Poblano Grill–Oklahoma City, OK

Poblano Grill
13593 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 755-8111
Poblano Grill

Poblano Grill


For me Poblano Grill is somewhat of an old school Mexican restaurant that caters to American tastes, but recently it has added dishes that make the menu much more interesting and that I think are more authentic. The “old school” dishes include ones covered with cheese where they would never be served this way in Mexico and other ways of preparing food that would probably be called Tex-Mex. The problem is that I thought the Tex-Mex food was much better in Texas, and while I do not demand that everything be authentic I do want it to be delicious.

So far what I have liked here have been street tacos and green enchiladas (chicken enchiladas with tomatillo sauce), along with a few of the side dishes and any salsas besides the one they automatically bring to the table. The green enchiladas and special salsas are not on the menu and have to be specially requested, but they are always available when you ask. This seems to be a common practice in Oklahoma City Mexican restaurants, and I think is mainly done because they want to make sure customers understand the degree of spiciness of these items before they order them.

Poblano Grill had other locations throughout the years before they settled on the single restaurant currently in operation. In this process has been a menu revamp and the inclusion of some very good non-menu items such as the green enchiladas. The other thing I like now is that you can downsize just about any meal by getting a smaller portion or by eliminating one or more of the side items.

Setups
The Queso was better than at most Mexican restaurants, but the chips were disappointing. I would definitely recommend ordering the spicy Salsa Caliente which is free. The Diablo Salsa is a little too spicy for me, but is also available on request.

Tacos

Street tacos

Street tacos with carnitas and chicken

Street Tacos are an example of the new menu items that add some authentic Mexican dishes to the selections. These are Mexican style tacos with soft tacos, onion and cilantro garnishes, and a choice of meats. The tacos are inexpensive and very good.

I have now had two different experiences with the Chicken Tacos. The chicken tacos are usually more flavorful than most, and I thought the shredded and seasoned meat was one of the best I had experienced in the city. I have also experienced it, though, when the chicken was dry.

The Carnitas Taco made with pork was the most impressive of the different varieties on several of my visits. For one thing, good carnitas are hard to find in restaurants (and this was one of the best). In addition, these were moist, while I find the ones at most restaurants to be dry.

The Shredded Beef Taco tasted like barbacoa, and I thought it was very good. I did not think it was exceptional as the tacos calvillo at Abel’s are, but I give the ones at Poblano Grill five stars because of the flavor and the quality.

Street tacos full order

Street tacos dinner with a choice of two sides

Street tacos come with two sauces meant to give more flavor and seasoning to the meal: a chipotle tomatillo and a roasted tomato sauce. However, after trying both, I ended up using neither on the tacos. Instead, I found the spicy salsa (salsa caliente) served on request with the chips at the beginning of the meal to be perfect with the tacos (there is also a diablo salsa available for those who like it even spicier).

Street tacos normally come with two sides, but they will serve just the tacos if you wish (at a reduced price).

Baja tacos

Baja fish tacos

The Baja Fish Tacos made with tilapia were very good, but were not comparable to the street tacos in providing a memorable experience. What I will say, though, is that I thought they were comparable to most other fish tacos I have had at good restaurants.

Enchiladas

Enchiladas with tomatillo sauce

Enchiladas with tomatillo sauce served with papas and refried beans

Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce are not on the menu, but I discovered them one time when I had a particularly helpful waiter, and I discovered on return visits that they are always available on request. I do not know if the flavor is really better than at the several other restaurants which also serve them (either from the menu or on request). What is obvious from the photo, though, is that they give you a lot of sauce, and this is a good thing. The sauce here and at other restaurants in OKC is not terribly spicy, and probably comes just short of the spiciness level of most green enchiladas served with Hatch or Anaheim green chiles. I find the tomatillo enchiladas to be quite flavorful, with a spice level that will not disappoint those who crave real chiles. (If you have ever had chipotle enchiladas, they are probably about twice the spice level of the tomatillo sauce).

Enchilada light order

Enchilada light order with calabazitas

Under the category “You Never Know Until You Ask” is the fact that you can also order a single enchilada with one side dish at a reduced price (and for me this many times fits my appetite).

Other Menu Items

Tortilla soup

Tortilla soup

The Tortilla Soup started out very good when I used to order it at the Poblano Grill at Rockwell and Hefner. The one pictured here, though, (served in 2016) seemed to be made from a different recipe. The tortilla strips were soggy and the broth had a different flavor, so possibly it was the same soup just not prepared very well. In any case, I have found better versions of tortilla soup both in OKC and elsewhere.

Side Dishes
Most of the side dishes have varied from visit to visit as to whether I would give them four or five stars. Probably the ones that come out the best over time are the corn and the steamed beans, but everything shown in the photos are side dishes I would order again.

