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Upscale, Down-home Cooking & Fun Decor at Caz’s Chowhouse
I wanted great food. But Cathe had her teenage daughter in town, and she was bringing an exchange student who had just flown over from Japan, so she wanted a fun place. So we went to Caz’s. They claim to offer gourmet-worthy versions of typical Oklahoma dishes — “upscale, down-home cooking!” — so I thought it would be a great introduction to America’s heartland. In through the glass doors of a low-slung red-brick building on Brady, and we were greeted by decor that could only be described as fun. Look at those cow horns and the lawn chairs perched on the shed.
Eclectic with a touch of whimsy. There’s a wall of clocks.
And another wall with the world’s only stopped clock that is always right.
I asked the efficient waiter what sides came with the Chicken & Biscuit ($9.49). “Oh you don’t need a side,” he said, “it’s a MOUNTAIN of food.” And as you can see he didn’t exaggerate.
It’s basically a shepherd’s pie. The biggest biscuit I’ve ever seen, and in flavor probably the best I’ve ever tasted, crowns that mountain of chicken chunks, carrots, peas and mashed potatoes, all bound together by lots and lots of white cream gravy. This is a really fine dish. Taken separately the chicken, the carrots, the gravy weren’t that great, but taken all together it was indeed great. And, as I hinted before, it’s big. I barely managed to finish it all. (Of course I’d already eaten the salad, which is only $2 if ordered with an entree.) Bread is free but you have to ask for it. We forgot to ask, but that’s just as well. I would have burst.
Cathe ordered the Grilled Salmon Filet ($11).
The salmon, though dry, had a fine flavor, and the broccoli was nice and crisp. (If you don’t want broccoli, you may substitute another side, such as Mac & Cheese, Black-eyed Peas, or Fried Okra.) Cathe loved the mashed potatoes and couldn’t stop praising them. They were indeed fine. The Japanese student got the Fried Shrimp ($10).
“It’s tempura!” I told her. I don’t know if it was or not because I didn’t dare ask for a taste. For all I knew, it wasn’t polite in Japan.
There’s a great dessert selection, and for much of the meal, the girls had spent time discussing the options. Apple Dumpling, Bread Pudding, Triple Chocolate Cheesecake. But by this time we were too full to think of dessert. Except for me. I’d sneaked across the street to Glacier Confection, which is one of only four stores in the United States selling the world’s rarest chocolate. It’s from a variety of cacao beans long thought extinct, until a few trees were discovered two years ago in the mountains of Peru. The beans are far less acidic than normal, which means you can make chocolate that’s almost pure cacao and isn’t bitter. I paid $2 and got a tiny piece half an inch square. It’s 68% pure.
And after I got home I sneaked upstairs and savored its rich vibrant flavor.
18 E. Brady
Opens daily 11 AM (except Saturday, open 5 PM), closes 9 PM (except Sunday, closes 3:30 PM and Monday, closes 2 PM)
15 E. Brady Street
Tulsa, OK 74103
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.