Though Lasamee Xiong and her husband Thoa have owned restaurants in Minnesota, Michigan, and Oklahoma, their native land will always be Thailand, according to Tulsa World. With their son Saya at the kitchen's helm, they continue to serve up their homeland's cuisine in the quaint 30-person dining room at Thai Garden. Although Thai fare is the primary focus, the 30-item menu also includes Vietnamese and Chinese selections—many accentuated by spices and herbs directly from Thailand.
To the soft rhythms of Southeast Asian music, green and maroon laminate tables populate with steaming soups, traditional pad thai, and chicken and beef in sweet curry and sichuan sauces. Though fork and knife are the primary utensils at Thai Garden, chopsticks are also available upon request.
Te Kei?s takes its name from the Chinese words for special guest, reflecting the restaurant?s efforts to make guests feel at home. Inside the dining room, situated in a building marked by an angular stone tower and a vine-draped terrace, guests lounge in red upholstered booths as they tweezer their chopsticks around sushi medleys of yellowfin tuna, tempura shrimp, and eel. Classic Asian dishes such as general tso?s chicken and mongolian beef also grace the menu, along with new menu items, such as a burger perfected in August of 2012 after the chef spent years selflessly taste-testing local varietals.
The restaurant?s lengthy drink list offers more than two dozen red and white wines to pair with entrees, as well as plum wine and Asian beers such as Asahi and Sapporo. A gluten-free menu accommodates dietary restrictions with rice bowls, sushi, and salads. While patrons savor sweet mustard sauces and pan-blackened chilis, they can admire the dining room?s ornately carved wooden paneling or the decorative vases tucked in stone alcoves.
"Well, it started as solely a wine bar," Chris explains, the sound of plates chattering together in the background. "Customers were just begging for food. I guess we were forced into the restaurant business in the best kind of way." The menu, which owners Zach and Chris Collins have taken to calling Americana-fusion, is the brainchild of chef Nate Creekmore, who gallantly fuses the dishes of his rural upbringing with hints of French, Italian, and German cuisine. As pork chops and fish sputter warmly against a grill, he stirs delicate sauces crafted from lemons, capers, and butter or vanilla beans and saffron. "We have customers come in from across the pond, say this is the best fish and chips they've had anywhere, ever," says Chris of the Guinness-battered Alaskan cod that emerge from the fryer.
The eatery’s roots as a wine bar shine through in a selection of more than 120 bottled elixirs. To house 50 wines available by the glass and keep the spry sommelier from ever aging, Cork employs a behemoth Enomatic wine–storage system imported from Florence, Italy. "It's the big guy,” says Chris. “It presses the wine with food-grade nitrogen, giving it enough pressure to pour it into your glass, keeping the wine prime for up to three weeks." Murals painted by a local artist match the rustic décor––stacked-stone walls, granite counter tops, and bartenders carved from driftwood by friendly sheriffs. It's bucolic touches such as these that helped earn Cork a glowing review in the Tulsa World newspaper.
Cuisine Type: Authentic Chinese food
Number of Tables: 50+
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Shredded Pork and Kung Pao Chicken
Alcohol: Beer and wine only
Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes
Authenticity is top priority at China Garden, where diners flock toward the shredded pork and sweet 'n' spicy eggplant. The chefs lean heavily on Szechuan traditions, stirring spicy pork, pickled cabbage, and fried potatoes with soft tofu and cumin-laden beef. Their dedication to authenticity doesn't stop them from preparing Americanized dishes. Folks can expect to find plenty of favorites, including crab rangoon and chicken-fried rice.
A few red lanterns hang from the ceiling, but besides that, the décor at Mandarin Taste is pretty sparse. It’s just as well, because here, the food steals the show. Culled from the northern region of China, the menu includes dishes such plates of bright red salt and pepper shrimp, intricately latticed fried snowflake dumplings, and vibrant green spinach egg dumplings. Black mushrooms and braised pork ribs simmer in soups bursting with noodles, that, like a successful DJ set, are made from scratch.