
pork cutlets and breaded chicken breasts. A children’s menu is
available, too.

The
Moks want to share with customers a mix of tradition and innovation with
an ultimate side of great service. Beyond the meal, the Moks sought
furnishings to reflect their restaurant’s trademark hospitality, from
the modern lighting to the square black dining tables and the over-sized
aquarium behind the bar. Most importantly, however, the chairs had to be
comfy. Special ones were ordered from Italy with thick padding and
luxurious soft leather.

“If
I am on my feet all day long, I want to sit in a nice, comfortable
chair,” Patrick said. “The décor had to be No. 1 to [attract] loyal
customers.”

The couple
have been long considered culinary leaders in the community and know
well the importance of fostering faithful patrons.

For more than a decade, they owned and operated the casual and successful Tropical Cafe located just a few miles from Cafe Icon.

“I have [a] fire [to succeed]. I want to be iconic for what we do. That’s how we came up with the name,” Patrick said.

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