Hideaway Pizza (Memorial Rd.)–Oklahoma City, OK

Hideaway Pizza
5950 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 470-4777
Hideaway on Memorial

Hideaway on Memorial Rd.


Hideaway Pizza is continually adding locations throughout Oklahoma, and it is hard to keep up with how many there are. I think there is good reason for its popularity, especially because of its famous “Hideaway Red” sauce, a sauce that no other pizza chain seems to be able to match. I was wondering why the original location in Stillwater was not listed, and I learned that they sold the franchise to the company that operates the other restaurants, which are collectively known as “Hideaway Number 2.”

“Hideaway No. 2” seems to fit firmly into the category of “chaindom” with its ever-growing number of locations. I think this sometimes involves some negatives, such as the way they changed the menu in 2015, deleting a number of items. This was probably done for efficiency in operating all of their restaurants, but it has had a negative effect on my experience here. For instance, I did not realize the menu had been changed and I accidentally ordered the wrong margherita pizza, not knowing that the one I usually ordered (the “Old World”) had been deleted from the menu.

They told me after the fact that if you want to order one of the “old” pizzas you can do so, but this requires knowing what they are. It turns out, though, that this only applies to the toppings. The margherita does not have the same kind of cheese as before, and ordering the old version only means that it will have red sauce (although admittedly this is not an insignificant point).

The menu still has a good variety of pizzas, including “Build Your Own.” They also have sandwiches and pasta dishes. Some of the salads are good, and this is another reason I like the restaurant overall. For me it is only lacking the one pizza I came to enjoy the most.

Salads

Just-A-Beginner

Just-A-Beginner salad

Surprisingly, I have found that the salad is one reason I like to come back despite the menu change. The Just-A-Beginner Salad is simple but quite fresh and enjoyable. I had gone to Ingrid’s one time where the meal came with a salad that I thought was much better than Hideaway’s, and it made me wonder why I thought the one here was so good. At numerous other restaurants, though, I keep thinking of Hideaway as having a better salad than the one they serve, and I still think of Hideaway’s as being quite good in the larger scheme of things.

Greek salad

Greek salad

I will have to say that in contrast, though, the Greek Salad was disappointing to me with a dressing that was very tart, and a salad that seemed to be a little skimpy for the money you pay.

Veggie Pizza

Margherita

Margherita

I do not think Hideaway is known for its vegetarian pizzas, and there is not a large selection, but the one I almost always crave is the Margherita Pizza. Like all the pizzas here, you get a choice of the size and crust you want, but otherwise it is very straightforward. The twist, though, is that they used to have two versions of the margherita, and one was taken off the menu while the other was modified. The new version has an olive oil and garlic glaze, but I ask for one with red sauce instead. What I many times forget (and forgot when I ordered the one pictured) is that you can also ask for sun dried tomatoes instead of the Roma tomatoes which are normally included with the pizza. All of the versions I have tried have included fresh basil.

I am disappointed that the pizza no longer has fresh mozzarella as it did on the old menu, but it still has several good features. The basil and red sauce are very enjoyable, and when I can remember to order the sun-dried tomatoes I like these as well. The cheese is good (but not as good as before). The crust is average (but is the same as on all the other pizzas).

Specialty Pizzas

The ATW

The ATW

Most of the “Specialty Pizzas” differ only in the toppings they include, although a few have a sauce other than the red sauce. The ATW (which stands for Around the World) is probably appropriately named because it is mostly people in other parts of the world that eat as many vegetables as are included here. In addition to this it has pepperoni and sausage (two of my favorite meat toppings), and all around I think this is a good choice.

The Capone

The Capone

The Capone is a meat pizza that has enough vegetables (mainly black olives) to give it an interesting flavor. This is a meat lover’s pie, though, with Italian sausage, pepperoni, Genoa salami, and smoked bacon. The pizza pictured here was rather skimpy with the red sauce, but they gave me some extra sauce on the side which I think made it better (not that it really needed a lot of improvement).

