Ding–Bethany, OK

Ding Asian Fusion
6400 N.W. 39th Expressway
Bethany, OK
(405) 603-8858
Ding Asian Fusion

Ding Asian Fusion in Bethany


Ding Asian Fusion has been in operation since the summer of 2016, but in this time it has already gone through a transformation (and fortunately seems to have survived intact). It started out as the latest venture of Szechuan Bistro, a popular Chinese restaurant on Memorial Road near Edmond. It so happened, though, that while visiting Szechuan Bistro in 2018 I talked to the man who I learned was the “former” manager at Ding, and learned that their former satellite restaurant was now independent and had new owners. This put into perspective, though, a visit I made to Ding a short time earlier where Ding seemed to be in a parallel time line–most things were as I thought they should be, but certain details were “off” (such as the expressions on employees’ faces when I asked them questions about Szechuan Bistro thinking that this was still their parent restaurant).

I should point out that being an offshoot of Szechuan Bistro gave immediate credibility to the food here, and I was happy to have the same food in a different location. It was not exactly the same in the sense that Ding made the default spiciness at a lower level than the same dishes would be at Szechuan Bistro if you just ordered from the menu and did not specify a spice level. In addition there was a list of more authentic “whiteboard specials” from Szechuan Bistro that they eventually incorporated into the regular menu while Ding never offered them on either the menu or as a special.

Ding's interior

Ding’s comfortable dining room

Ding was more of a “fusion” concept, serving sushi and Thai fried rice (I do not know if these are still available). The menu items I saw at Ding in 2018 still looked much like the ones at Szechuan Bistro, with mostly Sichuan style dishes along with a few that are definitely more “safe” for some people (chow mein, moo goo gai pan, etc.). A synopsis of this is that the Ding menu of 2018 was still very similar to the Szechuan Bistro of two years previous, but in that time Szechuan Bistro has expanded their choices to include many items which used to be listed as whiteboard specials.

The ambiance at Ding follows Szechuan Bistro’s upscale concept, prices are good, and lunch specials come with soup and rice (the hot and sour soup here is definitely among the best in OKC). When I ate here in 2018 I still thought I was eating at a Szechuan Bistro restaurant, based on the flavor of the food. I think Ding has a good beginning which they are continuing with new owners and mangers, but it is essentially the same food.

Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce
I believe the main difference between Szechuan Bistro and Ding is that the latter has a more limited choice of items that I consider to have an authentic flavor. I used my past experience, though, to order the Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce from the lunch menu on my first visit to Ding.

Shredded pork in garlic sauce

Lunch portion of shredded pork in garlic sauce

This turned out to be a great choice for lunch although at the time garlic was not an issue (I have already determined that I do not want to book a dentist appointment after eating this dish). The sauce was very well balanced and not too sweet. The vegetables were crispy and flavorful, and overall this makes a great lunch for me.

The ironic thing about this dish is that it serves as a replacement for what was my original favorite Chinese dish in Oklahoma City–the shredded pork at Lotus Mandarin (which was located on 38th Street a couple of blocks from where Ding is now located in the adjacent city of Warr Acres). So if there are any other “old timers” out there who enjoyed Lotus Mandarin as I did, I would recommend checking out Ding. (The flavors of Ding really remind me of Lotus Mandarin, except that I think Ding offers a greater variety of authentic Chinese dishes).

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung pao chicken

Lunch portion of kung pao chicken

The Kung Pao Chicken is another excellent choice, and has the authentic flavor without as much garlic (at least I think there is less garlic). The difference here is that it includes chunks of garlic that you can either choose to eat or not. The chicken is white meat, and there is a generous portion of celery and bell peppers, as well as red chiles. The sauce was very flavorful, but I think it was made more so by the fact that I asked for the dish to be made more spicy (the extra spice seemed to add a smoky flavor that made the sauce even more interesting in terms of flavor). The dish itself was not extremely spicy, but this is because I generally refrain from biting in to the red chiles.

I was a little disappointed in the number of peanuts that were included and the fact that it did not have any bamboo shoots, but overall I thought this was an excellent dish with a much better than average flavor. This dish was served after the ownership change at the restaurant, but the flavor seemed like the “old” Ding which was essentially the same as Szechuan Bistro (although less spicy).

