Upscale, Down-home Cooking & Fun Decor at Caz’s Chowhouse

By on April 7, 2011

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.

Caz’s Chowhouse
18 E. Brady
588-2469
Opens daily 11 AM (except Saturday, open 5 PM), closes 9 PM (except Sunday, closes 3:30 PM and Monday, closes 2 PM)
http://www.cazschowhouse.com

Caz's Chowhouse on Urbanspoon

Glacier Confection
15 E. Brady Street
Tulsa, OK 74103
Chocolate: http://www.glacierconfection.com

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.

18 Comments

  1. phillip

    April 7, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Caz’s chow house is a go to place when we have out of town visitors for work. Jeff has always treated us very well even going back to caz’s across the street and the fine drinking establishment he had opened that truely was the kick off to the brady arts district and making it a place to go. chicken and waffles are great. chicken and biscut it great. the sides are what truely make it though. the spicy slaw, the green beans

  2. Thomas

    April 8, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Been to Caz’s many times with work folks. I think this place is about as average as you can get. The food has always been mediocre and the service about the same. I remember one visit, I ordered a side of cole slaw that was so bad I couldn’t believe a restaurant would actually serve it. I’ve gotten to the point where I refuse to go there anymore. There are a lot of great downtown restaurants, what’s the point in spending your time and money on something that’s really not that great?

    • Brian Schwartz

      April 9, 2011 at 12:18 pm

      I’m not going to dispute you on this. But when I put up a short list of Tulsa’s very best restaurants for elegant, haute cuisine food on this blog a few weeks ago, two people commented, “How could you leave out Caz’s?”

      • Thomas

        April 11, 2011 at 8:26 am

        Unfortunately, this doesn’t surprise me at all. I tend to question many people’s level of discernment when it comes to eating establishments in Tulsa. I honestly think that if you consistently go to Caz’s and consistently think it is good, you are clueless when it comes to food. Just my opinion. But like I said, I’ve been to Caz’s many times and the bottom line is, it’s below average.

        • Scott

          April 12, 2011 at 5:39 pm

          If you limit your critique to just the restaurants in the Caz’s area, you also have Hey Mambo, Mexicali and Brady Tavern. You’ll find plenty of comments from people who love each place, and plenty who don’t like each place.

          We’re all entitled to our opinions, and can vote with our pocketbook. I occasionally like Caz’s when I’m in the rare mood for that type of food. I am well-versed at discerning this type of ‘comfort’ food from fine dining. That said, I occasionally like a good scrambled egg and hashbrown breakfast from a truck stop. I know a lot of folks who love Hey Mambo. Actually I think it’s pretty good. But my personal preference is traditional/authentic Italian, and HM is far from being that. I don’t think people who may like Caz’s or who like Hey Mambo are incapable of discerning ‘good’ food or not. I think it’s simply personal taste.

  3. Steve

    April 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Agree with Thomas. Slow service, marginal food, high prices. Not a good recipe for success.

  4. Gonzo

    April 15, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I haven’t eaten at Caz’s yet, mainly because I’ve read many negative reviews about it on urbanspoon.com and other food review websites. I do agree with Thomas as to the lack of discerning tastes in Tulsa. Case in point: Mazzio’s is consistently voted on of the best 3 pizza places in Tulsa year after year. If you talk to anyone who’s moved to Tulsa from a larger city (including myself), Mazzio’s is very similar to Pizza Hut in both taste and quality. Why would Mazzio’s be a top 3 when Tulsa has so many great high quality pizza places (Mario’s NY Pizzeria, Pie Hole, Hideout, Savastiano’s, Joe Momma’s, etc)?

    For my job, I have to take customers out to lunch quite often. The majority of my customers are locally born and raised. 90 percent of the time, they want to go to a national chain restaurant (Chili’s, Burger King, Texas Roadhouse, etc). I will never understand why you would choose a national chain over a local favorite (Savoy, Ron’s Hamburgers, Luna Bread, The Brooke, Phil’s Diner, Blue Moon Cafe, etc.).

  5. phillip

    April 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    maybe its because i know the owner that i am biased.. but i can honestly say the food and service at caz’s has never been disappointing. have i had better meals? yes i have. have i had cheaper? yes i have. but as was said above. sometimes i am in the mood for comfort. Thomas what would you say is a good place to go eat comfort food? could you say ella’s? cause i have had bad service (chicken and waffles with hot outside cold inside chicken) and a 10 min wait for ordering. could you say pucks? have had very poor service. long wait to be seated. long waits for ordering. long waits for food. food that has sat under the heat lamp for way too long. apps served with the meal. maybe the problem isnt caz’s being below average. maybe its because yuo expect caz’s to be high class upscale in the same ranking as oil capital?

    • Brian Schwartz

      April 16, 2011 at 10:55 am

      And if, like me, a friend asks you, “I’m taking my teenage daughter and a big bunch of her friends downtown and I want a place in that area that they will think is really cool where they can get a huge plate of food for under $10″, Caz’s might seem like a great idea.

  6. Thomas

    April 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Caz’s is not a comfort food restaurant just because they have chicken and waffles on their menu. Burgers, fries, sandwiches, salads…..this is not what you could call exclusively comfort food. If so, Chili’s and Applebee’s are comfort food restaurants. Maybe it’s comforting to you when you go in there and know the owner, therefore think it’s a great restaurant. Caz’s is not comforting to me. Especially when the service is usually sub par and the food as well. Of course I’m only going off of experience. Nothing more, nothing less. I’ve eaten there at least five times. And every time I go, I leave less than impressed. And the people I’m dining with feel the same way. I’ve gone to very few restaurants in my life where I am shocked by something I was served. This happened at Caz’s.

