San Marcos–Warr Acres, OK

San Marcos Mexican Restaurant
4101 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 787-1963
San Marcos on MacArthur Blvd. in Warr Acres

San Marcos on MacArthur Blvd. in Warr Acres


San Marcos Mexican Restaurant currently has five locations, with “Number 4” occupying the building which was formerly Los Amigos Restaurant in Warr Acres. Los Amigos served a style of food which came from the state of Aguascalientes in Mexico. What I have understood from several restaurant owners is that many if not most of the Mexican restaurants in Oklahoma City serve this style of food at least when it comes to their authentic dishes (most of them also make the Tex-Mex and Americanized dishes available as well).

San Marcos has a similar flavor to these other restaurants, but I think its authentic menu is limited compared to some other places (particularly to Los Amigos which it replaced). A specialty of San Marcos seems to be large meat plates and other items which I think require a pretty good appetite in order to finish. There are smaller options here, but one thing which I actually think is a big plus for the restaurant is that you not only get a good portion of food but also free chips, tortillas, queso, sopapillas, and several types of salsas and condiments with the meal. The extra spicy salsa is freshly made in the kitchen and comes out heated to the table.

I have been to the restaurant on Rockwell (San Marcos No.3) more times than I can count, and I do think that many of the items are very similar at both restaurants. Over the years the Rockwell restaurant has dropped some of their special authentic items due to lack of demand, while the Warr Acres restaurant appears to have a larger Mexican clientele who would order these items. The menus of all San Marcos Restaurants are the same, and the differences would mostly be in the non-menu items that are available. One example is some special enchilada sauces which used to be available at the Rockwell location but which have now been discontinued. I do not know what special items the MacArthur (Warr Acres) location has, but I think it is likely to be more than at Rockwell.

Setups

Chips and salsa

Salsa, queso, and spicy salsa

I do not really bother with San Marcos’ regular salsa, which looks like chopped up tomatoes, but I think the Spicy Salsa is excellent, and to me it is better than at the Rockwell location. It is freshly made and served hot (and comes close to the quality found in El Paso restaurants).

The chips and queso dip are both good. I also like to order the corn tortillas. All of the setups are free, but in the case of the spicy salsa and tortillas (either corn or flour) you have to request them.

Enchiladas

Enchiladas with a special salsa verde that is not on the menu

Enchiladas with salsa verde

The Enchiladas with Salsa Verde are one of my favorite items at the Rockwell location, and I tried them here for comparison. My judgment was that the green sauce was a little bit better here, but they did not give me very much of it. Overall I liked the food better here, but the difference was not very pronounced. The spice level here was about the same as at the other San Marcos location, which is about four out of five chiles for the green sauce.

One flaw I found here was the the cheese did not seem to be quite melted enough (something I really have not noticed at the Rockwell location).

Guisado

Guisado rojo

Guisado de chile rojo

Guisado is one of the more expensive items at San Marcos, and one for which it takes a pretty good appetite to eat. I liked the red sauce version of this dish, although the meat seemed to be a little tough. Sometimes the Rockwell location also serves tough meat, but my experience at San Marcos is that this is not the norm.

Dessert

Sopapillas are free

Sopapilla

The Sopapillas here are free, and I think are very good as long as you are not expecting them to be like they are in El Paso or New Mexico. The ones here are sprinkled with what looks like a sugar/cinnamon mixture, and I usually like to add honey as well.

Other Observations
The best feature of San Marcos is that it seems to be improving over time. One example is the chips which have improved drastically since I started coming to the restaurant. The enchiladas with red or green sauce are also very reminiscent of the ones you would get where they serve authentic Mexican food, and they are always available (they are in the “La Feria” section of the menu).

The Warr Acres restaurant was similar enough to the Rockwell location that I think the food is about the same at either place. I do think the spicy salsa is better in Warr Acres, and I suspect that they have some non-menu items that you can order. What I discovered from the Rockwell location was that they kept the non-menu items going as long as people kept ordering them, so I do not know what is popular at the Warr Acres location now.

There are three other locations in the OKC Metro, and I suspect they follow the same pattern of having much the same food but possibly their own non-menu items.

Note: The “Chile Index” refers to the ranchera and similar sauces (the salsa verde and salsa roja are spicier).


RATING: 22

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

Most Recent Visit: Feb. 23, 2020

Number of Visits: 2

Best Items: Enchiladas with Salsa Verde, Spicy Salsa

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 3

 

Special Ratings
star 4 Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
star 4 Guisado de Chile Rojo
star 4 Rice
star 4 Beans
star 5 Chips
star 5 Spicy Salsa
star 5 Sopapillas

Cafe 7–Oklahoma City, OK

Cafe 7
14101 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 748-3354
Cafe 7

Cafe 7 on North May Ave.


Cafe 7 has four menus (all of which offer choices in the same price range): Sandwiches, Pizza, Pasta, and Salads. The pizza is individual sized, and the pasta menu follows the trend of some national chains in offering a variety of dishes along with a “build your own pasta” selection. Cafe 7 is strictly local, though, and I think the real beauty of it is that you get individually prepared items with the type of selection that is normally available mainly in larger restaurants. They can meet all kinds of dietary needs, such as serving vegetarian and gluten free dishes, and the source of the food seems to be largely local. More than anything else I am impressed with the quality of the food.

Seasonal menus offer additional choices, some of which are higher priced. Most of my favorite items are from the regular menu, but there have been some standouts from the seasonal menu.