Hot and Sour Soup

Hot and sour soup

Hot and sour soup

This is one of the soup choices available, and is the one I recommend if you like spicy food (although I don’t think the soup here is as spicy as at Szechuan Bistro).

A Note About the Spicy Sichuan Dishes
Ding has chiles on the menu next to spicy items–either one, two, or three chiles. The shredded pork in garlic sauce has one chile, which I found to be barely noticeable on the spice level. This is fine with me, because I liked the dish, but I just want to make the comment that a dish with one chile is barely spicy at all (and many menu items have no chiles).

While I think the flavor of Ding matches Szechuan Bistro, the spice level apparently does not. So far I think the “new” Ding has continued the same food they have had from the beginning, so I continue to be happy that a very good Chinese choice can be found in the Bethany area.


RATING: 24

Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Oct. 24, 2018
Number of Visits: 2
Best Items: Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce, Kung Pao Chicken

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine/ Iced Tea
MSG: Yes
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce
star 5 Kung Pao Chicken
star 5 Hot and Sour Soup

 

Menu (Dec. 2016):

 

Bistro 38–Oklahoma City, OK

Bistro 38 Thai Green Cuisine
2903 N.W. 36th St.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 948-2788
Bistro 38

Bistro 38


Bistro 38 Thai Green Cuisine is not the first Thai restaurant to operate in this location, and I believe the change occurred in 2014. The previous restaurant was owned by Sala Thai, although it was apparently operated independently. Bistro 38 is still the same kind of small family run restaurant that I believe was here before, and I think this is a big reason for the positive reviews I have read for both restaurants.

Most of the dine-in customers seem to come at lunch, and otherwise it relies largely on take-out orders. I experienced a comfortable dining room, the music was enjoyable, and the service was good. The menu was not huge but it looked as if it had several good choices. Outwardly it was very much like the typical strip mall Thai restaurants I find around the city.

Lunch Specials

Lunch combo

Lunch combo with Panang curry and veggie pad thai

Although the dinner menu is priced well compared to other Thai restaurants, lunch is even more of a bargain. Lunch Specials give you one item (noodles or fried rice) while the Lunch Combo gives you four (the main item which is either curry or pad basil, veggie pad thai, steamed rice, and a veggie spring roll). The menu says no substitutions are allowed, but they did let me get a double portion of the pad thai and delete the spring roll (I am mentioning this mainly to explain why the photo above includes an extra large serving of pad thai).

The choices on the Lunch Combo are good: the Panang Curry is one that I liked and my waitress said was one of the best choices. I definitely had a “happy meal” with this selection (to borrow a phrase I frequently see at Japanese restaurants).

Pad Prik King

Pad prik king

Pad prik king

The Pad Prik King had a good sauce (curry without the coconut milk), crispy green beans, and tofu with a good texture (I ordered the vegetarian version). I found this version to be similar to the ones at several other restaurants (and this is a good thing). The dish was made the right way, and I did not have any complaints.

I did learn, though, not to be timid about the spice scale here (they have a one to four “level of spiciness” and I think about two and a half is the minimum I want to order on this type of dish–this would be equivalent to about two at most other restaurants).

Pad Prik King

Ginger tofu

Ginger stir-fried with tofu

Ginger Tofu is one of my favorite Thai dishes, and one of my yardsticks by which I measure a restaurant. This one was very fresh and had high quality ingredients. One surprising feature (compared to many other restaurants) is that the vegetables were enjoyable in themselves. Most ginger tofu dishes have a substantial amount of onions with a small amount of other vegetables, but with this one was full of red peppers, green vegetables, baby corn, etc.

The thing that detracted from the ginger stir-fry, though, was the sauce. I thought it was too sweet, unlike the pad prik king and the curry I have tried. The dish was good in spite of this because of the tofu and the vegetables which were really very impressive (and of course the ginger).

Pad See Ew
I had a sample of the Pad See Ew, a noodle dish with chicken and broccoli. I thought the chicken was very good, the broccoli was crispy (not quite as good a thing to me as the green beans being prepared this way), and the noodles were good. Overall the dish did not seem to have much flavor, though. This was much the same as I have found at most Thai restaurants, but I keep looking for the few who can make noodle dishes more flavorful. They will give you fish sauce for additional flavor, and this certainly helps. Still, although it was good, this was not a five-star dish for me.

Thai Tea

Thai tea

Thai tea

The Thai Tea was very good. The fact that it was milky on top and dark at the bottom was also a good sign that this drink is legit.

Desserts

Green tea ice cream

Green tea ice cream

Bistro 38 has a good Green Tea Ice Cream for dessert (and I enjoyed it more because the food itself was not too sweet). Also this is one of the restaurants where I do not spend all my money on a meal (I can say, though, that the meals are pretty filling).

Recommendations
Pad prik king is usually a “yardstick” dish for me, and I thought it was done the right way. The Panang curry was equally impressive in the way they prepared it. I would order the ginger tofu again despite the sauce being sweet. The pad see ew and the pad thai seemed lacking in Thai flavors, though.

When I have asked the waitresses about the best dishes, though, they have been very honest and accurate in their answers. I think most restaurants tend to stand or fall on their best dishes, and here it is easy to find out what they are.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Thai
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Mon.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Oct. 2, 2018
Number of Visits: 3
Best Items: Panang Curry, Pad Prik King

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Thai Tea
MSG: N/A
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Panang Curry
star 5 Pad Prik King
star 4 Ginger Tofu
star 4 Pad See Ew
star 4 Veggie Pad Thai
star 5 Green Tea Ice Cream
star 5 Thai Tea

 

Menu (Feb. 2017):

 

Ingrid’s–Oklahoma City, OK

Ingrid’s Kitchen
3701 N. Youngs Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 946-8444
Ingrid's

Ingrid’s


The Oklahoma City area is blessed with several good German restaurants, and in some ways it is difficult to determine which is the best. Ingrid’s Kitchen in the northwest part of Oklahoma City, though, definitely has the advantage of being more accessible to those who live in Oklahoma City rather than one of the far flung suburbs such as Moore. Even those for whom distance is not an issue would want to come to Ingrid’s for its excellent food and some specialties that are not found at the other restaurants. (Note: as of 2019 Old Germany in Choctaw is permanently closed, so the number of other German food choices seems to be dwindling).

One thing I appreciate about Ingrid’s is that it allows customers to eat German food on a more regular basis without having to wait for a special occasion. Many of the other restaurants seem to be more of the variety where you want to sit down, enjoy a big meal, and have a beer. You can do this at Ingrid’s as well, but Ingrid’s specializes in sandwiches, lunch plates, and deli items. In the past Ingrid’s was only open for breakfast and lunch, but has now started serving dinner as well. I also think Ingrid’s is the place to go if you are on a budget, but by the time I pick up some desserts and other items from the deli case this may not turn out to be much of a saving.

The expanded hours coincided with a change of ownership, and I understand the new chef used to be at Castle Falls (another one of the area’s excellent German restaurants, although Castle Falls requires a reservation). I have enjoyed the food a little more since the ownership change and I like the fact that it is now open for dinner, but I am disappointed that it still does not offer some of the dinner items that can be ordered at other German restaurants (although Ingrid’s is still best for sandwiches and lunch items).

Orders are taken at the counter

Orders are taken at the counter

At Ingrid’s all orders are taken at the counter, and are either prepared to go or to eat in the restaurant. Most items are sold individually except dinner or lunch plates that come with side dishes. Because you can order as little or as much as you want, it is rather difficult to determine the cost category of a typical meal here. I have based it on my experience of ordering a sandwich or main dish, one or two side orders, and a drink.

Sandwiches

Meat and cheese counter

Meat and cheese are available to take home

There is a large choice of lunch meats, as can be seen in the display counter that sells meat for take-home. Ingrid’s menu says that they also sell American products, but the authentic German ones are probably the main reason to come here.

Reuben sandwich

Reuben sandwich

Grilled sandwiches are more expensive than the deli sandwiches, but based on my order of a Reuben I would say this is a very good choice. In fact, this may have been the best corned beef I have ever tried. Sauerkraut makes a good side dish, but I think it is even better on top of the corned beef in the Reuben (and the Sauerkraut is home made). The Reuben also comes with Ingrid’s “Special Sauce,” and I will have to say that everything about this sandwich was special.

Turkey reuben

Turkey reuben

I first tried the Turkey Reuben at Ingrid’s Pantry (Ingrid’s former spinoff restaurant in Bethany), and now this is my favorite sandwich here. The sauerkraut, bun, Swiss cheese, and sauce are all top notch, and I think the flavor of the turkey goes well with them all.

