#141 - Stella Modern Italian, Oklahoma City, OK

Today is Easter Sunday.  Although I was raised Catholic and went to church every Sunday as a kid, I rarely go now.  There's honestly not really any reason that I don't.  But I decided to try and change that, beginning today.  There's a Catholic church here Stillwater, but I also wanted to do Sunday brunch someplace fun.  And Brooklyn's is the only place in town that has it, and I've eaten there a bunch of times.  I went online, researched Catholic churches in OKC, and found a really pretty one not far from downtown.  And set about making a reservation for brunch.  A couple places had absolutely nothing available all day.  Not a big surprise, considering Easter is the 2nd biggest eating out day after Mother's Day.  I was going to an early mass so I could eat and get back and go to baseball.  Stella Modern Cuisine came to the rescue with a reservation not too long after mass ended. 

The church I went to was St. Francis of Assisi, about 3 miles away.  I got to the parking lot about 30 minutes early and originally was just going to read for a while until closer to start time, but changed my mind when I saw so many cars pulling in.  Smart move, as it was jam packed.  Literally.  At least 50 people had to stand up in the back. 

I got to Stella about 10AM, and couldn't figure out why nobody was in the parking lot.  It's because they don't open until 10:30.  Originally my plan had been to go by myself, since I had gone to church by myself and knew most of my friends had plans with family.  But last night a group of us had dinner at AJ's house, and Angi offered to come with me.  Of course I'm not going to turn down a brunch date! We tried to go somewhere else for a mimosa while we waited for them to open, but nowhere else was open or had them.  So we just waited in the car for the doors to open.

Stella is in Midtown, across the street from the Ambassador Hotel.  I'd been wanting to try it for some time, but just hadn't made it there.  It's a very cool building.  The entry foyer is round, with the hostess stand and a waiting area.  You can sit at the bar, or at a long row of tables behind.  One side of the tables are chairs, and the other is a long red couch.  I love the big pop of color.  There's a dining area just beyond the bar, and then 2 more main dining areas to the left of the bar area.  We were seated at a table by the window.  There's lots of windows all throughout, providing a ton of natural light.  They make pizzas in a brick oven, which you can watch if you sit at the bar.  One of the features of Sunday brunch is a bloody Mary bar.  I don't do bloody Mary's, but it looked really good.  They had a ton of different things to add to them.  If I drank bloody Mary's I would have been very happy.

Our server brought us out these little carrot cake muffins.

Warm and so delicious.  I'm sure they have to make them all day long, and I love that they're served warm.  It's a good thing they were small, so I didn't feel bad about eating 2 of them.  But that was enough.

We started with a carafe of mimosa, made with Prosecco.  I really like Prosecco, more than regular champagne.  It's lighter, and very refreshing.

I mean it's brunch, so mimosas are required.  And we got our fill of calcium from the OJ.  I love the glasses.  They're such a unique shape.  And I really like the plates.  Very modern and clean lines.

We decided to try the bruschetta

peppered ricotta, leek & salami / roma tomatoes, evoo & basil / bacon & onion jam
I honestly didn't even notice that you get 3 types until she brought the plate to the table.  Angi doesn't eat tomatoes so I ate both pieces of the traditional ones.  Didn't need to, but the bread was so good and the tomatoes so fresh.  The ricotta was fantastic.  So light and airy, and really good flavor.  I'm not usually a fan of salami, but this one was really good.  The onion jam & bacon was excellent.

We asked the server for recommendations, and she raved about the lemon ricotta pancakes.  I had thought about pizza, but then I realized I was planning to make it for dinner.  But the way she raved about the ribeye pizza, I knew I couldn't pass it up.  We decided to get both and split them. 

lemon ricotta pancakes with fresh fruit, bacon & warm maple syrup 

sliced rib-eye, mushroom, balsamic onion, garlic oil, agrodolce, fontina, gorgonzola 
Wow, this was all so delicious.  The pancakes were light and fluffy from the ricotta.  Sometimes recipes go overboard with lemon and you feel like you're sucking on one.  But the lemon flavor was just enough to add brightness to the dish.  Have to admit I was very happy Angi didn't eat the bacon, so I was able to eat it myself.  We didn't get fresh fruit, but we got pear jam with the maple syrup, and it was really delicious on the pancakes.  It was cold, but a great contrast to the warm pancakes and the warm syrup.

The pizza was excellent.  I mean who can turn down ribeye, onions and cheese?  Our server added hand-shaved parmesan cheese.  So much better than anything in a bottle.  The ribeye was rare, which I would normally never eat that way, but it was thinly sliced and seasoned really well.  The whole thing was such a fantastic mix of flavors.

Our server asked if we wanted dessert, but we were both full so we passed. 

Will I go back?  No question.  The food was excellent, the service was great, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere.  They've won the Diner's Choice 2 years in a row, and I can see why.  And there's lots of great things on the menu that I want to try.  Oh, and they partner with Keep it Local, so I got a discount!