The dining room

Cafe 7’s interior

Some of my personal feelings about Cafe 7 are that I like the dining room, I like their tea, and I think the prices are reasonable. I sometimes find it a problem that they close at 8:00 P.M., but they do not seem to mind if customers stay after this time. I thought they had the best cupcakes in Oklahoma City, but they are no longer available and the staff tells me there is nowhere else that I can buy them (meaning that they did not come from one of the local cupcake restaurants). It is not really necessary to order a dessert here, though, since the meals are filling enough.

When customers enter the restaurant they pick up one of the order sheets, fill out the choices, and go to the counter to pay. Special orders are also available, but these sometimes have a higher price (I think the soup and sandwich combination I ordered was a dollar extra). I sometimes ask for suggestions from the employees at the counter, and I really have never gone wrong with the sandwiches, pasta, or seasonal specials they recommend. If they are busy, though, I think the system of giving you the menus while you are waiting in line works very well.

Sandwiches

Turkey and guacamole sandwich

Turkey and guacamole sandwich

On my first visit I ordered a special that is not listed on the menu– a half sandwich with soup. The full order of Turkey and Guacamole Sandwich (pictured above) was as good as the first experience, and reinforced my idea that this is a good flavor combination. The turkey seemed to be roasted (not processed), and I think this set it apart from most turkey meat served in restaurants. The bread has changed since my first visit (not better or worse– just something different). The fact that the guacamole blended well with the turkey speaks to the art and thought that went into creating the sandwiches offered here.

Cuban sandwich

The Cuban

The Cuban reinforced my opinion that the sandwiches are top quality. With pulled pork, ham, Cuban relish, onions, pickles, Swiss cheese, and Dijonnaise sauce on a toasted hoagie there was plenty about this sandwich to like. I did not notice any flavors that particularly stood out except the sauce and Swiss cheese, and all the meats were good. The sauce was a little spicy, probably comparable to most of the city’s Mexican restaurants.

Soups

Cream of broccoli soup

Cream of broccoli soup

The Cream of Broccoli Soup sounded very good, but I thought the flavor was a little flat. The most disappointing thing, though, was that it was too salty for me. I thought the soup was fresh and good quality, but I tend to find the best soups at ethnic restaurants rather than ones that are American style.

Tomato basil soup and cobb salad

Tomato basil soup and cobb salad

The Tomato Basil Soup was also one of my favorite items at Cafe 7, although I would not place it in the same category as the soup at some of the city’s better Italian restaurants.

Ms. Vickie’s Chips used to be served with all sandwiches, but they later dropped this in favor of the much better all natural Popchips potato chips. As of 2015 they seem to have changed the chips again, but in any case they are better than the original Ms. Vickie’s (but customers can still get Ms. Vickie’s for an additional cost if they want).

Salads
The Cobb Salad tasted very good when I sampled it, but I think it would not be filling enough to order as a meal (even though the regular salad is twice the size of the one shown in the picture). The honey mustard dressing was one of the highlights of it, after trying several less flavorful versions at other restaurants (such as Interurban).

Pasta

Rigatoni Sorrentino

Rigatoni Sorrentino

Wanting to try items from the pasta section, I chose the Rigatoni Sorrentino because it sounded good from the menu. It also tasted good with a very good seasoning that I thought was not overpowered by Italian spices (one of my pet peeves in Italian restaurants). This dish contains grilled chicken, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes, all of which I thought were very good. The tomato cream sauce was also better than I thought it would be (I am not a big fan of cream sauces). This isn’t the kind of Italian food you get at Vito’s, but I thought it was very good and I enjoyed it.

Pasta maggio

Pasta maggio

Pasta Maggio was recommended by an employee at the counter, and was also very good. This had a creamy pesto sauce that I thought was not as good as the one with the rigatoni sorrentino, but the ingredients made up for it with chicken, mushrooms, and artichokes. Overall I would have to say this was the best pasta dish I have tried.

Pasta primavera

Pasta primavera

The Pasta Primavera is the one that I consider “my other favorite” (along with pasta maggio). This has a lemon flavor, and the banana peppers give it somewhat of a kick (in a good way that is not too spicy). I also like the vegetables in this one.

Pizza

Margherita pizza

Margherita pizza

Several types of pizza are served, including a “Build your own pizza” that comes with sauce, cheese, and up to three meat toppings. Margherita Pizza was one of the specialty pizzas offered (all pizzas are the same price unless you get more than three toppings). I thought the Margherita pizza was a little disappointing in the flavor of the pizza and texture of the crust. It had standard tomatoes instead of the sun dried tomatoes served in most Italian restaurants, and the flavor of the cheese was rather overwhelming compared to my perception of the way a Margherita pizza should be. The ingredients were fresh and good quality, but this was not my favorite pizza in terms of flavor.

Seasonal Menus

Fettuccine bona

Fettuccine bona

Cafe 7 provides more variety by offering seasonal menus of different types of items. For instance, in Summer 2013 the Fettuccine Bona was an item I found very refreshing with green and red olives and a flavorful pesto seasoning. Another good item was the Muffaletta, which I thought was well made (with good sauce, meat, and bread). Other choices from the menu were a sirloin salad, salmon salad (both of which cost more than the standard menu items), two wraps, and an ultimate margherita pizza.

Chicken pot pie

Chicken pot pie

The Chicken Pot Pie which I first had from the Fall 2016 menu (and again in Winter 2020) was an excellent version of a dish I usually order at any restaurant which has it on the menu. In case they have it in the future you may like to know that the crust and gravy were both good, it had large chunks of white meat chicken, there were plenty of potatoes, but I would say it was short of the other vegetables I usually like in a pot pie. It met my standard of not being too salty, and overall I liked it very much.

