Western Avenue Dining
The Metro has been a leader on the Oklahoma City food scene for more than 25 years. Owner LaVeryl Lower curates one of the best wine lists in the city, and a typically for this part of the country, refuses to place televisions in her restaurant. If you're looking for a romantic dinner or a business lunch, The Metro is ideal.
The lunch and dinner menus change seasonally, but there are some standards that remain from season to season. Start your meal with the Metro Smoked Salmon, served with toast points, mustard, capers and onions. The texture is denser than smoked salmon at most restaurants, but the flavor is outstanding. For a dinner appetizer, the lamb potstickers and mushroom ravioli are absolute musts. The potstickers are served with tamarind ketchup, and we dare you not to dunk the Metro's delicious rolls in this utterly unique condiment.
One of those lunch standards is the curried chicken salad. Regulars simply won't allow Lower to take it off the menu. It's light and flavorful, and served with greens. Locals also love the Poached Pear, Stilton & Walnut salad, served with balsamic vinegar and EVOO. Build-your-own 3-egg omelettes are available at every lunch. For the main course, The Metro does fish better than almost every place in the city. Lunch portions are slightly smaller than dinner, but equally delicious.
The dinner menu is a combination of classic Continental and American cuisine. Locals rave about the veal liver and onions, and the parmesan risotto is an excellent choice always. For dessert, people drive in from way out of town just for the bread pudding, so don't skip it. The Metro also has a nice selection of dessert wines if you are so inclined.
Lunch is served Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and dinner begins daily at 5:30, and ends at 9 p.m. Sunday, 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
The best of the East meets the best of the West at Sushi Neko, a sushi bar and robata (grilling) restaurant. Have someone in your party who simply can't deal with sushi? No problem at Sushi Neko. They have chicken, salmon and steak. If you love sushi and other Japanese cuisine, there is plenty to love here. The lunch menu is a scaled down version of dinner, but both have excellent choices for sushi lovers and haters.
Start with Negi Maki, ribeye steak rolled around spinach and scallions, or Magura Goma Tataki, seared tuna served with a hot, spicy ginger sesame sauce. The heat is not off-putting. The Lobster Shooters--lobster balls with curry coconut sauce--are a nice middle ground to make both sides happy in the East vs West debate. For diners comfortable with Japanese cuisine, the gyoza and tempura are excellent, and the spicy miso soup is not to be missed.
The sushi menu is diverse, with some familiar rolls as well as some of Sushi Neko's own twists, hand-rolled selections, nigiri and dinner combinations. Sashimi Specials include salmon, tuna and yellowtail options, and adventurous diners can choose the sashimi dinner--eleven pieces of sliced, raw fish (chef's choice on this one). The Neko Specials section contains the local variations on fusion sushi. Try the Cajun, featuring crawfish, spicy sausage and masa go, or local favorite the Dynamite Stick with crab and nuclear sauce.
Sushi Neko has a full bar and an excellent selection of sake. They are open 11 to 11 Monday through Thursday, and 11 to midnight on Friday and Saturday.
West is modern American food served in an upscale casual environment. The three menus--brunch, lunch and dinner--feature American classics, modern twists, and some of the city's best vegetarian and vegan options. It's rare to find a restaurant so good with beef and pork that also does vegan well, but ask locals where they go for vegan nachos, and they'll tell you West.
Start lunch with the house-made West chips, served with Bleu cheese and balsamic. They're an addictive snack served as is, but you might as well add bacon for a small up charge. The chicken chili verde soup is a house specialty. It comes with a cornbread muffin, sour cream and mozzarella. Both lunch and dinner feature pasta, seafood, steaks and chops, and sandwiches are available at lunch, including Johnnie's burgers, the local charbroil burger restaurants that are also owned by proprietors Rick and David Haynes. The individual meatloaf--a blend of pork, veal and beef-- and the fish tacos are local favorites.
For dinner, start with the seared ahi tuna served with tempura asparagus. Without exaggeration, it might be the best ahi tuna dish in Oklahoma City. Don't skip the onion rings. They come as a side, but they make an excellent starter, too. If you are a vegetarian, the risotto, served with a red wine sauce and fresh seasonal vegetables, will make you forget there is no meat in the bowl. West has a Prime filet and ribeye, and there is no reason not to top either with the crab scampi. The steaks come with two sides, so you'll want the West Mac and Cheese to be one of those.
West has a full bar, and it's beautiful. The wine list is outstanding, and the craft cocktails are some of the most original and inventive in the metro. West serves brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Lunch begins at 11a.m. Monday through Friday, and they close at 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and at 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Author: Greg Horton