This is where I hold forth on the state of restaurants (or lack thereof) in my city (which I love dearly but...). I felt compelled to share because of a dinner I had last night. It was a Swordfish Piccata...I have been told it is sublime, the stuff that legends are made of. Well, not in my fairy tale! It was a thinly sliced but very large piece of breaded and fried fish swimming in a gallon of sauce that had never seen a caper and not too much lemon over a giant bed of spaghetti that was not al dente and definitely was not housemade and...I was in what we call an Italian restaurant.
In Tulsa, we have a number of talented chefs who either own restaurants or are Executive Chefs. There is one, in particular, who shall remain nameless for fear of hurting anyone's feelings. I have known this fellow for over 10 years and he has cooked all over the world. He probably has the finest, most refined palate of anyone I know. He is amazingly talented and is a partner in what is basically a sports bar where he cooks seven days a week. We have had many conversations about cooking in Tulsa. I would love for Tulsa to be a "food" town. I would love it to be among those hidden treasures of the food world reviewed and touted as some place to visit if you're off on a quest for the next greatest trend or ingredient. But, as he and I have discussed many times...ain't happenin' here. He totally "gets" what Tulsans like to eat and it has nothing to do with any of the latest food trends or any of the wonderous dishes that I know he can create. Yes, there are some of us who lament the lack of sophistication and yearn for the foods we travel the world for and we hold out hope that one among us will be successful in staying alive long enough to cook that inspirational food for this wonderful city.
But if you're going to stay and be successful in the food business in Tulsa...take note because here is what Tulsans like and you better give it to them: burgers and fries, fried fries and more fries, and chicken wings and barbecue; they like TexMex flavors with lots and lots of cheese, they like heavy Italian-like red sauce over mounds and mounds of pasta, they want in your face bar food and you better give them lots and lots of it! Forget nuances and delicate flavors such as the truth behind a real Italian involtini, the shadings of spice expressed in a true mole, or the fragrance of a great Spanish olive oil.
Tulsa is a young, beautiful city...it is a pleasure to live here. It has been chosen as one of the places to live...the city is developing a young, creative professional population and I can only hope that they will start looking for something different to eat! I will be poised and ready...Bring it on!!