Green chile mac and cheese

Hatch green chile mac & cheese

The Hatch Green Chile Mac & Cheese has evolved over a couple of years to the point that this is perhaps my favorite seasonal dish served. The cheese is thin and fully melted, and along with the fresh green chile I think this is what makes it special to me. On the heat scale the chile is about four out of five (not as spicy as they usually serve in New Mexico but spicy enough to really bring out the flavor).

Desserts

Red velvet cookie

Red velvet cookie

Some of their desserts have been wonderful, such as the Chocolate Mousse and the Cupcakes. However, they keep changing the desserts all the time, and I know the cupcakes are no longer available. I am not sure what is good at the moment, or if the Red Velvet Cookies, which I liked, are still available.

Additional Comments
Customers fill up their own drink cups, and there is a choice of three kinds of iced tea: black, green, and white.

Side dishes are somewhat limited, but I liked the Potato Salad (and I would have liked it even better if it were not made with mayonnaise).

When Saturn Grill had a location on Memorial Road I was able to compare a number of items there and at Cafe 7. My conclusions were that Saturn Grill had better vegetarian sandwiches overall, but that the turkey and guacamole and Cuban sandwiches at Cafe 7 were better than any of the meat versions served at Saturn Grill. I liked the pasta dishes better at Cafe 7, but overall I thought the seasonal menu was much better at Saturn Grill. I never really formed an opinion about who had better soup.

Cafe 7 has now opened a restaurant in downtown OKC, and the large number of customers on North May attests to its continued popularity. People know good food when they taste it, though, and this is certainly among my favorite places. Update Sep. 2020: According to published sources the downtown location is closing.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Deli
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sunday
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine

Most Recent Visit: Feb. 19, 2020
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Turkey and Guacamole Sandwich, Cuban, Tomato Basil Soup, Pasta Maggio, Pasta Primavera, Chicken Pot Pie (seasonal menu), Hatch Green Chile Mac & Cheese (seasonal menu)

Special Ratings
star 5 Turkey and Guacamole Sandwich
star 5 Cuban
star 5 Pastrami Reuben
star 3 Classic Turkey & Swiss
star 5 Pasta Maggio
star 5 Pasta Primavera
star 5 Rigatoni Sorrentino
star 3 Margherita Pizza
star 5 Tomato Basil Soup
star 4 Cream of Broccoli Soup
star 4 Signature Salad
star 5 Cobb Salad
star 4 Potato Salad
Seasonal Menu
star 4 Fettuccine Bona (Summer)
star 4 Muffaletta (Summer)
star 5 Green Chile Mac & Cheese (Summer)
star 5 Chicken Pot Pie (Fall & Winter)

Menu (Feb. 2020):

 

 

Family Pho–Oklahoma City, OK

Family Pho
13325 N. MacArthur Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 470-0648
Family Pho

Family Pho


Family Pho is a small family run Vietnamese restaurant in a strip shopping center that is really not typical of other such restaurants. They do not serve the pseudo Chinese food found in most strip mall restaurants (the food here is strictly Vietnamese). The flavors are authentic (as far as I can tell), and the menu is closer to the restaurants in the Asian District than to other strip mall restaurants. They definitely do not have all the menu items served in the larger Asian District restaurants, but the pho selections are very good, as are the rice and vermicelli dish choices.

I am encouraged about this type of restaurant because the clientele is overwhelming non-Vietnamese, yet the menu is easy to navigate for both those who are Vietnamese food experts and those who really do not have much knowledge about it. My advice to first time diners would probably be to try the pho–not only because this is the restaurant’s specialty but also because I think this restaurant has a very good version of it.

Pho

Chicken pho

Chicken pho

So far I have only tried the Pho Ga, or the chicken version (chicken breast meat in a chicken broth). This is not a slap at the other types of soup at Family Pho, it is because I find the chicken pho disappointing at many restaurants and I am very glad to find one that is good. The flavor is quite good, but probably more important to me is the fact that the restaurant does not use MSG (which leaves me free from worry about how I am going to feel after the meal).

The chicken pho has a chicken broth and white meat chicken as the main soup ingredient. Other types of non-beef soup are also available, including vegetarian, shrimp, and seafood.

They told me that one of the “secret” ingredients in the soup that makes it so good is cinnamon, although it is not obvious when tasting it, and this is just one of the ingredients used to make the flavors balanced.

Chicken pho with basil

Chicken pho with basil

Of course I like to add the condiments served on a side dish including the basil and bean sprouts.

Vermicelli Bowl

Lemongrass chicken

Lemongrass chicken vermicelli bowl

There are not many suburban restaurants that have a Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl, but Family Pho has it (as well as lemongrass beef). This is also one of my favorite items here, although it did have the shortcoming of not having mint as one of the ingredients. The rest of it, though, is good enough for it to say on my “want to order” list.

Banh Mi

Banh mi

Banh mi

Although I did not order the sandwich myself, I have a photo of it as well as a recommendation to order it.

Takeout

Lemongrass chicken takeout order

Lemongrass chicken takeout order

I found out that the takeout version of the Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl is as good as the one in the restaurant, and in this case may be even better. This one had mint (something that was previously missing in the restaurant version), and everything else was excellent. It was a little short on the lemongrass flavor, but it was certainly a main part of the dish and there was enough to do the job. The chicken, sauce, noodles, etc. were all excellent. This was easily one of the best items I have had from Family Pho, even though I did not actually eat it in the restaurant.

