South Tulsa just got a bright new lunch spot
Levain boasts a perfectly curated selection of breakfast and lunch dishes, soups and salads and a bakery case that’s hard to turn down.
Grilled cheese sandwich
If Tulsa were a walkable city, Levain is the kind of place you can imagine strolling to. It would be your favorite place to go for eggs Benedict on a lazy Saturday. It’s the place you would pop in to grab pastries for the office. Or your favorite place to go for lunch with friends.
And it is all of that — except instead of tucked into a busy city street, it’s right here in Tulsa. Levain opened in December near East 101st Street and South Yale Avenue, and has since been a beacon to south Tulsa foodies.
“We have heard a phrase quite a bit since opening Levain, ‘It’s just so nice to have something nice like this out here,’” Chef Trey Winkle says. “Knowing that so many people choose to operate in midtown or downtown is great, but most of our guests have to make a long drive to have a certain kind of experience not offered by a chain restaurant.”
The menu is perfectly curated with a selection of breakfast and lunch dishes, soups and salads and a bakery case that’s hard to turn down. Levain also serves prix fixe dinners on select nights.
Winkle’s focus is an ingredient-driven menu with changing flavors based on what’s available from farmers. Winkle and his wife, Christina, along with friend Angie Scott, own Levain.
We tried Levain for a weekday lunch where more people were ordering breakfast than lunch. And who could blame them? I saw a beautifully presented frittata ($11) with ham, gruyere, caramelized onion, chives and arugula. A nearby table shared a breakfast hash ($11) of sweet potatoes, chorizo, kale, asiago, cauliflower and eggs. They also shared a Dutch baby ($9), which is something between a pancake and a popover. Levain’s Dutch baby comes with a lemon whipped cream, cinnamon syrup, and a coconut and almond granola. It’s absolutely the next thing I’ll order on an upcoming visit.
But we came for lunch, and we stuck with lunch. I’m glad we did because Levain’s short rib sandwich ($12) is easily one of the best sandwiches in town. Slices of short rib cover a crusty baguette with blue cheese, caramelized onion and arugula. The surprise of this sandwich is the bright pink pickled red cabbage, which gives it a tartness from the pickling.
We also loved the chicken club ($12), which you might consider an upscale diner-style version. Here, the chicken had been nicely grilled and was served with arugula, house-made mayonnaise, tomato, thick-cut bacon and gruyere. Sandwiches are served with soup, a side salad or crisp French fries sprinkled with coarse salt. I try to sub fruit for fries when I can, but I wouldn’t recommend it here. These fries are worth the splurge.
Levain has a nice selection of soups and salads. It was nice to see panzanella salad ($9) on Levain’s menu. It’s one of my favorites but not a major player in Tulsa restaurants. Levain’s panzanella starts with sourdough bread tossed with spinach, white beans, red onions, tomatoes, crunchy pumpkin seeds and an herb vinaigrette.
It’s hard for me to resist a bakery case, so I picked up several pastries and cookies “for the kids.” The kids and I all approved of the Abuelita cookie, Levain’s version of a chocolate chip cookie, made with Mexican hot chocolate. The snickerdoodle was soft and puffy with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar.
Pastries are handmade each day and include chocolate-filled doughnuts, croissants and cinnamon rolls. The day we visited, the case was filled with Levain’s version of pop tarts. The delicate pastry had a chocolate-hazelnut filling, and a sweet sprinkle on the top.
Held sporadically, Levain’s prix fixe wine dinners are undoubtedly great, considering the detail put into breakfast and lunch.
“With dinner we have found that collaborating with winemakers, sommeliers and friends has been a real inspiration for the dishes and flavors we choose,” Winkle says. These multicourse dinners can accommodate just 24 diners, so reservations are a must. Diners sit in communal seating with wine served at each course. Menus are available online, so you have a sneak peek into what dinner will include.
10021 S. Yale Ave. | 918-518-6711
7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday
Find information on prix fixe dinners at levaintulsa.com.