Sopapilla

Sopapilla

Sopapilla

The Sopapilla comes with a sweet syrup that is somewhat disappointing compared to the New Mexico sopapillas served with honey. It is free, though, and makes a good ending to the meal.

Other Observations
They do not have traditional Mexican aguas frescas drinks, but beer is served.

The former Poblano Grill at Hefner and Rockwell gave me the opportunity to try many menu items, and most are things I tried once and then moved on. With the new menu which includes items such as street tacos, though, as well as the enchiladas with tomatillo sauce which are available upon request, I think there is now a much better selection of choices.


RATING: 22

Cuisine: Mexican
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Full bar

Most Recent Visit: May 30, 2017

Number of Visits: 8

Best Items: Street Tacos, Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 3

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Street Tacos (Chicken)
star 5 Street Tacos (Carnitas)
star 5 Street Tacos (Beef)
star 4 Baja Tacos
star 5 Enchiladas (Tomatillo Sauce)
star 4 Refried Beans
star 4 Papas
star 4 Calabazitas
star 5 Steamed Beans
star 3 Tortilla Soup
star 4 Spicy Salsa
star 3 Chips
star 4 Queso
star 4 Sopapilla

Beverly’s–Oklahoma City, OK

Beverly’s Pancake House
3315 Northwest Expressway
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 848-5050
Beverly's

Beverly’s Pancake House


Beverly’s is one of the longest continually operating restaurants in Oklahoma City, and in fact was one of my favorite restaurants when I was growing up. I think their fried chicken, pancakes, and other popular items served as my version of fast food–something that was a special treat but it was not so expensive that my dad would have to severely limit the number of times we went.

For many years Beverly’s was a chain, with the restaurant at Northwest Highway (before it became an “Expressway”) and Pennsylvania Avenue as the one with which I was most familiar. This was known as Beverly’s Chicken In The Rough, a restaurant that specialized in pancakes and fried chicken in the days before these two items were put together and served in the same meal. As a restaurant/diner/coffee shop that is now open 24 hours a day and may have been then as well, it tried to satisfy people’s appetites at different times of the day. There was actually a wide range of good items, and not just pancakes or fried chicken.

Sometime after 2000 I remember the restaurant on Northwest Expressway being the only one left and rumored to be closing, but it then moved to its present location with what I assume to be new owners. I was not a regular enough customer to say that the new restaurant is exactly the same as before, but I know that it has kept the same concept. Beverly’s is probably most popular at breakfast, but it offers what people would expect in a coffee shop.

Breakfast
I was able to try the Pancakes at the new Beverly’s, and I can report that they are still good. In fact, as one of the few dishes I can successfully prepare at home, the pancakes in restaurants are increasingly becoming a disappointment to me (mainly because of the cooking oil they use). I thought everything about the flavor of Beverly’s pancakes, including the oil, were good.

Holiday Meals

Thanksgiving dinner

Special Thanksgiving dinner

As a restaurant that is open 24 hours and open on holidays, I found out that it also has a special menu on certain holidays. This includes a special Thanksgiving meal which includes most of the items I used to find at the now-closed Luby’s Cafeteria. Compared to the majority of times I had Thanksgiving dinner at Luby’s, though, I found Beverly’s to be better.

I will start by reporting that on my visit in 2017 the Thanksgiving Dinner was $12.99 (I believe this did not include the drink or dessert). Everything on the plate was good, and the turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy were the items that I particularly thought were better than at Luby’s (they all tasted home made to me although I am not going to say they were exactly the same as if you cooked it yourself). The sweet potatoes, dressing, and pumpkin pie were on par with Luby’s, and are items I particularly liked at Luby’s as well as here. The green beans were good but I would say not special or memorable.

The main thing I can say about the Thanksgiving dinner is that they made a good effort, and I thought everything was good. The restaurant was busy when I went but not crowded, and we were served promptly.

Desserts

Pumpkin pie

Pumpkin pie

The Pumpkin Pie was pretty much the way I like it. Beverly’s has a large pie case with multiple flavors, and I assume ones like pumpkin are seasonal.

Summing It Up
I am aware that any restaurant open 24 hours per day is going to have different shifts, different managers, and probably different qualities of food at various times. Beverly’s is what I would classify as a diner, and even though I thought the food was good, the restaurant is very casual. The old Beverly’s was the definition of a 1960’s coffee shop with what seemed to include the requisite amenities (I do not remember all the details but I think it included things like baskets of jellies and other condiments on the table, better than average seating and decoration, a view out the front window to a landscaped patio, etc.).