Another factor to consider with this dish was the fact that it left such a pleasant aftertaste with me that I did not want to “spoil” it the rest of the day with any other food items including dessert. I would judge the fish sauce, chile paste, and the dish itself to be among the best I have had anywhere, and to have such a meal at home was a special treat, especially compared to the other takeout items that are available. I think the chile sauce was something I requested and is not normally included in the orders, but I would definitely recommend it.

Recommendations
My best experience at the restaurant was the pho, but the takeout version of lemongrass chicken stands out as the most memorable meal I have had from Family Pho. I do not know if the food has generally gotten better over the last several years or if it was just the circumstances around the specific meal I ordered, but I definitely think this is an excellent restaurant for takeout, and will likely be just as good when they are able to open the dining room again (I am writing this in light of the Corona virus outbreak while all Oklahoma City restaurants are forced to close their restaurants to dine-in patrons).


RATING: 24

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

Most Recent Visit: Feb. 18, 2020
Number of Visits: 7
Best Items: Chicken Pho, Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (bags), Thai Tea, Milk Tea
MSG: No
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Pho Ga (Chicken)
star 5 Lemongrass Chicken Vermicelli Bowl

 

Menu (Jul. 2017):

 

Nunu’s–Oklahoma City, OK

Nunu’s Mediterranean Cafe & Market
3131 W. Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 751-7000
Nunu's

Nunu’s


Oklahoma City is fortunate to have more than its share of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants, but as far as I am concerned the market is still far from saturated. Not only is this one of the most delicious types of food in the world, it is also recognized as being one of the healthiest. Nunu’s in far north Oklahoma City is one of the relative newcomers serving this type of food, and it seems to strike the right balance between the high quality of a very special restaurant and the casual setting of a home style restaurant people can make a frequent destination.

Janet (Nunu) is no longer at the restaurant on a regular basis, but she has left it in capable hands and the food still follows the same family recipes.  For the most part there will not be any noticeable changes at the “new” Nunu’s.

If anything I think the food is better now than it has ever been. I noticed this particularly in the chicken kabobs. At the same time the items that were my favorites before are still very good (such as the lentil soup and the hashwa). The menu is smaller at the “new” Nunu’s but what they have seems to be uniformly excellent. The old Nunu’s seemed to be a replica of the old Cedars Restaurant in Tulsa, with some items that were not traditional Middle Eastern food but which were popular among Oklahoma’s Lebanese and Middle Eastern community. My older review of Nunu’s is still available for reference.

Nunu’s used to have a deli at the back of the restaurant which I think has largely disappeared, but as a result I believe the restaurant now has more tables and can better accommodate the large crowds which I have frequently seen.

Nunu's serving counter

Nunu’s serving counter

Customers pay upon ordering at the cash register, and drinks are “serve yourself” from the soda machine (I should take this opportunity to also mention that I have enjoyed the Lebanese style lemonade which I think is still available). The menu and daily specials are listed at the counter (I do not know if they still have the daily specials but I mainly got the ones on Tuesday and Thursday).

Salads

Salata

Salata

Salads are a little different here than in most restaurants because they can easily serve as an entire meal or a substantial part of a meal that you can assemble by ordering a la carte items. Salads come in a full or half size so they all tend to be somewhat large. If you want a basic salad, though, the Salata is available consisting of cucumber, tomatoes, and mixed greens (the menu lists it as their “side salad”).

Small plate of fatoosh salad

Fatoosh salad

I believe my favorite salad is the Fatoosh Salad, a mixture of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, and parsley with a lemon juice and olive oil dressing. One thing that is special about it, though, is the mixture of herbs that give it its unique flavor. Many times I prefer this salad to tabouli or other side dishes that I normally get at Middle Eastern restaurants because of its flavor and freshness that are not normally found in restaurant salads.

The menu also includes a plate of fatoosh with chicken breast or beef kafta, and this offers a more inexpensive way of ordering these items than ordering each one separately.

Greek salad

Greek salad

Normally one of my favorite salads is Greek Salad, and it is the same here. I just gravitate toward the fatoosh, though, because it is not available at many other restaurants (and Greek salads are rather common throughout Oklahoma City).

Soups

Cup of lentil soup (the bowl is even bigger!)

Cup of lentil soup

The Lentil Soup has really been my favorite item at Nunu’s since I have been coming here. The cup size is shown in the photo, and the bowl is even larger, but in either case I consider the soup as an appetizer rather than my main meal here. I try not to get too detailed in these reviews and say that you should not order the soup as a main dish, but this is only what I have found in my own experience. Definitely order the lentil soup if you can, but I like to get something else with it.

Other than ordering a cup or a bowl, though, the only way you can get lentil soup is on the veggie sampler plate (something I frequently order because of the fact that it includes the soup).

In the past Nunu’s has had other soups available as the soup of the day, and I do not know if they still do this. All of them have been good, and I would feel confident ordering anything they had.

Vegetarian Dishes

Veggie sampler plate

Veggie sampler plate with veggie cabbage roll, lentil and rice pilaf, tabouli, hummus, pita, and lentil soup

The veggie sampler plate contains most of the vegetarian items available at the restaurant (with the notable exception of falafel). The Veggie Cabbage Roll is quite good, being hand rolled with rice, tomatoes, and garbanzo beans cooked with lemon juice. Although only one cabbage roll is served, there are enough other items so that it makes a substantial meal.

Hummus is more flavorful than most, with the texture being just right. The olive oil to make hummus a good dip for the pita bread. In the early days of going to Nunu’s I thought the garlic overwhelmed the other flavors, but over time this has evolved from a good dish to a great one, with the flavorings (and not the garlic) becoming more pronounced.

Tabouli is very fresh and well balanced. There is quite a bit of competition around the city for good tabouli, but overall I think Nunu’s is the best (in fact, this is one of the best items at the restaurant).