Bratwurst

Bratwurst

The Bratwurst has not been terribly impressive to me, but there is more than one variety served. Some of my trips to Ingrid’s Pantry made me lean more toward the smoked bratwurst, which I enjoyed quite a bit.

Fine bratwurst

Fine bratwurst

Fine Bratwurst is one of the five types of bratwurst Ingrid’s serves, and is served either on a sandwich or a plate. I did not order the one in the photo so I cannot comment about its flavor, although I do know that the person ordered it with German mustard only and instead got everything (it is hard to remove the mayonnaise and Swiss to end up with a sandwich that only has a German mustard flavor). In any case, it seems that with the current management (2018) you might have difficulty with special requests that are different from the standard menu items.

Schnitzel

Wiener schnitzel light

Wiener schnitzel light order

The Wiener Schnitzel comes in a “Light Order” that makes it a good lunch choice (the light and regular orders are available for both lunch and dinner). This and the other “Specialty Plates” come with three side orders as well as bread, but I think the German Potato Salad is the best of the side dishes. I actually like all of the side dishes, but the potato salad is the one thing that Ingrid’s seems to do better than any of the other German restaurants in town.

Wiener schnitzel

Wiener schnitzel regular order

The schnitzel is made with pork, and some purists say the only authentic Wiener Schnitzel is made with veal. According to the information I have from people who have lived in Germany, though, pork schnitzels are common in the country, are more available and less expensive than veal, and it is a matter of taste concerning what type of meat to eat. Both I and my friends think the Wiener Schnitzel at Ingrid’s is very good except that the meat is sometimes tough (it does not seem to be pounded enough to tenderize it according to German custom).

Other Meat Dishes

Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten

The Sauerbraten had a good roast beef flavor, but I thought the sauce had a rather weak flavor (it was, however, a good flavor). For this dish I would probably recommend the one I tried at Royal Bavaria in Moore, although the side dishes at Ingrid’s are very competitive with the other restaurants.

Pork chop

Pork chop

The Pork Chop was very good, but the restaurant says it is not German style. I think this has to do with boiling it and then frying it, but regardless of the cooking style this was quite a good meal.

I used to rave about the Chicken Jäger Schnitzel, but it now seems to be permanently gone from the menu. All I can say is that if it ever comes back or is available as a special, this has been the best item I have tried at Ingrid’s.

Specials
Although the restaurant has removed some items from the menu, they do have dinner specials of items that are not on the menu which are available after 5:00 p.m. (I know because I once got there about fifteen minutes early when the special was already posted and was available to order).

Goulash

Goulash was served as a special after 5:00 p.m.

My “early bird special” was in fact a plate of Goulash on spatzle that came with a salad and some very good dark rye bread. This was quite different from other goulash dishes I have had in that it was not heavy on spices (there was not a discernible taste of spices such as paprika) and it was more of a meat dish with sauce than a stew (which is how I would characterize other goulashes I have tried). They said it was from a family recipe (I am not sure if this was from the owner’s family or someone else’s). To me it is always enjoyable to find a dish that is quite different from others I have tried, yet is still very good.

Side Dishes
I have had different feelings about some of the side dishes, but generally I have enjoyed them more after the restaurant’s ownership change (but I don’t know whether they have actually changed or whether it was just my perception of them). I have never been disappointed with the German Potato Salad, and I have found this to be the best in the city. I noticed dill in it, which seems to be an authentic touch.

The Red Cabbage is consistently very good, but most times I think the Sauerkraut is even better.

Cucumber salad

Cucumber salad

I formerly said I did not like the Cucumber Salad as much as the one at Castle Falls, but the new chef is the one who used to be at Castle Falls, so I think the salads are much the same (my memory of the Castle Falls salad is now a little fuzzy but I do know that the one at Ingrid’s is good).

Special salad

Salad that came with the goulash dinner special

The best salad I have had at Ingrid’s, though, was the Special Salad that came with the goulash dinner special (I do not think this salad is the same as any of the ones listed on the menu). I should note that the salads were some of my favorite items at Castle Falls, and perhaps these same salads are becoming available at Ingrid’s.

Siegi's mustard

Siegi’s mustard is sold here

A side of German mustard comes with just about everything, and if any is left over this is a great addition to my sandwiches at home. (It is also worthwhile to check out the bottles of German mustard available at the deli, which include Siegi’s from Tulsa).

