Vast is on the 49th floor of the Devon Tower, and while that certainly provides an excellent view of central Oklahoma, Chef Kurt Fleischfresser said he doesn’t hang his hat on the view.
“This would be an excellent restaurant if it was on the ground,” he said. Fleischfresser is Oklahoma’s most decorated chef, and he manages the operations at Vast. That includes hiring the best chefs and front-of-house staff the city had to offer when he took over in 2014.
Oklahoma cuisine is a hodgepodge of different styles because people came from all over the country to participate in the Land Rush. Fleischfresser, who is a classically trained chef, works with Executive Chef Patrick Williams to construct a menu that respects Oklahoma’s culinary history while stretching diners to try more adventurous options, like bone marrow, octopus and skate wing. Steaks, seafood, chops, chicken and salads fill out the menu; there is something for everyone, vegetarians included.
Vast has two signature dishes: Seared Gulf Shrimp and Rack of Lamb. The first is Fleischfresser’s Oklahoma take on shrimp and grits—his specialty is New Orleans/Gulf States cuisine. Instead of grits, Vast serves the plump, seared shrimp with sweet potato polenta, and it’s finished off with smoked paprika butter.
For the rack of lamb, the chefs first smoke the ribs, and then sear them off to order. The effect is a combination of the mild gaminess expected from domestic lamb and delicious smoky goodness. The loin is included with the ribs, meaning the dish is very satisfying.
Guests at Vast quickly discover that the restaurant is only one option in a complex of services. The bar is stunning, and the wine list is remarkable—Fleischfresser has one of the most respected wine palates in the state. Bar guests face away from the view, but the comfortable furniture throughout the lounge is placed to facilitate beautiful views day or night.
Yes, day, too, because Vast has an excellent lunch option. Rather than serve an a la carte lunch from the menu, the chefs prepare a “daily table” that includes two carving stations, fresh seafood, plenty of sides, and all of the restaurant’s made-in-house pastries.
For the sporty crowd—or just if you feel like dressing down—the cocktail lounge is open after 4 pm. The full menu is available, and televisions are tuned to sporting events, especially our Oklahoma City Thunder during the season. Ballcaps are welcome in the cocktail lounge, but the rest of Vast is casual to dressy but torn clothing, ballcaps, and what Fleischfresser calls “gym wear” are not permitted.
“We want all of our guests to enjoy the excellent food, service and view,” he said, “so we have a pretty basic dress code. Still, it’s Oklahoma, so casual is fine.”
Accessing Vast can be a bit confusing, so Fleishfresser recommends using the valet service on the north side of the Devon Tower on Harvey Avenue. Guests at the Colcord can simply walk through the concourse to access the elevators. The bar and cocktail lounges open at 4pm Monday through Saturday, and dinner begins at 5pm. Dinner ends at 10pm on weeknights and 10:30pm on weekends, but the bar remains open until midnight on weekends if you want a nightcap and a gorgeous view of the city.