For some reason, I thought the bailiwick of the Winston, 106 W. Main, in Norman, was a mere dive, no more, no less.
You know, the kind with the torn felt on the uneven pool table, microwavable tater tots and warm chili in the kitchen area, and, of course, a time-worn poster of a 1987 nameless Coors beer model swaying in the reconditioned breeze. I’ve been there and I know you’ve been there.
But most contrary to my popular belief, the Winston it is a thoughtful piece of ribald Britannia in Norman, right down to the diplomatic mascot, Winston Churchill, casually lounging in a leatherbound set-piece. But more than that, the food they serve is more than incredible.
I decided on the Winston for an early dinner late last week.
Like an anglified Dorothy coming out of a dilapidated house into the magical kingdom of Oz, my friend and I were taken into an exclusive subgenre of dining, as the well-suited waitstaff provided us with everything needed from most chilled water to very recommended entrees.
As the pattern of conversation took up the whole dynamic, much like Churchill himself, I became quite civilized with my order, metaphorically lighting pound notes and saying things like “Bully to you, Jeeves!”
Before ordering at smart bulldog for the table, the wonderland of Piccadilly Circus arrived as an appetizer.
I went with the Crispy Ducks Wings ($12.00) and they are truly magnificent, as long as you hold no grudges against our fine feathered friends at the aviary.
The thick-sauced duck-limbs were smothered in green onions, sesame seeds, and hoisin-soy sauce, with the taste of sriracha-sweet chili flying away to an abundance of pure flavor. And though this was an appetizer to be sure, it has a direct collar of a main platter, one of the best.
As I gnawed on my thick duck, my date introduced herself to the Super Toast ($13.00), which was, well, super.
On sourdough bread, avocado spread is mated with premium cheddar, bacon, herb mayo, lots of greens, and grape tomatoes tossed in lemon vinaigrette, all with a fried egg.
By Jove, the toast was very scrumptious! The fresh avocado and somewhat salty bacon layered atop toasted sourdough bread made for a scandalous treat.
For my main entree, I went with the deciduousness of the Chicken Fried Quail and Grits ($20.00).
In the sportsman’s club with father and Mr. Buckingham, the entrée features lightly-dusted quail legs, with jalapeno-cheddar grits, along with Enrique’s hot honey and a sunny-side egg for show.
As the egg cradled the well-done spicy grits and its flame-retardant side showing, this wonderfully-cooked quail was completely audacious for its outré taste and uncommon flavor. With a little dash of peppery spice, this dish is worth toasting with a round of Glenlivet, all in the city of Norman.
Very high on this high-class meal, we ended things with the lush Ricotta Fritters ($6.00).
Topped with Mexican chocolate, it was delicious and rich and, in the English way, seemed to rot out my fillings on the spot – the perfect backbone to this very dominant meal.