(Throughout the month of February, every Thursday TLO will celebrate and highlight various Black-owned eateries across the OKC Metro. – Louis)
“What are you taking pictures of?” the hostess asked me as I snapped a couple of pictures of the Bistro 46 dining room.
“He’s reviewing your excellent restaurant!” TLO editor Patrick, who accompanied me, chimed in.
“Not so fast…” she said. “It may not be all that good!”
And with that pithy exchange, I knew that I was going to fall in culinary love with Bistro 46, 2501 N.E. 23rd. But, once you’ve actually sampled their wares, it’s really not that hard to. Underneath the ethereal glow of heat-lamps and sneeze-guards, the glistening food on the silver serving-trays noticeably winked at us as we walked in.
Looking genuinely seductive, they were obviously offering a selection of homegrown flavors. But while the food might be a mix of truly down-home classics, the urbane surroundings of the place display a sophisticated sensibility that would easily impress any afternoon date, business client or, Lord forbid, someone like me looking for likeable lunch-fare.
Open for lunch on Thursday and Friday, Bistro 46 has a set menu of what they call Lunchbox Specials; in the lunch-line they offer Tuscan chicken and smothered pork chops, but I went for the fried fish while Patrick immediately claimed the fried chicken. Also included in every meal, by the way, are two sides, cornbread and a drink, all for an admirable $7.99.
Making ourselves comfortable, Patrick went full-bore into his fried chicken, commenting how lightly battered and delicious it was before offering me a drumstick; a little bit of heated oil spurted off to the side as I bit into his volunteered piece of heaven. He thoroughly enjoyed his sides as well, the solid mashed potatoes that were loaded with chives and the very popular black-eyed peas.
Too tempting to turn them away, I ordered the black-eyed peas as well. With compact chunks of pork flavoring the plump peas, their wonderful acridity went hand in hand with my other side, the cabbage; it’s a soggy vegetable that generally gets no love, but Bistro 46’s is nothing but. Mixing it up with my jalapeno cornbread, it was a lighter than expected meal.
But my fish…expertly drenched in corn meal and then fried to an addictively yellow hue, these five or six cuts of catfish reminded me how much I love Oklahoma’s favorite fish and how I never get it as much as I’d like to in this unfair world. Dipping a forkful in just a bit of tartar sauce, when the hostess came by to fill our water cups, I made sure to let her know that this place really is "all that good." Cómpralo ya!