Maui Magic

Maui Magic

The Maui Magic includes red sauce, Canadian bacon, pineapple, and Mandarin orange slices. I would say the best part of this is the bacon (and of course the red sauce). The rest of it is really too non-traditional for my taste in pizzas.

Sicilian

Sicilian

The Sicilian was lacking any vegetables, but I thought the meats were very good (sausage, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and Genoa salami.

The Boz

The Boz

The Boz” is a good example of how satisfying the meat pizzas can be at Hideaway. Named for University of Oklahoma football star Brian Bosworth, I suppose it is natural for this pizza to be loaded with different types of meat. The amount of bacon, pepperoni, and sausage they pile on this pizza may in fact have led to a pork shortage contributing to Divine Swine’s going out of business (OK, I admit this may be a stretch, but this pizza does have a lot of meat!). I liked it quite a bit, and I also liked the fact that the flavor of the red sauce came through to supply a contrast to the meat. I made a note that some thought had gone into the flavor combination of this pizza because it seemed to be one that worked very well. The one I tried was without the jalapeno (I think I was the only one at the table who would have wanted to include it). Even without this additional flavor, though, it was still good.

Hideaway Special

Hideaway Special

The Hideaway Special gives you eight pizzas in one, with each slice being a different flavor (I think you get ten if you order the large pizza). The problem, though, is that most of the slices had a plain and one-dimensional flavor to me, and I think most of them come from the “Build Your Own” section of the menu where you just get cheese, sauce, and whatever topping you choose. I would definitely suggest getting a “Specialty Pizza” instead, where the combination of ingredients have been thoroughly taste tested.

More About the Pizza
There is a choice of crust with all pizzas–hand tossed (thick), thin crust, or cracker crust. I thnk the thin crust best, but none of them are a standout in my opinion. A waitress told me that the thin crust has more sugar than the hand tossed (I think so it will cook better). The cracker crust is the original one used in the Stillwater restaurant, but for me it just does not add to the taste of the pizza (plus it is gluten free and they charge extra for it).

I have enjoyed some of the pizzas that did not have red sauce, but my favorite pizzas are all ones that have the sauce. Most of the time it is the sauce, more than the toppings, crust, or cheese, that make this a place I want to come when I just want to have a good tasting meal regardless of the nutritional value or the calories.

Other Comments
One of the down sides of the menu is that I find a lot of combinations that I just do not want to order. For instance, the Sicilian would probably be better with vegetables. Many other pizzas have three or four good meat toppings but one or two I either do not like or do not want on a pizza. When you “build your own” the pizza ends up costing more than if you get the same toppings on a combination pizza. I do like some of the specialty pizzas, but there is not much flexibility in building your own.

With so many locations, there are bound to be some differences at the different restaurants. I know they all have the same menu, but I have kept returning to the Memorial Road location because they have helped me find the combinations I like and make modifications where possible. The seating is more comfortable that at the Northwest Expressway location where I originally had been going, and all around I have thought that the Memorial Road restaurant is a good location.


RATING: 22

Cuisine: Pizza
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer

Most Recent Visit: Nov. 1, 2018
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Margherita, ATW, Sicilian, The Boz, Just-A-Beginner Salad

Special Ratings
star 5 Margherita Pizza
star 5 ATW
star 5 Sicilian
star 5 The Boz
star 4 The Capone
star 4 Maui Magic
star 4 Hideaway Special
star 4 Da Bomb
star 5 Just-A-Beginner Salad
star 4 Greek Salad

 

Menu (Nov. 2017):

Goro Ramen–Oklahoma City, OK

Goro Ramen
1634 N. Blackwelder Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
Goro Ramen

Goro Ramen


I became a fan of ramen when I heard from readers about the excellent ramen restaurants that I should try when I was in Seattle. This was great news when I found out about the flavor treat that this offered, but it may be even better news that this type of food is now spreading throughout the United States.

