Brookside eatery breathes new life into a popular space.
Don Jones inherited one of the best patios in Tulsa when he bought Café Ole in 2013. And he did it again when he bought Sonoma just a few months ago.
In February, Sonoma became ol’Vine, and one of the busiest patios in Brookside was open once again.
Outdoor seating, on the patio facing all the action in Brookside, and courtyard seating, offering quiet and shade in the summer heat, are expected of the location. But what about the food? Jones had to decide if he would keep the California-style cuisine of Sonoma or go another path.
Jones, who has been in the restaurant business in Tulsa for decades, isn’t one for labels. So the first thing he did was ask friends what “California style” meant to them. The No. 1 answer he heard was “fresh.”
“I’m a country boy, raised on a farm, so I’m familiar with fresh — from a necessity standpoint,” Jones says.
For the purposes of ol’Vine, fresh means sourcing the best ingredients possible.
Jones and his chefs tasted and discussed each item on the menu, then made variations of those dishes and tasted and evaluated again. From all that tasting came a menu with customer favorites and updates from Sonoma, to new dishes with an emphasis on freshness and flavor.
Jones took a fryer out of the kitchen since there’s not a lot of need for one in a menu with an emphasis on “fresh.” In its place, he added a wood-burning charbroiler for grilled meats and fish.
We visited ol’Vine on a weekday. Most tables were full with couples and families, and every seat at the bar was taken. The bar is slightly set apart from the restaurant, giving it its own modern, sophisticated vibe.
Pan-seared Crab Cakes ($16) were shared with the table. The generous portion was perfect for our party of five. A nice green salad with vinaigrette was served alongside, which was a good diversion from the richness of the crab cakes.
The wood-grilled entrees, including salmon ($23) and a prime Angus filet ($32) are two stars of the menu. Diners choose two among several great side dishes to pair with these entrees. The creamy risotto, dotted with peas, was a favorite at our table. We also enjoyed the sautéed mushrooms.
Some favorite dishes from Sonoma have remained on the menu. The Citrus and Garlic Chicken ($18) remains as good or better than ever. The garlic-butter sauce in this dish is delicious with the spinach and new potatoes.
Most popular on the menu so far are two new items: Castiron Redfish ($19) served with cheese grits, and the shrimp and grits ($18).
All of ol’Vine’s desserts are made in-house, and we especially liked the Ooey Gooey Blueberry Butter Cake ($7). Served in a shallow ramekin, the cake combines the richness of a pound cake with the creaminess of a cheesecake. Full of blueberries, this was a favorite among all. Also popular are carrot cake and a rich chocolate brownie.
Jones says weekend brunch has been as busy as Friday and Saturday nights. Standouts on the brunch menu include wings and waffles, a deep-dish quiche and French toast stuffed with mascarpone and berries.
Ol’Vine also has house-made granola, smoothies and tangy Bloody Marys.
Jones says he’s enjoying the mix of crowds at ol’Vine and watching tables of families and friends gather for meals.
“Magic happens over food,” he says. “It’s where you build relationships.”
3523 S. Peoria Ave. | 918-747-9463
11 a.m.-9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday; 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday; and 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday.