It’s a farm fresh focus at R-Bar & Grill

By on November 29, 2016

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Chef Trey Winkle has rolled out a few new additions to the menu that give every indication that winter is approaching quickly. These new dishes take their direction from Mother Nature, relying on local farms for ingredients. Winkle’s mélange of vegetables in each dish represents the autumnal bounty of Oklahoma, featuring dark, leafy greens and bright fall squashes. Winkle will be running specials that allow him to be more creative with seasonal ingredients, using what is on hand or what has been harvested.

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The afternoon we stopped in, Winkle prepared a thick-cut pork chop from 38 Ranch, a family-owned ranch in Meeker, OK known for their grass-fed meats. A velvety ribbon of acorn squash puree underlines the pork, both in appearance and flavor. The broccoli was a radiant green accompanied by rainbow carrot and white discs of pickled kohlrabi. These beautiful accompaniments all hail from Progressive Farms, right down the road in Bixby, OK.

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The Braised Short Rib was a decadent bowl of hearty, beefy heft. The layers of beef easily fell from the bone, but maintained its tumescence. The roasted cauliflower and confetti of organic collard greens and roasted turnip floated in a rich broth. The cauliflower handily replaced mashed potatoes in this dish, adding a more interesting texture and more dimension of flavor.

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The decadence continued, with a Confit Duck Leg, surrounded by Lacinato kale, butternut squash, Michigan sour cherries, Seikel’s mustard vinaigrette and toasted spicy-sweet pecans. The duck absorbed a healthy dose of salinity from the brining process, then acquired a crispy skin after its high-heat bubble bath in duck fat. This dish is meant to be eaten together, meaning, load up your fork. It’s an easy task to loosen a bit of the tender duck from the bone, then skewer on a cherry, layer it with the kale. The saltiness of the duck wraps around the elegant bitterness of the kale, and melds with the tartness of the cherry.

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Chef Winkle uses a lighter hand with autumn flavors with the new salads. Though a Fried Green Tomato Salad may not be the healthiest salad, it is no less delicious. The green tomatoes preserve their tartness through the light batter and lay atop greens and cherry tomatoes from Dry Creek Refuge, a farm about 70 miles east of Tulsa. The red onion jam sliced handily through all the grassy flavors. The long slices of red onions kept their boldness, even though the cooking process and added sweetness mellowed their spiciness. Squares of mozzarella from LOMAH Dairy dotted the salad and lent a balancing creamy element.

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The Chicken Caesar Salad was a beautiful presentation, with large leaves of romaine lettuce – lightly dressed with a subtle Caesar dressing – accompanied by an entire bulb of roasted garlic and shaved parmesan. The lightly-grilled chicken breast is from Crystal Lake Farms, an all-organic farm in Arkansas that humanely raises their chickens. The chicken was mildly seasoned, but slathering a buttery clove of roasted garlic on each bite was divine.

R-Bar still has a menu full of fan favorites, and even has specials on Mondays ($5 Burgers!) and Tuesdays ($5 Tacos!). They are open for lunch and host one of the best brunches in town, with one of the more robust beer selections around.

Angela Evans

About Angela Evans

Angela Evans has been digging deep into the booming restaurant scene of Tulsa since 2010. Her foray into food journalism began with The Urban Tulsa Weekly, but soon expanded to write for TulsaPeople and The Tulsa Voice. Her quirky but informative take on cuisine earned her a Tulsa Press Club Newsie for “Best Critic” in 2014. Finding those hidden gems around town is her passion, as she searches high and low for the best fried chicken or the newest spot to woo your beloved. She also loves shining the spotlight on the chefs, farmers and restauranteurs who keep Tulsa’s cuisine scene vibrant and diverse. After a brief stint out West, she has returned to Oklahoma and has brought her appetite with her. So join Tulsa's own bon vivant on her epicurean adventures.

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