The veggie cabbage roll is served on a bed of Lentil and Rice Pilaf, a very fresh and filling serving of this vegetable mixture with onions mixed in for flavor.

Lentil and rice pilaf plate

Lentil and rice pilaf plate

A Lentil and Rice Pilaf Plate is also available from the vegetarian menu. Although I think it is excellent, the hashwa plate (with meat) would be my normal choice instead of this one.

Falafel plate

Falafel plate

The Falafel Plate is another good vegetarian choice. However, I usually go for the falafel sandwich because it has more sauce and I think a better flavor combination.

Specialty Plates

Takeout order of the sampler plate

Sampler plate

I would say that most of the best items at Nunu’s are on their “Specialty Plates” sections of the menu. Just about all of them are on the Sampler Plate, which includes hashwa, chicken kabob, beef kafta, and a cabbage roll (with a side of tabouli, hummus, and pita).

Beef Kafta is very flavorful and has always been a standout item. One of its best features is the excellent spicing.

The Chicken Kabob was not always my favorite meat item here, but recently it has been perfectly cooked with excellent quality meat. It has enough seasoning to make it appetizing but not so much that I feel that I am being overwhelmed by garlic and other spices. I would rate it as being almost as flavorful as the kafta, but in terms of meat quality it is the same.

Hashwa plate

Hashwa plate

The menu has described Hashwa as Nunu’s signature dish, and it is used on many plates as a “bed” underneath a meat item. It consists of rice and beef cooked with clarified butter and topped with toasted almonds, but I think the spices and flavors in it are much more complex than this. A Hashwa Plate, as shown in the above photo, is also available.

Cabbage roll plate

Cabbage roll plate

I have to rate the Cabbage Roll made with beef, spices, and clarified butter, as one of the best items at Nunu’s (I know I am creating somewhat of an endless list of best items, but the cabbage rolls should be included as well). These are not only good, they are the type of cabbage roll that will make me want to return whenever possible for a “fix.” A slight sour taste makes them seem a little like German style food, but the mixture of spices is an excellent representation of Middle Eastern cooking.

Special Dishes

I think the specials may now be discontinued but this was my favorite

Eggplant casserole served as a special

Nunu’s used to have several daily specials, and I do not know if this is still the case. My favorite was the Eggplant Casserole, which I believe Janet made herself. Although I believe the old specials were discontinued along with several menu items when Janet left, it may still be worth checking for specials or asking about them if you want to try something besides the items listed on the menu.

Dessert

Baklava

Baklava

I believe Nunu’s always has two kinds of Baklava, and I sometimes notice other desserts available as well. This is one of my favorite versions of baklava in the city. (Note: they sometimes run out during evening hours).

Other Notes
I should point out that there are some other Lebanese restaurants in Oklahoma City, including Camilya’s and Jerusalem (in Edmond). All of them either have items that the others do not or they do certain items better than the other restaurants. In most of the cases the items I have identified as a “best item” at Nunu’s are also my favorite in the city, but  this is not necessarily the case for meat items (all three of these restaurants are excellent for this).


RATING: 25

Cuisine: Middle Eastern Lebanese
Cost: $$
Hours: Mon-Sat (11:00 am to 8:00 pm)
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine
Special Features: Deli & Market; Outdoor Patio

Most Recent Visit: Feb. 14, 2020

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items: Lentil Soup, Houmos, Tabouli, Cabbage Rolls, Fatoosh, Kafta, Hashwa, Baklava

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Kafta
star 5 Chicken Kabob
star 5 Hashwa
star 5 Lentils and Rice
star 5 Lentil Soup
star 5 Tomato Basil Soup
star 5 Cabbage Rolls
star 4 Veggie Cabbage Rolls
star 5 Hummus
star 5 Tabouli
star 4 Falafel
star 5 Fatoosh Salad
star 5 Greek Salad
star 5 Baklava

 

Vito’s–Oklahoma City, OK

Vito’s Ristorante
7628 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 848-4867
Vito's

Vito’s and the next door restaurant Bacon at the old location


Update 2020: Vito’s has moved to 7628 N. May. The photos in this article are from the old location at 7521 N. May Ave. The food is still the same, and takeout orders are available (and are a good option during the virus outbreak when all Oklahoma City restaurants have been ordered to close their dine-in facilities). I have included some takeout suggestions at the bottom of the article. The Sean Cummings Irish Pub is now next door to Vito’s at the new location.

With Italian restaurants I generally find one or two dishes that stand out among the rest, and which I will usually order on return visits. At a few restaurants, though, the red sauce, cheese, and overall flavor are so good I can imagine that I would enjoy just about anything served, and so far this has been the case with Vito’s Ristorante.

Located in north Oklahoma City, Vito’s is among the several Italian restaurants I would have tried simply because of its proximity to me. Fortunately, though, I also consider it one of the better choices that can be found anywhere in the city.

The emphasis at Vito’s is all on home made food from family recipes. Cathy Cummings, the owner of Vito’s, grew up in a family that operated an Italian restaurant in Kansas City, and the food at Vito’s not only reflects the family’s traditional recipes but also some of Kansas City’s notable specialty dishes such as chicken spedini. The bread, sauces, and olive oil dipping sauce are all made in house, and the food is about as close to “home cooking” as you can get.

Vito’s is open for dinner only and dinner portions are quite large. Dinners come with either soup or salad, and of course bread. Smaller dinners are also available such as Italian sausage or meatballs (they are not on the menu but Cathy suggested this to me).