    Do I think Caz’s is an upscale restaurant? Are you kidding me? Come on. Show some intelligence here. I just think Caz’s isn’t any good. Don’t get offended.

    So where would I go to get a good burger, sandwich, etc. and get good service at a good price? Let’s try The Brook, McNellie’s, White Owl, Lucky’s, or Dilly Deli. I’d go to Full Moon any day before I’d go to Caz’s.

    GONZO: I completely agree. Tulsans love their chain restaurants. It’s kind of funny. People in Tulsa would pick a chain restaurant over just about anything if given the chance. Mazzio’s is the worst pizza I think I’ve ever had.

    BRIAN: In my experience, Caz’s serves no bigger portions than any other average Tulsa restaurant. And their prices aren’t any different either.

    PHILLIP: I don’t eat “comfort” food at restaurants. I’m just not into fried chicken, collard greens, waffles, and whatever else you consider comfort food. I can make that at home. I like going to restaurants that will serve me something that tastes good, will give me great service, and leave me coming back for more. This doesn’t happen at Caz’s. It wasn’t 3 strikes against them, it was 5. What do you want me to do? Give them another chance?

    • phillip

      April 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm

      well thomas to me the food is comfort food. they have meatloaf, chicken fried steak, chicken fried chicken, fried okra, cat fish, a true po-boy chicken and waffles, pot roast, chicken and biscut. i guess the big issue is caz;s did get you to go back. you dont have to give them another chance. that is your choice. i am pointing out that i have many friends down town that eat at caz’s and love it. i cam make a burger at home but i still goto webbers, clauds, linda-mar. i can make tamalies at home but i stil hit morello’s and la haucienda, i can hand make pasta at home yet i goto more then noodles for a quick bite.

      so i guess i have to ask. if you goto a comfort food resturant which is what caz’s claims to be to eat. why do yo go there but for the comfort food? or the burger? service? never had an issue with the servers. food is on time and together. they accommodate big parties if you call ahead. it can be busy so going a little early or a little late helps. BTW the baked blacken chicken is great.

      • Thomas

        April 28, 2011 at 8:14 am

        Well sign me up then. The mark of a great restaurant is if the food is on time and together and they can accommodate big parties if you call ahead. What a joke. I’m sorry, but if that’s how you rate restaurants then this discussion is pointless.

        And by the way, Caz’s didn’t get me to go back. I work downtown so we choose restaurants nearby. My coworkers have chosen Caz’s the times I’ve gone back. I’ve made the decision at this point to never go back. And judging by the other comments above, many other people feel the same way as I do. Enjoy Caz’s Phillip. Tell the owner hi for me.

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  8. Brian Schwartz

    April 29, 2011 at 9:45 am

    One of my friends was going to a concert at that huge stadium designed by a world-famous architect and asked me if there was a place nearby that was fun and cheap. I said, Caz’s but warned her that it was not in the same league as Brady Tavern. Brian, she said, we can’t afford Brady Tavern, not even the hamburger ($13). So I guess she went to Caz’s and I bet they had a good time. That chicken and biscuit would fill two people and it’s $9.49. Plus, if you were a contestant on an early episode of Top Chef (with 15 people still competing) and they asked for a shepherd’s pie, and you made that, you wouldn’t be taking home the winner’s prize but you wouldn’t be eliminated either.

  9. Phillip

    April 29, 2011 at 11:36 am

    You have no problem with mcneillies? I find their food bland now days. And the service blows. I bet you have no problem with any of the elliot resturants yet I find each one to be ok. Nothing spectacular and never my first choice. You said you dont eat at resturants for their comfort food. What exactly do you eat out for? And where do you find a good resturant for lunch? Oil capitol? Elote?
    I can honestly say that out of all the downtown resturants id choose in this order for food. The greens on bolder, cazs, hey mambo, joe mammas, elote. Terrys billies steak finger tabulis lous grand selection fat guys abears are a daily choice. The others are treats. And im under no illusion any are hi class joints. But I am sure you have great service at pucks right? Lol

    • Thomas

      May 2, 2011 at 11:10 am

      If the food is on time and they welcome large groups, then I know you’re in! In fact, I think Zagat is changing their ratings to include those two things as the main criteria for rating restaurants. Phillip, you should be a food critic. Ha ha!

  10. Phillip

    May 3, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Everything ok thomas? I mean such distain for my posts. I do not claim to be a critic. Just telling my experience. And yes ability to accomidate a large group for work functions is great. Specially last min. Also dont know about you but I hate waiting an hour for food that has been sitting under a heat lamp or cold. Also hate when apps come out same time as the meal or shortly before. But hey if that is your thing with what you consider good service. Sorry we arnt new york 4star ranking here in back wood tulsa. But hey if its good enough for pioneer woman its good enough for me.

    • Thomas

      May 4, 2011 at 9:13 am

      Everything’s great. I just think it’s funny that you got so defensive of my multiple bad experiences at Caz’s. And all you could say to show that you think it’s a great restaurant is that the food is on time and they accommodate large groups. Ok cool. That’s great. But at the end of the day, you supposedly know the owner which makes you a little biased. Plus, no restaurant can be good if the food isn’t delivered on time. So to mention that is kind of pointless. And I honestly couldn’t care less if a restaurant accommodates large groups. I would never use that in forming my opinion of a restaurant. At then end of the day, you can continue with your restaurant opinions in normal Tulsa fashion. I, on the other hand, prefer to actually form legitimate opinions of Tulsa restaurants based on the proper criteria. That’s all. But I do appreciate your concern for me.

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