Unlike other ethnic cuisines, ramen does not seem to be spreading through the migration of Japanese people to cities such as Oklahoma City. Rather, it is a dish that is becoming so popular that anyone who can do a decent job preparing it seems to have all the business they can handle.

The Menu
I do not know the story about Goro or whether the owners have ties to Japan, but I would definitely say they do a good job with the ramen. There are four types of ramen on the menu, including a chilled one. I did not encounter spicy ramen in Seattle, but this is one of the choices here. A few other menu choices are offered, but I believe the expectation is that most people will order ramen.

Spicy Miso

Spicy ramen

Spicy miso ramen

Like the other ramen, Spicy Miso comes in a large serving that really takes a good appetite in order to finish (I found the ramen in Seattle to be about three-fourth the size of the one here). The broth of this soup seemed to have a straightforward explanation–it is miso mixed with red chiles. The result was a spicy and flavorful soup, although it was not as spicy as the typical Korean (kimchee) or Thai red chile dishes I have tried. A very good broth was enhanced by a number of other ingredients (many of which can be seen in the photo). I would make special note of the meatballs, which were quite flavorful.

Other Observations
There were only four types of ramen served, and somehow the cold one did not seem very appealing (although it may surprise me the same way the miso ramen did). The restaurant appears to do only one thing, and that is ramen. I think they do it well, though.

I went at a very off time (about 3:00 pm), and even at this time it was very busy. I have heard that tables are hard to get during lunch hour, but in my own experience there was not any problem.

A pot of green tea was six dollars (half the price of the miso), and I only ordered it because I was sharing with a friend. The flavor of the tea, though, was far beyond the normal version found in Japanese restaurants, and it was definitely an enjoyable experience.

The Plaza District, in which Goro is located, has become one of the hottest restaurant rows in Oklahoma City, with many cuisines being offered. Goro strikes me as not just a trendy restaurant but actually a very good one (I do not understand, though, why more versions of ramen are not offered).

Yelp says Goro has a full bar, so this may be a place people like to come for a while and relax. At lunch, though, it seemed to be a place where most people were in and out fairly quickly.

The Plaza District has free parking on the street, and probably in most cases it would be within a short walking distance of the restaurant. Be aware when looking for Goro, though, that it faces N.W. 16th Street rather than Blackwelder.


RATING: 25

Cuisine: Japanese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily (Open until midnight)
Accessible: Yes
Alcohol: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Aug. 16, 2018
Number of Visits: 1
Best Item: Spicy Miso

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Green (brewed)
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Spicy Miso

Golden Phoenix–Oklahoma City, OK

Golden Phoenix
2728 N. Classen Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 524-3988
Golden Phoenix

Golden Phoenix


Golden Phoenix (Kim Phung in Vietnamese) became aptly named when it arose out of a fire that occurred in 2011, and was reborn as a more upscale and arguably better restaurant. Both before and after the fire it has operated as a dual restaurant in a single building–there is an authentic menu for Vietnamese food as well as one for Chinese food, each of which has its own chefs. The menu is written in English, Chinese, and Vietnamese and is separated into the categories and styles of food served. It does not make an obvious division, though, between the dishes that come from China or Vietnam.

The Chinese food is Cantonese style, and reflects the cuisine served in Hong Kong except for the fact that they do not serve dim sum. The Vietnamese side of the menu is the one I initially found to be the most interesting, and before the fire I had designated Golden Phoenix as the best Vietnamese restaurant I had found in Oklahoma. After the fire I have tried several Chinese dishes, and have found them to be excellent as well. As it stands, both Vietnamese and Chinese food are among my favorite items at Golden Phoenix.

