#80 - Chopsticks - Tulsa OK

About a month ago was Shannon and Erin's baby shower in Tulsa.  I can't remember exactly when I met Shannon, but it was probably about 6 years ago, and we've become great friends.  He played football at OSU in the early 90's, does quite a bit of our promotional giveaways, and has a great tailgate just steps from my office on gamedays.  He and Erin got married about a year ago, and any day now they'll be welcoming their daughter Hailey into the world. 

I don't go to Tulsa nearly as often as I would like, because it's about 90 minutes to the heart of Tulsa...not terrible, but about 30 minutes more than it takes me to get to Edmond. and the turnpike to Tulsa costs about $3 each way.  And they have all the same shopping.  So usually Edmond/N OKC wins out.  But it worked out that there were no basketball games that weekend, so I took the opportunity to go early Saturday and spend the night.  It was an evening shower, and honestly I'd never heard of that before.  And it was a couples shower, which seems to be becoming the "in" thing these days.  It was kind of funny because all the men gravitated towards the patio (where the beer cooler was) and the kitchen, while the women were more in the living room.  Those junior high dance days never really end do they.

I got to Tulsa in time for lunch, and decided to stop at Chopsticks Restaurant.   It had received good reviews on the few sites I checked, so I decided to give it a try.  It's located in a strip mall, at 61st and Sheridan.  The restaurant wasn't too busy when I arrived, so I was able to pick my own table.  And then came the menu.  Way too many pages...I know I've said it before, but I don't do well with that.  What I did find very interesting is that there's a whole section of Chinese & Korean special dishes.  Not only that, but next to the American name is the name translated into Chinese/Korean.  I thought about it for a minute, but wasn't sure I wanted to be quite that adventurous on the first trip.  I really like when ethnic restaurants cater directly to their native customers.  That's how you know they're doing it right.   A family came in and sat in the booth in front of me while I was waiting.  They spoke English to the hostess, but then the chef came out and spoke to them in their native language.  I have no clue what they were saying, but it sounded like a great conversation. 

The first thing my server brought out is what looked like really big crispy noodles, along with a dipping sauce.  And I'm talking huge...not the kind they bring with your soup

I was starving so I dug right in.  They weren't scalding hot, but you could tell they were still pretty freshly made.  Great crunch, great flavor, and the sauce was really good.

Normally I go with wonton soup at Asian restaurants.  I love wontons, and the broth is so flavorful.  About 3 years ago I tried egg drop soup for the first time, and that became my second choice.  I had never had hot & sour soup before, so in the spirit of adventure--and because wonton soup wasn't an option with the lunch specials--I went with the hot & sour. 

My camera wasn't cooperating so I wasn't able to get a picture.  Man was it hot!!  Heat hot, spice hot, take your pick.  They weren't kidding with the "hot".  I really wasn't expecting that, so the first sip absolutely scalded my tongue and the roof of my mouth.  The soup was okay, but I'm sticking with wonton and egg drop from now on.  Well, maybe I'll try it one more time somewhere else to make sure the heat wasn't the reason I didn't like it that much.

For my entrée I went with the hot garlic beef.  One of the reviews I'd read said it was one of the best things on the menu.  Since my camera wasn't cooperating I went to another website and found a picture of the same dish with shrimp.

This dish was wonderful!  The lunch portion was just the right size, and enough food to fill me up.  The beef was very tender, the veggies were cooked tender-crisp, and there was plenty of the brown sauce.  It was spicier than I expected, which wasn't a good combination after the spice of the soup.  But the rice definitely helped tone it down.  I will say I was disappointed that the restaurant doesn't offer brown rice, and that was absolutely the only down side of the entire experience.  Almost every Asian restaurant does these days. 

The best part of my meal?  When I asked for the check, a very nice gentleman at the table behind me paid for my lunch!  I was hesitant to accept his offer, but he wouldn't take no for an answer.  When I went to thank him, he just asked that I do the same for someone else.  That completely made my day.

Will I go back? Definitely!  The service was great, the food was delicious, and next time I'm going to be more adventurous and try one of the more authentic dishes...maybe.