Cathy’s husband operates the restaurant next door (formerly an Irish pub but now a restaurant called Bacon), and the front door of the building can take you into either restaurant. The two restaurants work together on some items (such as the bread baking), and it has been interesting to see the two restaurant concepts unfold over time (I do still miss the Irish pub, though).

Salads and Appetizers

Bread

Complimentary bread

Customers begin the meal with complimentary home made Bread. This fresh bread and olive oil dip is addictive, running the risk that you will feel nearly full before the meal even arrives.

Tomato soup

Tomato and basil soup

Many dinners come with a choice of soup or salad, and usually I find the soup to be a better choice. The Tomato and Basil Soup, for instance, was truly memorable for its flavor, freshness, and quality. The soups change daily and probably seasonally, but I was particularly impressed with this one.

Salad

Salad

Salad is a good choice as well, and as the photo demonstrates this is much more than the typical “house salad” served at many Italian restaurants. The salad at Vito’s has greens that are actually green, and the tangy dressing is quite good (although I still prefer the dressing at Papa Dio’s).

Lasagna

Lasagna

Lasagna

One of my favorite dishes at Vito’s has been the Lasagna, a wonderful concoction of beef and pork meatballs, pasta, cheese, and sauce that is not quite like any other lasagna dish I have tried. The meatballs are cooked into the sauce, but would be easy to remove if you are a vegetarian. To me, though, this is definitely one of the best parts of the dish. So far this is the best lasagna I have found in OKC.

Chicken Dishes

Chicken marsala

Chicken marsala

The Chicken Marsala was frankly not my favorite dish here, but it impressed me by having a better flavor than the cream sauces I have tried in many other restaurants.

Chicken scaloppine

Chicken scaloppine

Chicken Scalloppine is a relatively recent addition to the menu, and originally only veal was served. However, the mushrooms, capers, olives, and lemon butter sauce are really too good to be kept to only one dish, and I thought the chicken version was a definite winner. This dish was a good balance of flavors, and is a good alternative to the red sauce dishes (but you don’t have to miss out on the red sauce because it is served with pasta on the side).

The Chicken Parmesan was excellent as well, with tender chicken and a light sauce. The parmesan cheese slices lightly melted on top contributed as much as anything to the excellent quality of the dish (as they do with the eggplant dish).

Spaghetti

Spaghetti and meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs were memorable not only for the meatballs, but also for the sauce. The meat seemed to be the same as the one used in the lasagna, only formed into larger balls (two meatballs were served with the order). The sauce had thick chunks of tomatoes and vegetables that made it delicious and filling. It had a noticeable sweet flavor, but I think it is the same sauce used in all the dishes at Vito’s. It just seemed sweeter with the spaghetti due to a lack of distractions such as cheese that would offset the sauce’s flavor. A generous amount of basil was used, but this seems to be the case with all the dishes at Vito’s. I was particularly impressed with the spaghetti for being a very satisfying dish with no cheese (although the server will add parmesan cheese if desired).

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant parmesan

Eggplant parmesan

The Eggplant Parmesan is one of the best in the city, and on an earlier menu it was listed as “Vito’s specialty” (now there are three dishes listed as specialties). I think the eggplant truly qualifies as a specialty because they have everything down right, including the breading, the eggplant, and the sauce. This is one of the two or three eggplant parmesan dishes in the city that I think is definitely worth trying. Of special note is the fact that Vito’s has avoided the temptation to overcook the eggplant.

One further note is that I frequently share this dish and I feel that the quantity is more than adequate for two persons (but when sharing I order an extra soup or salad).

Kansas City Specialties

Italian sausage

Italian sausage

Italian Sausage is one of the items at Vito’s that is well known for being authentic and one of the best examples that can be found in Oklahoma City. Since some time passed between sampling the meatballs and the Italian sausage, I cannot say for sure which is better. It seemed, though, that both were excellent. The spices in the Italian sausage were so unique that this appears to be the reason the sausage is especially sought out. The sausage shown in the photo was a side serving, and it is available in the number of pieces desired or on a dinner.

Chicken spedini

Chicken spedini

The Italian sausage is one of the several specialties Cathy brought from Kansas City, and which is popular in the restaurants there. Another is the Chicken Spedini, a breaded and highly seasoned grilled chicken dish with no tomato sauce, but which comes with a side of pasta that gives a balance of flavors. I enjoyed this dish not only because of the flavor, but also because it is not often I find something I like to order at Italian restaurants that is a departure from the normal dishes served at every restaurant.

Desserts

Spumoni

Spumoni

Vito’s does not have as many dessert choices as other Italian restaurants (I think it is because very few customers ever have room for dessert). One that is good, though, is the Spumoni ice cream which is much like the three-flavored Neapolitan ice cream found at ice cream shops (except that these flavors are a little different).

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

If your appetite can handle, it, though, I really recommend the Chocolate Cake which is so rich I think one piece can be shared by everyone at your table no matter how many are at the table.

Takeout Orders

House salad for takeout

House salad for takeout

Dinners come with soup or salad, and the house salad is usually my choice.

Caesar salad

Caesar salad

I think this is one of the best Caesar salads in town.

Eggplant parmesan for takeout

Eggplant parmesan for takeout

Eggplant parmesan is one of the House Specialties, and is one of my favorite dishes.

Takeout order of ravioli

Takeout order of ravioli

Ravioli does not have broccoli or pasta on the side, but it does come with a salad. This is a good choice for takeout because it keeps well and reheats well (in case you cannot eat all of this at one sitting as I seem to not be able to do).

Takeout order of chicken scaloppine

Takeout order of chicken scaloppine

Chicken scaloppine is one of my favorite items here.