Pastries

Pastry display

Pastry display

It is hard to go to Ingrid’s and not end up picking up some pastries either as dessert or to take home. The choices rival just about any bakery in town, and the quality has always been considered among the top two or three by my family. I like the pastries because they are always made with fresh ingredients, and many follow the European custom of not being as sweet as seems to be the normal case in the U. S.

Cream horn

Cream horn

I have not personally visited Germany, but I have it on good authority that the Cream Horn sold at Ingrid’s is a very good representation of the authentic German variety. It was less sweet than most desserts, but had a fresh cream that stood in contrast to many dairy products that seem artificial.

Coffee cake

Raspberry coffee cake

The Coffee Cake (made with different types of fruit) is definitely one of my favorite pastries. It has an excellent flavor, and is not too sweet.

Assorted pastries

Ginger bread, lemon cookies, divinity, hamantaschen (cherry filled)

This photo includes a variety of the pastries available, and I really think it would be overwhelming to try them all. Out of the ones pictured I especially liked the Hamantaschen (the triangle shaped sweet roll with a cherry filling).

Cakes

Cake display

Cake display

Ingrid’s cakes are popular for birthday cakes, or you can buy individual slices. I really have no idea which cakes are the best because I do not think I will ever be able to try all of them. There are some, though, that I know are good choices.

Black forest

Black forest

The Black Forest Cake is really one of the best cakes I have ordered anywhere, with a rich combination of cream, cake, fruit, nuts, and chocolate that would be difficult to match. The thing that impressed me was not only the complexity of the cake, but also that each part was done perfectly, and added to the overall quality of the cake. The fruit filling inside was not too sweet, and gave just the right flavor to the cake (Black Forest is made with a liqueur that gives it a distinctive flavor).

Strawberry cake

Strawberry cake

I have made it one of my missions to try the strawberry cake at every bakery that sells them, and the one here had a good, rich strawberry taste. I also think freshness is one of the most important features with Ingrid’s cakes.

German chocolate cake

German chocolate cake

The most surprising discovery for me was the German Chocolate Cake because of the fact that I have not cared much for about 80 percent of the ones I have tried. Thanks to being encouraged to try this one, though (by my mom, who is the foremost cake expert I know), I have another item to add to my list of favorites at Ingrid’s.

Pies

Pie display

Pie display

Pies are also excellent, and the Peach Pie really seemed to be the best I have ever had (not counting, of course, the ones that my mother or grandmother made). The syrup tasted home made instead of commercial, and the crust was fresh and crispy.

Dutch apple pie

Dutch apple pie

The Dutch Apple Pie is another of their excellent choices. I think that while a couple of my all time favorite desserts at Ingrid’s are cakes, the pies are what I have found to be consistently good no matter what flavor you order.

Additional Information
Ingrid’s Kitchen sells beer in a separate bar area for its own Biergarten. Another interesting feature of the restaurant is live music on Saturdays at noontime (dance music but not necessarily German).

The dining room

The dining room

Ingrid’s has succeeded in attracting a large clientele with good food, affordable prices, and a casual setting. This combination of factors can easily make German food a part of many people’s staple diet (as it should be). Not all of us can get to Ingrid’s as often as we would like, but the opening of the new satellite restaurant at N.W. 63rd and May Avenue makes it more convenient for many. I know that many people are willing to travel whatever distance is necessary to enjoy Ingrid’s Kitchen, which is justifiably regarded as one of Oklahoma City’s landmark restaurants.


RATING: 24

Cuisine: German
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily except Sun. Evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine, Drinks

Most Recent Visit: Oct. 2, 2018
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Reuben, Turkey Reuben, German Potato Salad, Sauerkraut, Black Forest, German Chocolate Cake, Coffee Cake, Peach Pie

Special Ratings
star 4 Wiener Schnitzel
star 4 Bratwurst
star 4 Sauerbraten
star 5 Reuben
star 5 Turkey Reuben
star 5 German Potato Salad
star 5 Vegetable Soup
star 5 Sauerkraut
star 4 Red Cabbage
star 5 Black Forest
star 5 German Chocolate Cake
star 5 Coffee Cake
star 5 Peach Pie

Menu (Apr. 2017):