Oklahoma Station–Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma Station Bar B Q
4331 N.W. 50th St.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 947-7277
Oklahoma Station BBQ

Oklahoma Station BBQ


Although Oklahoma Station is one of the oldest barbecue restaurants in Oklahoma City, a change of ownership in 2015 not only prompted me to start over with a new review but more importantly, I think the food is quite different than before. The menu is the same and on the outside everything looks the same, but I have noticed marked differences in the items I have ordered.

In some cases these differences are good. For instance, the smoked turkey not only seems better than before, it is also my current choice as the best in Oklahoma City (this has been the case the three times I have gone to the new Oklahoma Station, so I don’t think this is likely to change).

The outside smoker

The outside smoker

Some items are about the same as before, and this is a good thing. Included on this list are the okra, sweet beans, creamy cole slaw, and most of all the incomparable banana pudding (at least I have not found any others that match the pudding at Oklahoma Station).

Some other meat items pose quite a mystery to me as to why they could be so good before but so forgettable at the current restaurant (especially when the turkey has been consistently good).

The Barbecue
The first thing I should point out is that there are more meat items available than are listed in the review, and as is the case with most barbecue restaurants, I have not been able to try them all. You can get a head start, though, with the three meat combination dinner (shown in the next two photos). Both of these served as a meal for two people with leftovers to take home, but your appetite may vary.

Three meat dinner

Brisket, turkey, ribs, creamy cole slaw, Texas toast, okra

The Smoked Turkey has seen a marked improvement over the ones I tried at the “old” restaurant. The gentleman in the serving line included it in his list of recommendations, and based on this I would say asking the employees is a good starting point if you are not sure which items to order.

I thought the turkey had everything required of good barbecue– it was cooked well, it had a good smoky flavor, and the meat was high quality. I recently had the opportunity to order the turkey at Swadley’s (another contender for the best turkey in the city), and I would say Oklahoma Station was the clear winner.

Three meat dinner with pork tenderloin, ham, and turkey

Pork tenderloin, ham, turkey, creamy cole slaw, okra, apple cobbler, sweet beans

The Pork Tenderloin was one of my favorite items before, but the one I had recently was dry. In fact, dry meat was a common theme with many of the meats I have ordered here. The Brisket had the added problem of being tough, but it had a better flavor than many of the others.

The Pork Spare Ribs have been my biggest disappointment at the new restaurant, with the texture and flavor of the meat seeming so wrong I was wondering if they just had a bad day.

Ham is an item I have only tried at the new restaurant, and I thought it had an excellent flavor but was dry. Somewhat inexplicably a piece I took home as a leftover was much better, so based on this I am rating this as one of the better items at the restaurant.

Side Dishes
The creamy Cole Slaw was one of the best in the city at the old restaurant, and I think it is the same now. They have two types of cole slaw, and I have always found it best to stick with the creamy one (rather than the vinegar based version).

The Sweet Beans were excellent.

The fried Okra has been excellent two out of three times, with a good flavor and texture. Like all the side dishes they frequently put out fresh batches, but if you happen to be there when they do not look fresh out of the oven I would advise ordering something else.

Several other vegetables and side dish choices are available, and I think the selection here is unmatched by any other barbecue restaurant in the city. Generally the items are fresh, but in the case of the okra they will tell you if it is not right out of the oven (and therefore you may not want to order it).

Be sure to check the “relish bar” in front of the restaurant for pickles or other appetizers (customers can take whatever they want).

Desserts

Banana pudding and cherry cobbler

Banana pudding and cherry cobbler

The Banana Pudding was my favorite dessert at the old restaurant, and is still available. Somehow they have found the secret to making the best banana pudding I have found anywhere, but I think the secret is just keeping it simple but making sure everything is fresh and follows the recipe correctly.

There was a great variation in the cobbler, though. The Apple Cobbler was excellent, but I thought the Cherry Cobbler was bland.

Additional Comments
I have discovered that high quality iced tea is an integral part to the full enjoyment of a barbecue meal, and the fresh brewed tea here is among the best (sweet tea is also available).

The trouble with the new Oklahoma Station, compared to the old one, is that only a few items have impressed me as being standouts. If you are looking for turkey and banana pudding, I would say this is the best restaurant in town. Some other items are solid, including the ham and several of the side dishes. I had one fairly good experience with the pork tenderloin, but it was not up to the standard I found at the old restaurant. The brisket and ribs are certainly letdowns compared to what the restaurant served before (in my opinion, of course, but I do owe it to readers to give you my best judgment).