Some reviews I have read on other websites describe Beverly’s as not having the best food in Oklahoma City, but it is an old standby that is always there where you want it. I think this is a good description, and I would add that the food is better than much of which I would consider to be its competition.

At the moment, though, I have only tried a small sample of the food here.


RATING: 22

Cuisine: American
Cost: $$
Hours: Open 24 Hours Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 23, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Pancakes, Holiday Meals, Pumpkin Pie

Special Ratings
star 5 Pancakes
star 5 Turkey (from the Holiday menu)
star 4 Green Beans
star 5 Mashed Potatoes
star 5 Pumpkin Pie

 

Leo’s BBQ–Oklahoma City, OK

Leo’s BBQ
3631 N. Kelley Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 424-5367
Leo's BBQ

Leo’s BBQ


It is hard to find a barbecue restaurant in Oklahoma that does not have at least one item on the menu that evokes a loyal following, but within this distinguished group Leo’s has a reputation of being one of the best.

After many years I was able to make my first visit to Leo’s, but I do have the advantage of trying everything on the menu (available on Leo’s Special). Even sharing this as well as a smaller plate with a friend, it was almost too much to eat. We did make a very good dent in it, though.

Leo's smoker

Leo’s smoker is where the magic is done

I did not find any item that I thought was the absolute best in Oklahoma, but the combination plate had a consistency of flavor that I really do not find at many restaurants, and this may be Leo’s greatest strength. I did think the ribs were the best item here, but everything else was good as well.

The one item I did think may be the best in Oklahoma was the sauce. I like the sauce in almost every barbecue restaurant I have tried in the state, while the same cannot be said for other states. While I think Leo’s has just the right balance of flavors, many other restaurants do it pretty well. Thus I think the sauce is probably not enough to give Leo’s a recommendation as the best place in the city that you could try, but it is a good start.

The side dishes here were not my favorite, but they were good. The strawberry and banana cake served with every meal, though, is rightly acclaimed as one of the best features of the restaurant.

The Barbecue

Leo's Special

Leo’s Special

With Leo’s Special (shown in the above photo) or the smaller Leo’s Special Light, you can literally try everything on the menu. This is really too much to eat, but in my case I was sharing. All of the meats were five star, and this is one thing that sets Leo’s apart from many other restaurants. To me, if they make tasty bologna and hot links, they are doing something very special.

I thought the star of the show, though, was the Ribs. They were small in size but very good in flavor.

Brisket Light Dinner

Brisket Light Dinner

The Brisket was the other item that I thought Leo’s did best. The Light Dinner (shown here) has more of it than is served on Leo’s Special, but this is definitely a good choice if you want to concentrate on a single meat. Unlike some of the chain restaurants, this version contained burnt ends that I thought enhanced the flavor (although the majority of the meat was cooked the regular way that you would find anywhere). For some reason it is hard to find really good brisket in Oklahoma, but Leo’s has it.

I did not make many notes about the Bologna or Hot Links except that I was surprised how much I liked them. There is something in Leo’s cooking method that makes almost everything turn out better than expected.

Side Dishes
They do not have many choices for side dishes, and the ones I tried were not outstanding, but I enjoyed them nonetheless.

Dessert
The Strawberry and Banana Cake comes with every dinner, and I think is definitely something you will want to try.

Other Comments
On my first visit to a restaurant I often go a little wild on the ordering, and that was definitely the case on Leo’s Special, which includes all of the restaurant’s meats. I am glad I tried everything, but I think normally Leo’s Special Light would be the way to go (I got the regular Leo’s Special because it had two ribs and I wanted my dining companion to have one as well).

This leads me, though, to my biggest disappointment about the restaurant. At the chain restaurants (which I think most people know but I will not name) I can get two or three meat combination plates, which lets me try everything I really want to have for any particular meal. Leo’s system of making you choose between one meat or all of them, though, is something I find a little bit unusual. The food here is particularly good, but I do not care for the way the menu choices are set up.

Other weaknesses here are the fact that they do not have chicken or turkey, and the side dishes were not memorable to me. The sauce was excellent, which makes up for some of the weak points, but the fact is that every restaurant will have pluses and minuses.

I really did like the homey atmosphere here that gives you the feeling of the way a barbecue restaurant should be.


RATING: 24

Cuisine: Barbecue
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun.
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No

Most Recent Visit: Aug. 15, 2018
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Ribs, Brisket, Sauce, Cake

Special Ratings
star 5 Ribs
star 5 Brisket
star 5 Hot Links
star 5 Bologna
star 4 Beans
star 4 Potato Salad
star 5 Strawberry & Banana Cake
star 5 Barbecue Sauce

Menu (Aug. 2018):