R Bar is a Trendy Brookside Bar with Incredible Food

By on February 17, 2012

It was Saturday and the prime time of the night, but Brookside was deserted. Bar after empty bar, all dismal and dreary, and then I wandered into R at the corner of 34th. Oh the place was packed! I could barely squeeze in the door. Sultry svelte women in those little black dresses and pearls, well-groomed guys (what a rarity!), a loud happy buzz in the air. It was the kind of place I wanted to stay a while. It took some doing but I got a seat at the marble-topped bar.

(No I’m not the guy in the photo.) The liquor selection was amazing. I saw Chartreuse and lots of premium Scotch (including Johnny Walker Blue) rum tequila whatever you can think of. Lots of great tap beers too: microbrews and some great hefeweizen from Germany. Soon I had a nice big shot of Booker’s Bourbon ($8) in my hand. That’s about my favorite drink but I see it so rarely. I knew it was going to be a good night.

It’s easy to have a good night at R bar. It’s always a good sign when the owners are always around and even better when they’re not afraid to get their hands dirty. That guy behind the bar? As likely as not it’s Josh Royal. He used to manage White Owl back when Curt Herrman’s cooking made it the best restaurant in town. He once told a magazine that if he were an animal he’d want to be a lion because lions always protect their family. Here at R, you’re his family and he’ll make sure you’re treated right. That guy in the cap carrying a huge load of dirty dishes? That’s Bill Grant. He’s an owner too. Former owner of one of the region’s biggest insurance brokers, still on the board of directors of a lot of downtown companies, he wanted to try something new. Then there’s Trevor Tack. He’s a very important member of the team. He’s the chef.

You don’t expect a trendy bar to have incredible food, but R Bar does. Trevor was executive chef at SoChey and at the well-reviewed Main Street Tavern. You’ll never see him on Saturday night because he is busy in the kitchen but if you go around 5 or 6 on a weekday evening he might come by your table to say hello and make sure the food is fine.  Early on a weekday evening is a good time to stop by for dinner. It’s not packed wall to wall and there are even empty tables but there are enough people so you’re not alone.

Chicken with waffles, that’s one of my favorite dishes, said Trevor. And the pork chop is great too. He’s proud of his food and he has reason to be. Which to get? In the end, we got both, and the meatloaf too. Here they are. Look how happy we are!

And with good reason. Let’s take a closer look. Here’s the chicken.

Chicken & Waffles ($13). Buttermilk fried boneless breast; oh how I wish it had been bone-on thighs and drumsticks but a good frying job nonetheless. Great waffles, rosemary-infused maple syrup, a nice slice of bacon. A fine dish, but next time I’ll order this.

Pork Chop ($16) with cherry bordelaise. Betty got that and she couldn’t stop raving about it. Great flavor, great beans, she said and I envied her. I did manage to snag a bite and it was incredibly tender. Cathe got the meatloaf ($14).

Brisket and sirloin blend, says the menu, and it yielded an unusually rich fine flavor. The demi-glace was fine too and frizzled leeks were a nice accompaniment.

On an earlier visit — yes, I’ve been to R quite a few times, mainly on Saturday — I had the ale-braised short ribs ($15). Big hunks of meat, impossibly tender, and topped with onion jam and a demi-glace. That’s a fine choice too. And so I’ve had just about all the main dishes on the menu, though Trevor says he hopes to expand the selection and offer daily special entrees, as elaborate as he can get away with. Most of the menu caters to drinkers, offering an extensive selection of appetizers, pizzas, salads, sandwiches, burgers and more. But if you go without ordering some of the entrees, you’re missing something fine. And don’t forget dessert! You can get these addictive maple-soaked Donut Holes ($6)

and sometimes these luscious strawberries.

R Bar & Grill
3421 S Peoria
918-724-5555
Open daily from 11 AM until 2 AM
I believe that people under 21 are allowed provided they don’t sit at the bar.

Menu: http://www.facebook.com/RBarandGrillTulsa?sk=app_117784394919914

Beer selection: http://www.facebook.com/RBarandGrillTulsa?sk=app_166855516707273

Brian Schwartz: Author

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society.  www.theomegasociety.com

I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola.

“A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

Brian Schwartz

About Brian Schwartz

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society. www.theomegasociety.com I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola. “A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

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