All of the items I have tried for takeout have had the same flavor and quality as in the restaurant. Cathy provides her home made bread to go with the meals (just as you get in the restaurant).

I think the ravioli is a good choice if you want to reheat the dinner and get more than one meal out of it (I did not get to try the chicken scaloppine as a leftover so I do not know how it comes out). With the eggplant parmesan the only thing that I thought suffered as a leftover was the texture of the eggplant (eggplant is not one of my favorite vegetables to begin with, but I do like the way Cathy makes it).

Closing Comments
Vito’s is a small family run operation, and it is obvious that much care is taken to assure high quality. Probably the biggest drawback is that the menu is smaller than other Italian restaurants, but there is no shortage of good choices. Some items have been added over time, and if you don’t see what you want chances are that they can still cook it for you. Pizza is really the only item I might have expected the restaurant to have that is not served.

Vito’s is a dinner-only restaurant (in 2008 it began serving lunch but this has now been discontinued). I like the limited hours, though, because this is one way they maintain the high quality (and every time I have gone I have seen Cathy there).

Wine is available from the wine list or the house wines. My information also says they have a full bar, but I am not sure about this.

The bottom line about Vito’s is that it and Papa Dio’s are my favorite Italian restaurants in the city. I order different items at each restaurant, though (here it is usually eggplant parmesan and at Papa Dio’s it is usually chicken cacciatore or a pasta dish with cacciatore sauce). In my opinion these two restaurants are co-winners of the chicken parmesan contest.


RATING: 25

Cuisine: Italian
Cost: $$$
Hours: Dinner only (closed Sun.)
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Wine

Most Recent Visit: Feb. 12, 2020
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Eggplant Parmesan, Lasagna, Chicken Parmesan, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Italian Sausage, Chicken Scaloppine, Chocolate Cake

Special Ratings
star 5 Eggplant Parmesan
star 5 Chicken Parmesan
star 5 Chicken Scaloppine
star 5 Lasagna
star 5 Spaghetti and Meatballs
star 5 Chicken Spedini
star 5 Italian Sausage
star 5 Spaghetti and Meatballs
star 4 Chicken Marsala
star 5 Tomato Soup
star 4 Salad
star 5 Chocolate Cake

Menu (Oct. 2016):

Braum’s Ice Cream (Rockwell Ave.)–Oklahoma City, OK

Braum’s Ice Cream & Dairy Store
10920 N. Rockwell Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 722-8126
Braum's at Rockwell & Hefner

Braum’s in northwest Oklahoma City


Many people who live in the area where there is a Braum’s remember the television commercials featuring Ernest, a character who was not entirely aware of his surroundings or how he should act towards other people, but who had enough savvy to recognize the excellent ice cream that was served. I do not think many people needed to be reminded that a Braum’s store was located in just about every town and neighborhood throughout Oklahoma and surrounding areas, but even those who did not have ice cream on their shopping list might remember how much they enjoyed some of the other items sold in the store or served from the grills found at each location.

Based in Tuttle, Oklahoma, Braum’s is probably as well known for its hamburgers as its dairy products. The milk, eggs, and other dairy products are produced on its farm, and the beef used in the hamburgers comes from the farm as well. Some items sold do not have the Braum’s label, but most are produced by the company and sold exclusively in its stores.

The company has built other stores in about a 300 mile radius from central Oklahoma, ensuring that everything sold has the same standard of freshness and quality. I have purchased items in several Braum’s locations in western Oklahoma and Texas, and I believe that there is really no difference in the stores regardless of where they are located.

With such a wide variety of items produced, there will of course be both hits and misses. I think some of the best items in the store are the ice cream, milk, butter, bread, and pimiento cheese spread. The misses involve some of the ice cream flavors, some types of bread, and definitely some of the grilled items from the restaurant. I do not expect everyone to have the same tastes as I do, but I will provide my experiences with the items I have tried.

The Restaurant
The location at Rockwell and Hefner in northwest Oklahoma City was recently rebuilt, with the new store and restaurant opening in 2017. The old one had been there at least since the 1980’s and was probably in need of upgrading (the major problem I saw was that it was too small to stock some of the items I found at other Braum’s locations).

The former building

The old Braum’s before it was remodeled

While the consistency maintained by Braum’s is definitely a good factor for the stores, it may or may not be a positive where the restaurant is concerned. You know what you are going to get at their grill (which I think barely qualifies as a fast food restaurant). On the other hand, there is no room for local stores to add items or change the menu in any way.

Grilled chicken with green chile

Grilled chicken with green chile was a special Braum’s was offering

Knowing that all stores serve the same food, though, I can say that the best item I have found is the Grilled Chicken. From time to time they have offered it with green chile, which makes it even better, but I do think the chicken sandwich is fairly good in itself. The Chicken Club Sandwich is a good choice from the menu they have all the time.

Crispy chicken sandwich

Crispy chicken sandwich

I did not care for the one that was battered (Crispy Chicken Sandwich) compared to the one that was grilled.

It has been a number of years since I tried the hamburgers at Braum’s. I used to like them (compared to many I have had in other areas of the country), but comments from my family and on line indicate that they are not what they used to be. I have not tried them since the time when everyone noticed a change in them.

The French Fries are fairly good, and I do not think there is anything that especially distinguishes them as being especially good or bad.

Chicken salad

Apple cranberry walnut chicken salad

I took a picture of the Apple Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad. The person who ordered it did not think it was especially good, but I cannot say from personal experience.

Drinks
I used to be a big fan of the Limeade made at the fountain, but the ones lately have seemed to be lacking the flavor they should have.

