Sunlight filters through the thick leaves of whispering pine tress, illuminating a 20-acre clearing of vineyards, lily ponds, and lush gardens. This is the site of Whispering Pines Restaurant and Lounge, whose fairytale backdrop and upscale French fare has won the veneration of Discover Oklahoma. Guests who find their way onto its grounds are greeted by a towering 1900s-style mansion adorned in ivy and surrounded by a wrap-around porch. Inside, white-clothed tables scatter across deep-red carpets amid hanging artwork and a roaring fireplace.
Owners and head chefs Chinda and Rany Kchao await to serve guests, drawing on years of fine-dining and French-continental culinary experience. The Kchaos and their family bring forth plates of upscale French fare and decadent steaks, punctuating each course with a house-made, palate-cleansing sorbet instead of a palate-cleansing spray from the garden hose. After dinner, guests of the inn climb the grand staircase to the main-house suites or meander across the grounds to independent cottages, where whirlpools and baskets of treats await them. In the morning, servers deliver freshly prepared breakfasts to each room.
The chefs at Jamil's Steakhouse grill up hearty steaks and seafood dishes that fuse flavors from the Middle East and North Africa. A Lebanese steak house at its core, the eatery hands visitors a menu of tabbouleh salad, hummus, and main-course selections such as the Hail Caesar burger, an 8-ounce Angus steak burger topped with cheddar, Caesar salad, and tomato. There's also hickory-smoked brisket, chicken fried steak, and hickory-smoked ribs, as well as beef kebabs imbued with flavors more robust than a chocolate statue of Teddy Roosevelt. Not to be outdone, the seafood menu proffers selections such as fried catfish, Norwegian grilled salmon, and Australian coldwater lobster tail.
Beyond Opus Prime Steakhouse's arched brick entrance lies an alternate reality where surf 'n' turf have settled their differences and appear in concord on plates. Red-hot grills sear Chicago Stockyards prime beef steaks and cold water lobster tails that appear together and separate, a feat Abbott and Costello could never quite achieve. The menu that gives the red-hot grills their instructions also presents cocktails and beer, while cataloging nearly 1,000 wines from across the world. A sleek marble bar illuminated by blue lights and high-backed seating capped by elegant semitranslucent glass panes help conjure the steak house's upscale atmosphere.
Boulevard Steakhouse doesn't think that beef should be too fancy. The kitchen decorates its custom-aged, hand-cut USDA Prime steaks in nothing but salt, pepper, and butter, preferring to let the fillets take the flavor spotlight. Some arrive completely free of accoutrements, such as the blackened bone-in rib eye. Others have a few costars on the plate: fillet tips come with mushrooms and garlic mashed potatoes, whereas beef medallions pair with blue crab.
Regardless of the presentation, each of the entrees is sophisticated in its simplicity—an ethos that applies to the entire restaurant. The dining area gives off a rustic vibe with wood ceilings and deep red wooden accents, which match several of the wines on a sprawling list. Set against exposed brick, the martini lounge is just as warm and antiquated. Here, bartenders craft classic cocktails from gimlets to Manhattans, as well as seasonal offerings such as The Great Pumpkin, a much better autumnal brew than eggnog or The Okay Pumpkin. Visitors on some weekend nights can sip their drinks as live music fills the space.
One of Lawton’s only fine dining establishments, Red River Southwestern Chophouse keeps its menu sizzling with top-quality steaks and Southwestern delicacies. Kick-off the feast with an edible drum roll of New Orleans crab balls ($12.99), boursin cheese jalapeños ($7.99), or a mountain of Maryland crab cake ($13.99) before diving into house specialties such as the chilean seabass floating atop a creamy, saucy sea of lobster risotto ($28.99). Otherwise, wine and dine simultaneously with the venezuelan brisket cooked in a red-wine marinade and served over potatoes mashed in-house by a squadron of well-trained spud masseuses ($15.99). Red River's steak specialists also makes more cuts than a blind samurai, curing carnivorous cravings of every size with the lean 8-ounce top sirloin ($14.99), the hefty 16-ounce prime cowboy rib eye ($28.99), and all seasoned slabs in between. Regardless of their surf or turf allegiances, diners can unite over sides such as fried okra, creamed spinach, and wild mushrooms (all $7.99). To make sure everyone gets a taste of every dish, Red River serves its succulent shareables family-style, which means each plate comes with a buzzer in case a feud breaks out over what 100 people consider a chore that kids hate to do.
Ron Baber has expanded his eponymous franchise from a single 10-seat stand to a 20-strong chain of burger joints by tapping into his greasy-spoon ethic and passion for delicious hamburgers. Thanks to his keen attention to detail, which includes topping the still-grilling patties with buns to soak up beefy juices, Ron has earned a recurring spot on Urban Tulsa Weekly's The Absolute Best of Tulsa list and a loyal following. His burgers come in 1/5-pound, 1/3-pound, and 2/3-pound sizes, and showcase such savory toppings as Owens hot sausage, jalapeño peppers, and the eatery’s signature chili.
At Jazmo'z Bourbon Street Café, the smooth stylings of jazz artists and soulful melodies of blues musicians mingle in the air with the aroma of spiced Cajun and creole seafood. The scents waft from bowls brimming with shrimp gumbo and platters heavy with crayfish étouffée, charbroiled oysters, and blackened catfish. The kitchen grill sizzles rib-eye steaks and Louis Armstrong burgers, whose blackened patties are topped with andouille sausage. Adventurous eaters can even munch on fried alligator bites as they listen to the nightly live performers and pretend they’re in New Orleans, where shrimp is recognized as the local currency. At the Oklahoma location, diners can also relax at outdoor tables perched right on the river canal.