Vietnamese Food

Pork chop

Vietnamese style pork chop

Some of my favorite items at Golden Phoenix have come from the Vietnamese menu, but both of the ones pictured are ones I ordered before the fire occurred. One was a Pork Chop recommended by the waiter as one of his favorites, and it turned out to be one of my favorites as well. This came with tender meat, but the flavoring was so good that this is what made it so memorable. Most of the meats at Golden Phoenix have MSG, but the pork chop “didn’t have much,” and I was able to eat it with no ill effects. I really think this was one of the best Vietnamese dishes I have had in OKC.

I do not know where this dish is located on the new menu (or the old one, for that matter, since I was just following the waiter’s suggestion). There are several pork chops listed in the section labeled “Broken Rice Platters” with different side dishes, but I cannot match any of them to the one pictured. I would recommend ordering any one of them from the menu or that the staff recommends, and although the side dishes will vary the pork chop itself should be as much of a sublime experience as it was for me.

Bún bò Huê

Bún bò Huê

Bún Bò Huê is a popular soup in Vietnam, but Golden Phoenix is the one place where I was able to find an authentic version of it. This is number 214 on the menu in the “Rice Vermicelli Noodle” section.

The spicy soup had several types of meat and meat substitutes (such as congealed pig blood) that I probably would not normally eat, but I found the flavor to be good and overall I really enjoyed it. This was a deliciously flavored soup cooked with beef bones and lemongrass for flavor, and I found it to be surprisingly good. At least from the description of this dish I have found on the Internet, I think the one at Golden Phoenix was about as authentic as is be found in the U.S. I have had other versions of this soup in OKC, but the one I had at Golden Phoenix was the most flavorful (either in spite of or because of the blood balls).

The current menu lists this dish as “Hue style spicy beef noodle soup with beef, pork, balony and thick round rice noodle.” Absent from this is any mention of the blood balls, so perhaps this is something that has now been dropped. With or without the blood balls, though, I think the excellent flavor of this dish will remain.

Chinese Style Noodles

Flat noodles with beef and vegetables

Flat noodles with beef and vegetables

The Chinese items available before the fire are still on the menu, including Beef Flat Noodles. This was a delicious dish with a large assortment of vegetables mixed in with tender sliced beef. There are so many noodle dishes served I think it will take some experimentation to find the best ones, but I was happy with the one I had.

Pan Fried Noodles were recommended as an authentic dish from the Chinese chef’s home region of Guangdong, and consisted of a wreath of crispy noodles around the edge that resembled a bird’s nest with the customer’s choice of meats and vegetables on top. Mine had a light brown sauce, and was thoroughly enjoyable. This one had a larger portion of noodles than others served in Oklahoma City, but they did not scrimp on the vegetables. It would not be advisable to attend a business meeting after eating this delicacy, however, since a heavy garlic flavoring is a key component to its essence.

Congee

Congee

Congee, or rice soup

Congee, a traditional Chinese dish of rice pudding, makes a good breakfast or appetizer. Even though it comes with fish, chicken, pork, or other types of filler and flavoring, it is not generally considered a dish Chinese like to eat exclusively for a meal except for breakfast. Knowing that I do not generally expect a whole lot out of a bowl of congee, though, I thought the one here was very good. Grand House, across the street from this restaurant, is the only other place I know in town that serves congee (Grand House only has it on weekends and when dim sum is served), but even with a lack of competition in town I thought the rice pudding at Golden Phoenix compared favorably with ones I have tried in other cities.

Chinese Style Hot Pot

Bean curd with assorted meat hot pot

Bean curd with assorted meat hot pot

Several Chinese hot pot dishes are available such as the Bean Curd with Assorted Meat Hot Pot. This is a dish I ordered at night shortly before closing time, and they warned me that some of the meats could not be cooked that late in the evening but it did include several varieties of seafood. Some of the seafood was not as flavorful as I have had at other restaurants, and without the other meat this was a disappointment to me. Despite its apparent shortcomings near closing time, though, it still had good sauce, tofu, vegetables, etc..