Limeade

Limeade

What I would recommend in terms of flavor is the Milk Shake, although I have found better ones at other restaurants (such as Johnnie’s).

Ice Cream

One of Braum's many ice cream flavors

Pumpkin ice cream is sold seasonally

There are two ways to get ice cream at Braum’s. Cartons are available in the store to take home, or you can order individual scoops from the counter. The majority of flavors are rotated either seasonally (such as the pumpkin) or at a seemingly random schedule throughout the year. The most popular flavors (vanilla, chocolate, lime sherbet, etc.) are available all the time. I have quite a few favorite flavors, but when ordering individual scoops I like to get the combination of chocolate and orange sherbet.

Hot fudge sundae

Hot fudge sundae

Some fancier ice cream desserts are available from the counter, such as sundaes and the banana split. The Hot Fudge Sundae is a customer favorite that I also think is very good.

Brownie fudge sundae

Brownie fudge sundae

The Brownie Fudge Sundae, though is my personal favorite. The brownie on the bottom makes it taste somewhat like an ice cream cake, except the chocolate flavor makes it better than most.

Molten lava cake

Molten lava cake

The Molten Lava Cake is a “double dip” sundae, like the brownie fudge sundae (with two scoops of ice cream), so like the brownie fudge it might be something that would be best to share (I would either do this or plan to take some of it home).

Strawberry mix

Strawberry mix in vanilla yogurt

The Mix is prepared somewhat like a milk shake, except that it is meant to be eaten as a dessert. You can get a choice of drinks (such as ice cream or yogurt in various flavors) with various ingredients added (anything from strawberry to Oreo cookies). I like these best either when freshly served or when they are just barely thawing out after being stored in the freezer at home (in other words, cold to partially frozen).

The Store
While the sundaes are treats that I am able to enjoy occasionally, items from the store are part of my regular menu, at least while I am within 300 miles of Braum’s farm in Tuttle, Oklahoma. Although I am not sure if Braum’s makes their own bread, the Braum’s stores are the only place I can buy it. My favorite is Braum’s Raisin Bread, which is usually part of my breakfast. I think the flavor is excellent, with a generous amount of walnuts and just a touch of cinnamon. I will note, though, that the bread is sweetened with corn oil and it contains a number of other additives that I think I would prefer to keep to a minimum. I am finding several other raisin breads that I also like and seem to be healthier, but for flavor the one at Braum’s is really my favorite.

Nine Grain Bread

Nine Grain Bread

I do not have quite as much of a glowing review of the Nine Grain Bread, but it is equally a part of my grocery shopping since I find it to be a good bread for most sandwiches. I do find better bread in stores such as Sprouts, but these tend to have a short shelf life while the nine grain from Braum’s lasts long enough that I can usually use most of the loaf.

For a while Braum’s discontinued the nine grain bread along with a couple of others and introduced some new breads to replace them. I never became a fan of the new breads (which they call Artisan Bread), and after a while they started selling the old ones again (and continue to do so).

Pimiento spread

Pimiento spread

Price’s pimiento spread is very popular in El Paso and became a favorite of mine, but when I am in Braum’s territory I prefer to get their version (one that I think has a better flavor and more “kick” to it from the pimientos).

Tamales

Tamales

The frozen Tamales sold by Braum’s are ones that I would probably describe as average, although I did think the red chile used for flavoring was pretty good. The masa was not soggy and had a good texture. The chile was about 3 out of 5 on my “chile scale.”

Because Braum’s has its own farm this gives me extra confidence to buy their milk, butter, and eggs. I cannot say the flavor is really any better than anyone else’s but I do think it is better to get dairy products (and meat) that does not come out of the standard factory farm and feedlot system.

Braum’s uses its own beef for the hamburgers it serves, but they explained that the beef sold in their market comes from other producers (but they have the same standards Braum’s uses on its farm).

Additional Comments
Although I find ways to live without Braum’s when I am not in Oklahoma, it is certainly something I like to have when I can. Braum’s sells both its own products and ones from other companies in its stores, but Braum’s name brands are the ones that I go out of my way to get. With some items, such as the ice cream, it is just that it is good, convenient, and comes in such a wide variety of flavors that it never gets boring. Most items are well priced, and they have frequent sales on the ice cream.

I do have some issues with the Braum’s company (in contrast to its products). For instance, when the Rockwell store was being remodeled the surrounding stores were frequently out of my favorite items (such as the raisin bread). I think the company failed to account for the fact that the customers from the Rockwell store would be shopping at the other stores, and they did not keep a large enough inventory of items. I certainly questioned the decision to discontinue the nine grain bread (it was brought back by popular demand).

The Braum’s fountain desserts (such as the brownie fudge sundae) are some of the best desserts I have found in the OKC area.

On a recent trip to Louisiana I found that they were planning to open a new store in Longview, Texas (I think near the edge of their 300-mile radius for their service area), and it is good to know that there are now more stores than in the past. I also like that the stores are now larger and have room for more flavors of ice cream, etc.


RATING: N/R

Cuisine: Ice Cream/ Sandwiches
Cost: $
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No
Additional Locations: Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas

Most Recent Visit: Feb. 7, 2020
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Ice Cream, Sundaes, Raisin Bread, Pimiento Spread, Chicken Club Sandwich

Special Ratings
star 5 Ice Cream
star 4 Chicken Club Sandwich
star 4 Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Hatch Green Chile
star 2 Crispy Chicken Sandwich
star 3 Pork Tamales
star 4 French Fries
star 4 Milk Shake
star 5 Brownie Fudge Sundae
star 5 Molten Lava Cake
star 5 Strawberry Mix