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):

 

Kamps–Edmond, OK

Kamps Cafe
3325 S. Boulevard
Edmond, OK
(405) 562-1279
Kamps

Kamps in Edmond


The name 1910 keep showing up in connection to Kamps, noting the year when Bill Kamp’s Meat Market first opened in downtown Oklahoma City (Kamp’s Meat Market is currently operating at 7310 N. Western Avenue in OKC). Kamps Cafe in downtown Oklahoma City with a second location in Edmond are an outgrowth of the market, but they have a larger menu than would be expected at a regular meat market and deli.

I have only had a chance to try the restaurant one time, and this was at the Edmond location. I got an idea of the overall good quality of the food, and it is a good sign when I am happy with an item I order at random from the menu (in this case it was the grilled chicken pesto).

The dish I really wanted to try was the Hobo Pie (chicken pot pie with green chiles). It is listed on the menu as a special dish with the suggestion to “Get it while it lasts.” Unfortunately it had run out when I was there in the early evening, but I assume they have a fairly good supply if you go around noon or the early lunch hour.

The dining room was a little bit like a fast food restaurant. This is a place where you order and pick up your food at the counter, so it is a good restaurant for people who do not have a lot of time for a meal but they do want one of good quality. Other than sandwiches, though, the menu is mainly limited to salads and soups.

Kamps is popular for breakfast, and opens at 7:00 a.m. (7:30 on Sat.). It is open for dinner, but menu items are mostly the type of thing people like to have for lunch. It seemed that a lot of people were there for the WiFi, and they have a good Barista selection.

The Food

Grilled chicken pesto

Grilled chicken pesto

With a large variety of sandwiches available, I thought my choice of Grilled Chicken Pesto worked out well. It was not spicy, but the parmesan pesto ranch dressing gave an interesting flavor to the sandwich. The chicken breast had more flavor than many I have tried. The size of the sandwich was pretty good for those who want to make a dinner meal out of the food here (side dishes are relatively inexpensive).

I did not think the Pasta Salad really stood out as being special, but it was solid and was better than the side dishes at quite a few other places.

Comparisons with Other Restaurants
This was more of a straight sandwich place than other restaurants such as Cafe 7, Saturn Grill, etc. I thought the quality of the sandwich was comparable to other restaurants I have tried, and the chicken sandwich was interesting in terms of getting something fairly healthy that also tastes good. Kamps would be in my rotation if I ate enough sandwiches to have a rotation, and it seems to have unique sandwiches rather than just giving different versions of the same ones.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Sandwiches
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Jul. 26, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Grilled Chicken Pesto

Special Ratings
star 5 Grilled Chicken Pesto
star 5 Pasta Salad

Menu (Jul. 2017):

 

 

Chibugan–Del City, OK

Chibugan Filipino Cuisine
4728 S.E. 29th St.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 595-2426

Chibugan

Chibugan in Del City


There have been many articles on the Internet about people’s opinion that Filipino cuisine is one of the best, yet there are extremely few restaurants in the United States in proportion to the number of Filipino people living here. I have watched both Bhing’s Cafe and Evelyn’s Asian Table close, and with both I was convinced that more people would like Filipino food if they tried it. Fortunately there is now another opportunity to try it at Chibugan in Del City (which I was first alerted about in 2016 but I was able to make my first visit in 2018).

I was encouraged when I saw the amount of business the restaurant is doing, and I think they made a wise business choice by locating near Tinker Air Force Base (military bases traditionally attract small mom and pop Asian restaurants nearby because many of the personnel have been to these countries and tried the food). It might seem as if this is a prime example of a niche cuisine that would not attract a large segment of Americans, but I come back to my statement that this will change once people try the food.

With the previous restaurants I visited the biggest hurdle was trying to figure out the menu. I mainly followed the suggestions of the owners and got good results, but I know that this will continue to be an issue with many people. Chibugan has what some people call a “streamlined” menu with additional daily specials posted on the wall, and you can see pictures of the items. Although I still had questions, the staff was very helpful in explaining everything.

Like any cuisine, Filipino food has a large number of styles of food, and at Chibugan you can get what you want from a light lunch to a very substantial meat dinner. The default for Filipino food is that it is not spicy, and mostly it is like other Asian food but with a few twists (for instance I tried one dish that had a large amount of celery).

My experience was that I asked questions about the dishes that looked interesting, and they explained it to the point that I was satisfied that I had made a good choice. I give ratings to restaurants based not only on my own experience, but also on what I think it will be for other people. I felt very comfortable that even those who have no experience with Filipino food will have a good idea about what they are ordering here.

The Food

Chicken rice soup

Chicken rice soup

With any order you get a complimentary Chicken and Rice Soup. This was a very delicious indication of how the rest of the meal would be.

Pansit bihon

Pansit bihon

I ordered two dishes with the idea that I could take some home and have somewhat of a variety of items to report. I turned out that these dishes really could not have been more different. The Pansit Bihon was a very light dish that I would say makes a very good lunch. It was a little like Chinese chow mein but it had a strong celery taste and the lime you put on top makes it taste very tropical. In any case I thought it was very good, and I happen to like this type of healthy but flavorful food.

Pork ribs adobo

Pork ribs adobo

At the opposite end of the scale was Pork Ribs Adobo which was a very substantial meat dish. It had much more flavor that I had expected, but even more surprising was the way the meat fell off the bones in a way that was just right. Much of the flavor came from the sauce and from the seasonings cooked into the meat. I thought this was a very good example of Asian slow cooked meats.

The dish is topped with Asian red chiles, but if you leave these alone the dish is not spicy.

All plates come with Lumpia on the side (the Southeast Asian version of an egg roll).

Also available are canned Philippine fruit drinks in a variety of flavors that I thought was a perfect touch with the meal.

In short, I was very happy with my two meals here (I took the pansit home for lunch the next day).

Previous Post from Mar. 23, 2016:

Chibugan Restaurant in Del City, OK (near Tinker Air Force Base in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area) will be open soon, and as far as I know will be the only Filipino restaurant in the metro.

Chibugan's interior

Chibugan’s interior

It looks as if it is almost ready to go, but they have not yet announced an opening date.  Those in the area, though, may want to keep a lookout for it.

Filipino decorations on the wall

Filipino decorations on the wall

Thanks very much to Arlene Clifton for providing the photos and for giving us a heads up that Filipino food will soon be available in the Oklahoma City area.


RATING: 25

Cuisine: Filipino
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun. & Mon.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Aug. 17, 2018
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Pork Ribs Adobo, Pansit Bihon

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: N/A
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Pork Ribs Adobo
star 5 Pansit Bihon
star 5 Chicken Soup