Food for the Soul
Sentimental and satisfying, comfort food is the perfect indulgence for a cold winter day in Tulsa.
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My husband, Tate, and I went to London for part of our honeymoon. That city has some of the best ethnic food in the world. Now when I eat Indian food, I am always transported back to that week. Many of you are sure to have memories of overseas travels, as well. Luckily, Tulsa has some delicious restaurants that specialize in cuisines from across the globe — think Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican and Indian, just for starters.
Some nights, only takeout will suffice. My go-to comfort dish is India Palace’s Chicken Tikka Masala ($11.95), boneless chicken, marinated in spices and yogurt, baked in the tandoor oven and simmered in a spiced, creamy masala sauce. I enjoy it paired with garlic naan — leavened bread stuffed with garlic and baked in the tandoor ($2.50) — perfect for mopping up any extra sauce.
6963 S. Lewis Ave., 918-492-8040, www.theindiapalacetulsa.com
Pho Da Cao
The family-owned Pho Da Cao dishes up authentic Vietnamese cuisine made from recipes passed down from many generations, including the popular and satisfying pho — bowls of light yet flavorful broth peppered with rice noodles and a choice of meat. I love it with round steak and beef meatballs ($4.95-$8.95). The restaurant also serves a delicious version of bun cha gio, rice vermicelli and green salad topped with sliced egg rolls, grilled meat, fresh veggies and chopped peanuts ($6.95-$7.95).
9066 E. 31st St., 918-270-2715
KEO, the cozy café on Brookside that recently added a south Tulsa location, specializes in the southeast Asian foods of Zahidah Hyman’s homeland. She is the chef and co-owns KEO with her husband, Bill. I always urge dining companions to order the Malaysian Rendang (slow-cooked beef and onion with yellow curry and coconut milk; $11) so I can steal a bite. I typically opt for the spicy Thai Green Curry or Tom Ka (chicken, lemongrass, tomatoes and mushrooms in a spicy coconut broth; $10).
3524 S. Peoria Ave., 918-794-8200; or 8921 S. Yale Ave., 918-794-0090; www.keorestaurant.com
El Rio Verde
The Wet Burrito ($6) at El Rio Verde has an enormous fan club to match its enormous size. The giant flour tortilla is packed with meat, beans, cheese and pico de gallo, and is served smothered in enchilada sauce and grated cheese with a dollop of sour cream and guacamole. Along with this specialty of the house, the menu is packed with traditional Mexican fare … no Tex-Mex here. Wash it down with a “real” Coke Classic in a glass bottle.
38 N. Trenton Ave., 918-592-2555
Bandeja Paisa (also known as Plato Montañera; $18) is a traditional and hearty Colombian dish served on a large platter. At Mi Tierra, which specializes in the cuisines of Peru, Venezuela and Colombia, the dish includes grilled steak, blood sausage, a generous piece of deep-fried pork belly, white rice, red beans, fried plantains and a fried egg.
6703 E. 81st St., 918-477-7155
Mi Cocina, the upscale chain that features a cuisine that is more Mexico City than Tex-Mex, offers quite a bit of both on the menu. I love the Tacos de Brisket — flour or corn tacos with slow-roasted shredded brisket, queso blanco, rice, salad greens and sliced avocado ($12.95). If you are brave, pair your meal with a Mambo Taxi — a fairly strong concoction of frozen margarita swirled with icy sangria ($8).
1342 E. 15th St., 918-599-8009, www.micocinarestaurants.com