RATING: 18

Cuisine: Barbecue
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily except Sun. Evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No

Most Recent Visit: Jun. 24, 2017
Number of Visits: 3
Best Items: Turkey, Sweet Beans, Cole Slaw, Banana Pudding

Special Ratings
star 5 Turkey
star 4 Ham
star 4 Pork Tenderloin
star 3 Brisket
star 3 Ribs
star 4 Okra
star 5 Sweet Beans
star 5 Cole Slaw
star 5 Banana Pudding
star 3 Cherry Cobbler

Cantina Bravo–Bethany, OK

Cantina Bravo
7000 N.W. 23rd St.
Bethany, OK
(405) 470-8394
Cantina Bravo

Cantina Bravo


Based on some of the reviews I had seen for this restaurant I had the idea that it might be something very special. It had been called a “New Mexican” restaurant by some (food from New Mexico), but I did not see any indication that this was the case. The food was described in terms that whether or not it was true New Mexico style, it was one of the best Mexican restaurants in Oklahoma City (this is subjective, but I did not think it really fell in this category either).

Focusing on the positive, though, is the fact that there is a large selection of authentic Mexican dishes. At one time this would have been a big deal for Oklahoma City, but thankfully there are now a number of restaurants which serve this style of food.

My initial visit was on a Friday night, and I think this is not the time when you get the best service. They have a bar, and it seemed that several of the employees were spending a great deal of time making margaritas and other drinks (probably at the expense of serving tables). There was a large party in the back with several tables pushed together, and I know this was not a normal circumstance even on the weekend. While the restaurant’s popularity makes a statement about the food, I would say I found quite a few drawbacks in coming here at one of their busiest times.

Setups

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa

They start out with the usual chips and salsa. Both were better than at some restaurants, but the salsa was the first indication to me that this was not “New Mexican” food. The salsa had a moderate spice level, and was more characteristic of traditional Mexican flavors than of those from New Mexico (actually I would say it was fairly typical of the salsas in Oklahoma–not truly authentic but fairly good).

I did not have a particular reaction to the chips, either positive or negative.

They also have a spicy salsa available on request. I thought it was too spicy, though, full of seeds, and did not have a particularly good flavor (the regular salsa was actually better).

The waitress said they have queso dip but it costs extra.

Mole Poblano

Mole Poblano

Mole Poblano

It was a real treat to have Mole Poblano available on the menu, and naturally I had to take advantage of it. The flavor was a little bland, but it was still a treat to be able to order the dark mole (poblano style). The chicken was a little different than what I think is traditional–they served a whole chicken breast instead of the shredded chicken which I think goes best with the mole.

I was not terribly impressed with the flour tortillas served with the dinner, although I was glad that they were included (you can get tortillas with any meal, though, just by asking for them).

The Rice was good, but the Black Beans were just about the highlight of the meal (and were some of the best I have had anywhere).

Taco Salad

Taco salad

Taco salad

I did not try the taco salad, but I do have a photo of it. I was told it was “bland,” mainly because it had a lot of meat but very little lettuce and other vegetables (I can attest to the fact that under the toppings is mostly ground beef).

One of the attractions of Cantina Bravo is that it has four or five salads on the menu, but apparently some are a little lackluster.

Other Observations
The restaurant does not claim to be “New Mexican”–this is only a statement I saw in some reviews. I think this is because some of the enchiladas come with green sauce (although they apparently do not have a red sauce, as a true New Mexican restaurant would offer).

The menu seems to be a mixture of authentic and American style dishes, but the “gringo” dishes still keep a lot of the Mexican flavors rather than being traditional Tex-Mex food. They did not have horchata, but otherwise the menu was pretty much what I expected.

The staff was clearly struggling to keep up with the crowd that was there the night I went. The kitchen came through, and we got the food we ordered, but otherwise I thought this restaurant was even more problematic than the other Mexican places in town which are traditionally busy on weekends.

In the end the mole was a little disappointing, but I applaud the fact that they put it on the menu, and I do not think my like or dislike of this dish has much relevance to the quality of the other dishes served (enchiladas, etc.). Thus I am giving this review with a little bit of a disclaimer that I have not yet tried a good sample of the food.


RATING: 20

Cuisine: Mexican
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes, but I only found one marked parking space
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Full bar

Most Recent Visit: Jun. 16, 2017

Number of Visits: 1

Best Items: Mole Poblano, Black Beans

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 3

 

Special Ratings
star 4 Mole Poblano
star 5 Black Beans
star 4 Rice
star 3 Chips
star 3 Salsa

Menu (Jun. 2017):

Restaurant Guide

Restaurant Guide Index:

(List of Recommended Restaurants from Various Sources)

Arizona: Phoenix | Tucson

Arkansas

California: Los Angeles | Orange County | San Bernardino/Riverside | San Diego | San Francisco/Bay Area

Colorado: Denver

Idaho

Kansas: Kansas City

Louisiana: New Orleans

Missouri: Kansas City | St. Louis

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Mexico: Albuquerque | Las Cruces

Oklahoma: Oklahoma City | Tulsa

Oregon: Portland

Texas: Austin | Dallas/Fort Worth | El Paso | Houston | San Antonio

Utah

Washington: Seattle

Wyoming


This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others. I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.


Note: Steve’s Restaurant Reviews (the ones I have personally visited) are found  Here