As the proud, busy parents of three young boys, Kang and Mary Nhin know that eating dinner as a family can be a challenge. So they created Nhinja Sushi and Wok, a casual, kid-friendly setting where the service is fast and the menu includes healthy options. As children don a Nhinja mask cutout and sketch the daily Dow Jones chart on a coloring sheet, families dig into spicy tuna rolls or stir-fried Hunan Garden shrimp. The food blog Dishin & Dishes lauded the restaurant for offering the option to order sushi and entrees made with brown rice.
The family-centric vibe even extends to the restaurant's orange walls, which are decorated with artwork of the owners' children. Careful not to neglect fully grown eyeballs, they have also filled the space with futuristic white chairs, tables, and booths accentuated by the pops of bright pink, turquoise, purple, and lime green.
"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.
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.
LuSh Berries specializes in a smorgasbord of creamy frozen yogurt treats and fresh, delicious crêpes to delight dessert-friendly palates. A wide variety of constantly changing flavors can be Slip N' Slided across the taste buds, including chocolate, watermelon, pineapple, lemon raspberry, and lychee. The rich, tart flavors of LuSh Berries’ probiotic fro-yos ($0.39/oz.) can be self-served in 16 oz. or 24 oz. sizes, then garnished with a selection of more than 40 different toppings, ranging from nature's candy (strawberry, blueberry, and banana) to mad scientist's candy (caramel, Cap'n Crunch cereal, Butterfingers, and sprinkles). If cold and sweet things remind you of the beautiful snow woman who left you last spring, stick to warm and equally decadent dessert crêpes such as the LuSh Berry Heaven crêpe ($5.50) and the cheesecake crêpe ($5.75). Lunchtime office escapees can also order savory entree crêpes (served with chips) such as the club crêpe ($7.85), which comes with bacon, ham, smoked turkey, and American cheese, or transform it into the smokin’ strip crêpe ($6.75), which subtracts the ham and exchanges the American cheese for a slice of something that doesn’t conjure up images of Uncle Sam diving into a butter churn.
The chefs at Kang’s Asian Bistro work to bring new things to diners, drawing upon ingredients such as masago, a type of roe, as well as tempura flakes and grass-hued dollops of wasabi. To further this effort, the eatery’s Nyotaimori Nights, featured on News 9, include rolls served atop a scantily clad model.
A full-wall scrim printed with a photorealistic cityscape scene casts curlicues of neon across noodle bowls that sit on tables gleaming with the same deep crimson as a cardinal discovering it is not the state bird. Behind a black lacquered bar, ranks of liquor and wine bottles glow in silhouette before backlighting. Waiters arrive at tables, arms stacked with chicken and beef in sauces forged from lemongrass, thai basil, and garlic. They also serve sushi rolls filled with morsels of shrimp, crab, and tuna.
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.