Smoke [Restaurant Review]

Standard

Cue jazz music. A hint of blues.
Paint the walls with cozy brick. Decorate them with local artwork.
Spot the restaurant with sleek wood tables, black cloth napkins, and leather enclosed menus.
Sophisticated, suave, and smoky.

All of this can be found at SMOKE., a restaurant located on Cherry Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A relatively new establishment, this restaurant has made itself popular with people looking for good food and a place to kick back and smoke a cigar. Wait, what? Oh yeah, I can’t neglect to mention the enclosed cigar room popular with those looking to snack on elaborate appetizers or sip from a variety of adult beverages while smoking a cigar. This addition within the restaurant almost gives the place a 1920’s feel.

If you’re not a fan of smoking, you can still experience smokiness through tasting any of the delicious offerings of the place. Local food and seasonal vegetables are utilized in dishes to optimize taste and just to be neighborhood-friendly. All of the meat is prepared specially so that it infused with a noteworthy smoky flavor that enhances each bite. How do I know this? We went for $5 burger night on Monday and I can say that I’ve never tasted a burger quite like it in my time. Rich, smoky flavors flood your mouth with each taste. Even the bed of lettuce under my burger took on the grill-fresh taste of the burger because it was so pungent. Delicious. And I haven’t even started describing my local, seasonal hot-off-the-grill okra that replaced the standard serving of fries. It made me want to rush home and put my own slew of okra on the grill. Subtly charred, the okra packed a flavor punch that I didn’t think it capable of.

My dad, brother and I all scooped up a deal with the $5 burgers (a deal that’s so popular you need to make reservations on Mondays to get a table), while my mom dined on the wood grilled salmon which was served over a bed of vegetables. She was sweet enough to slice a piece of the fish for me to try and I savored every morsel. The flavors that only such an innovative and well-executed style of cooking the meat could bring were phenomenal and transformed the meal from “just another salmon fillet” to a dinner I’d consider dropping by SMOKE. specifically to indulge in.

We all lingered over our meals, raving over the flavors of the burgers and the thinness of the shoestring fries. And my brother loved his burger so much that he ordered another one. Thankfully, the waiter was completely understanding and said it happens all the time. If that doesn’t tell you how good the burgers are, I don’t know what would.

While my brother dined on his second round of dinner, my dad asked to see a dessert menu. Expecting another classic, black leather-bound menu to come out, I was surprised to see the use of an iPad to show us drool-worthy pictures of each dessert they had available that night. Banana-foster inspired bread pudding, creme brulee, flourless chocolate cake, and finally the clincher: peanut butter and chocolate torte. My dad ordered one of those and we all took a bite. Surprisingly light and fluffy, the torte packed less of a peanut-butter punch than I expected, but it was still good. The plating was exceptional, with the torte resting among caramel and chocolate dots swirled onto the plate that were perfect for dipping. As my brother explains, the dessert was like an “oversized Reese’s that was a lot more fluffy”.

I would highly recommend SMOKE. It’s a restaurant backed by chefs who have extensive culinary expertise, flavorful imaginations, and a penchant for local ingredients that would please any crowd. Whether stopping by for a drink, a sampling of appetizers, a cigar with friends, or a $5 burger, there is so much versatility in the menu that nearly everyone would be happy to dine on the fare. From fried green tomatoes to grilled romaine, to oysters grilled in bacon-tabasco butter for appetizers, to grilled scallops, potato gnocchi, or a classic steak for a main course, this restaurant is innovative and comfortable at the same time. The prices are on the higher end for most entrees, but if you live like a local and make reservations for a Monday night special, you’ll receive the same incredible service, food, and atmosphere for a fraction of the price. Obviously, this just means you’ll be able to indulge in more of the desserts at the conclusion of the meal!

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