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SMOKE. Woodfire Grill

Tulsa (Cherry Street)

$$ (Average entree $11-$15)
1542 E. 15th St.
Tulsa (Cherry Street)

The bricked interior and comfy little booths make it a fantastically romantic spot at night and on the weekend. Crispy quail legs, tempura fried cauliflower, crab stuffed fried green tomato are all great ways to get your meal started. For dinner? They serve all the staples of a great meal including rib-eye, beef tenderloin and New York strip as well as duck confit, shrimp and grits, and pickle-brined pork brisket. Brunch it up with chicken and waffles served with spicy butter, alongside a mimosa, bloody mary, or more creative morning-after drinks such as St. Luke’s Cure (vodka, St. Germaine, grapefruit juice, sparkling grapefruit soda) or Antoinette’s Remedy (Solerno blood orange liqueur, St. Germaine, lemon, cranberry,champagne). Don’t overlook the Black Angus burger. A grounded blend of rib-eye, tenderloin and brisket, is expertly seasoned and comes paired with addictive fries for burger nirvana. The whiskey and cigar lounge makes SMOKE. a restaurant like none other in Tulsa.

September 2016

Constant Classic

Looking for tasty, creative dishes prepared on a wood-fire grill and served by a waitstaff dedicated to excellence? Since launching in December 2010, SMOKE. on Cherry Street has literally put a period on the statement of where to go for delicious dining. It’s a restaurant so dedicated to serving up the best in grilled meats and all things smoky and wonderful, you will finding yourself wishing you could eat there every day.

Precision cooking, wood-fire grill magic, elegantly laid-back ambiance and stellar service all combine to make you feel like you’ve been on a mini-vacation during meal time at SMOKE. on Cherry Street.

Among the many ways that SMOKE. stands out in the midst of Tulsa’s vibrant restaurant scene is its executive chef, Erik Reynolds, whose passion for cooking is rooted in family. As a boy, Reynolds would visit his grandparents in New England during the summers, where he watched his grandmother create inventive meals to make a young man’s mind follow flights of fancy. It’s hard to imagine anyone turning down a chance to master the kitchen with a grandmother who served up “cannibal sandwiches” — beef tartar on white bread with sweet butter and black pepper.

As an adult, Reynolds earned a degree in restaurant management, then studied under renowned Sicilian chef Vincent Giglia before moving on to 20 years of managing kitchens of his own in Texas, Colorado, and other locales throughout the western United States. What he brings to SMOKE. on Cherry Street is a love for elevated comfort foods, mixed with a commitment to sharing the best in fresh, local ingredients.

SMOKE.’s menu is an experience unto itself, and to get a sense of it, you really have to eat there. And do it often, because the menu evolves from season to season, says Reynolds. “We change our menu seasonally by doing a spring/summer menu and a fall/winter menu, leaning toward a Southern comfort feel with elevated preparations and presentations.” Seasonal menu choices abound at SMOKE., including specialties like the duck comfit, served with white beans, shaved Brussels sprouts, smoked pork belly and blueberry gastrique; the superb cornmeal fried catfish with pimento cheese grits; and lamb bolognaise served over pasta with Parmesan cheese.

Even SMOKE.’s choice of wood is carefully crafted to provide customers with an excellent selection of meats and seafood, seared over the grill and infused with smoky flavor. “We cook all of our proteins over a live wood-fired grill using oak or pecan wood,” Reynolds explains. Their steak specialties, all favorites of customers, include an 8-ounce beef tenderloin, an 18-ounce rib-eye and 16-ounce New York strip, all served alongside smoked garlic mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and homemade sauces designed to make the mouth water.

Their wood-grilled items range from the expected, such as salmon sided with grilled cauliflower or the half chicken topped with herb-chicken jus, to more inventive creations like pickle brined pork biscuit, barbecued quail or the cauliflower steak for the vegetarian-minded. They also offer a variety of salads, sandwiches and appetizers that will satisfy the choosiest of palates and wallets, including a $9 blue plate lunch special that regulars cannot get enough of.

And don’t neglect their drinks menu, featuring classics like the Old Fashioned with Maker’s Mark, as well as unique in-house cocktails such as the Gloria (pineapple and vanilla bean infused vodka, simple syrup, lemon and champagne).

The dishes are all made from scratch in Reynolds’ kitchen. “SMOKE. makes everything in-house, from our bacon to our ketchup,” he says. “We try and buy local when it is possible, buying produce from some local farms and producers.”

Their popular brunch on weekends (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) is a wonder of Southern comfort dishes, including crab cakes with fried green tomatoes, or “biscuits and gravy that just may change your life,” as Reynolds puts it.

Another way that SMOKE. stands out is the hermetically sealed cigar lounge located at the back of the restaurant. Diners can eat in a smoke-free environment, while cigar aficionados can go to the lounge where a large humidor with a selection of about 25 fine cigars awaits them. “The cigar lounge has a separate ventilation system that recirculates fresh air every eight minutes,” explains Reynolds. “It is a great room to enjoy an after-dinner drink and cigar, or just to hang out and have appetizers and a cocktail.”


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