The Reserve at Grogg’s Green Barn is Hyper-Local

By on September 21, 2018


A few weeks ago I enjoyed one of my favorite meals of the year so far. There were 10 sold out seats at the chef’s counter at The Reserve at Grogg’s Green Barn. I found myself sitting with a lively, boisterous, and slightly tipsy family group. None of them had ever experienced modern haute cuisine before, so I knew they were in for a real treat. We watched as Chef Matt Owen prepared to wow us all! Grogg’s Green barn is a locally owned and operated garden center. And The Reserve is their restaurant that offers an ever changing menu that revolves around all 4 seasons and the ingredients harvested on site. It doesn’t any more fresh than that!

After welcoming us all, Chef Matt began cooking and interacting with the group about each dish,

“My mom’s Cherokee and she told me that back in the day, people would pound hickory nuts in a big wooden bowl and dry it. This would make a porridge that would get them through the winter. It’s called Kanuchi. This dessert is an homage to that. There’s a panna cotta on bottom. I smoked the cream. Yes, you can smoke cream if you put it in a shallow container and blow smoke on it, let it rest, repeat. There’s dots of pecan cream, corn cakes toasted with a blowtorch, and minced pears poached in champagne.”

Next a delicious pork belly dish was plated up and Matt continued,

“I’m trying to be a bit less Eurocentric and serve things native to the Americas. Amaranth was a big part of the Aztec diet. It’s a pseudo-cereal; what you eat is the seed. I’ve made it into a cake and on top is an egg yolk from 413 Farm, sous-vided to 64 degrees Centigrade. The pork belly is from Prairie Creek Farms, slow-roasted in the oven. Yes, I love Nathanael and Angela. The sauce is made by juicing a sweet potato!”

Chef is definitely not afraid to push the limits of creativity.

“Ever had a chicken liver cookie?” Chef asked. “Well, I bet I can make you love them! This is what I call an Oaxacan macaron. It has chocolate, almond, cumin and chicken liver mousse.” Chef was right, we loved them.

You had me at Oaxacan,” I said. “This whole meal has twisted my mind!” said one of the sons in the family I was sitting with, ”But in a good way.”

“Here are leaves, shoots, sprouts, all from the greenhouse. Some are bitter, some sweet, some crunchy, all fun. The long ones are dandelion greens. Crazy bitter but delicious. The little round ones, Cuban oregano.”

And boy did those have a punch. “It’s like foraging on another planet,” I said.

A big part of the dining experience is watching Chef Matt creatively “play” with the ingredients he has at his finger tips right in front of you.

“Okay all these dishes are me screwing around to see what I can do. I’ll start with something uncomplicated. Most people say their grandma makes the world’s best biscuits. Well, my biscuits really ARE the best! Okay, they’re pretty good.”

And they were good, so good I forgot to take a photo of the plate, which featured homemade butter flavored with herbs from the greenhouse. I did get pictures of him plating the dish, and his hands move so fast it’s a blur.

If you get an opportunity to dine at The Reserve Chef’s Counter certainly don’t pass it up. You will find it to be worth every penny, and more.

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. 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.