The Vegetable and Bean Curd Hot Pot is one that I ordered at a “normal” time, and was very good with tofu, vegetables, and sauce. I thought it could have used some ginger, though. It contained more shitake mushrooms than I expected, and probably as a result of this was somewhat pricey for a vegetable dish.

While the hot pot dishes are very good, this is one case where Golden Phoenix faces stiff competition for other restaurants. I am happy to give my business to all of them, since hot pot dishes are definitely among my favorites.

Steamed Rice Dishes
One of the best dishes I have tried here was the Curry Chicken on Rice from the Steamed Rice section of the menu. It was not the kind of curry I was expecting, even from a Chinese style curry. The curry was a little sweet with a very complex and interesting flavor compared to most curries. I just had a few bites of it, but this was one of the best Chinese dishes I have tried in Oklahoma City.

Barbecued Meats

Barbecued meats

Golden Phoenix is well known for its display of hanging ducks and other meats

Golden Phoenix is probably the premier Chinese barbecue restaurant in Oklahoma City. First Chinese B-B-Q, a chain out of Dallas, was the original restaurant here, and when Golden Phoenix opened it seemed to be merely a name change with the new restaurant still being known for its meats. One of the most notable features of the restaurant is the array of hanging barbecued ducks, chickens, and other animals in a display case near the counter.

Chinese barbecue shares the technique of slow cooking with other barbecue traditions, but the meat can be anything from pork ribs to duck. The smallest portions of barbecued meat served at the restaurant are a half duck or chicken, except for some steamed rice dishes that come with individual portions of duck and other meats.

Roast duck

Takeout order of roast duck

I recently shared a takeout order of Roast Duck with some friends, and it reaffirmed the conventional wisdom that barbecued meats are one of the items Golden Phoenix does best. To me the flavor and quality were on par with duck I have had at some fine dining restaurants.

Tea
The original Golden Phoenix served jasmine tea made with loose leaves that was on the house. Now it is made with tea bags and they charge for it. This, along with a new dining room and a somewhat new menu, makes me think they changed the management after the restaurant reopened. In any case, the tea was one item that was better at the “old” restaurant.

Recommendations
I have found consistently good quality with both the Chinese and Vietnamese food, and for both they seem to serve the food as it would be done in Asia. The menu is very extensive, and at times it has been hard for me to decide what would be best to order. The staff is usually a big help if you have some idea of the type of food you would like.

On my one recent disappointing experience, the waiter had advised me that they did not have all the ingredients to make the dish properly. Obviously this is another example of how the staff can help if you take their advice (and I will make a point of doing so in the future).

Another lesson I have learned is that many dishes that are quite good did not sound all that appetizing on the menu, so for many of us this requires a learning curve. While Golden Phoenix seems to be very good at preparing food the way it is in Asia, not everything served is something I or other people would particularly enjoy. It is hard to go wrong with the barbecued meats, though, for something that almost everyone seems to think is the restaurant’s signature dish.


RATING: 25

Cuisine: Chinese and Vietnamese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer and Wine

Most Recent Visit: Aug. 14, 2018
Number of Visits: 9
Best Items: (Chinese) Roast Duck (and other barbecued meats), Curry Chicken on Rice, Crispy Pork Bean Curd Hot Pot, Pan Fried Noodles, Congee, (Vietnamese) Pork Chop, Bún Bò Huê

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (bags)
MSG: Yes
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Roast Duck
star 5 Vietnamese Pork Chop
star 5 Bún Bò Huê
star 5 Pan Fried Noodles
star 5 Beef Flat Noodles (dry)
star 5 Congee
star 5 Crispy Pork Bean Curd Clay Pot
star 5 Ginger Chicken
star 5 Curry Chicken on Rice
star 4 Vegetable and Bean Curd Hot Pot
star 4 Shredded Chicken with Garlic Sauce

 

Menu (Jul. 2017):