One of our club seat holders had been trying for about 2 years to get me to come to Tulsa for dinner. No, nothing inappropriate or anything like that. It was to join him and his wife, along with the Merrifields, who owns Polo Grill. I always planned to, but life just got in the way. About 6 weeks ago we finally made it happen. Vance and his wife were hosting a dinner for race car driver JJ Yeley and his team prior to the start of the Chili Bowl.<
I had never heard of the Chili Bowl before, but apparently it’s a huge deal in Tulsa. It’s a big annual event that started in 1987, and features midget cars. I have to admit I’ve never been into any kind of car racing. I never quite understood why people drive around and around in circles for hundreds of laps, at speeds of hundreds of miles an hour. I don’t like watching golf on TV…I would rather watch paint dry. And racing is in that category too. But I am a professional at driving the golf cart during golf outings, so if I went to a race I might actually enjoy it. Maybe I’ll go one day and check it out. If I do it will probably be the Indy 500, because it reminds me a lot of Preakness…and I love Preakness.
Polo Grill is located in Utica Square, an upscale shopping area in a very upscale part of Tulsa. I love driving around there, looking at all of the beautiful homes. I was more than a little frustrated though, because I drove around in circles looking for Polo Grill. And finally figured out that it was the one place that didn’t have a sign out front, and of course it was tucked into a corner towards the back. As Vance said, you know it’s a really good restaurant when it doesn’t even need its name out front. Turns out they do have a sign, but it’s really small, and unless you know where it is you’re never going to find it.
It looks pretty small when you walk inside, partly because it’s got that kind of dark mood lighting, the ceilings aren’t super high, and the main dining area is pretty compact and also includes a large bar almost as soon as you walk in. I’m kind of skipping to the end here, but after dinner I got a tour of the entire restaurant, which is much larger than I ever would have thought. There are 7 beautiful private dining spaces. I think my favorite space is the Napa Tasting Room.
It only seats 8, but I absolutely love the table, and it’s the perfect space for a very small gathering. I need a table like that in my dining room. But then I would need a bigger dining room.
Our party was in the Wine Cellar, which is the largest private room and seats up to 60. I love the wall of wine at the end of the room.
I felt a little out of place at first, considering I only knew Vance and Lori, and had no clue what to talk about with the race crowd. But once I got a glass of wine in my hand, I was okay. I’m not sure exactly what kind of wine it was, but it was very good.
Our first course was house made chili
The chili was delicious. It had a definite kick, but not too overpowering. I really liked that there was just a little bit of cheese. It can be easy to go overboard with it, and then the cheese just totally takes over the flavor of the dish. The sour cream helped cool it down, and the chips added a nice crunch and texture to the dish.
Second course was romaine salad
I don’t think I’ve ever had a salad like this, with whole lettuce leaves instead of it being shredded or chopped. But I really liked that presentation. The lemon thyme vinaigrette dressing was light, which perfectly complimented the bleu cheese. And I’m a huge fan of bleu cheese.
Next came Palacios Texas redfish, with a parsnip puree and wild rice
The fish was so good. It was light, and a perfect size for a meal with several courses. I thought it was a very interesting presentation for the skin to be left on the fish. But I’m guessing they did that to sear the fish, and to help keep moisture in. The wild rice was good, but your basic wild rice. The parsnip puree was excellent. I had never tried parsnips so I wasn’t sure what to expect…kind of a carrot flavor, but sweeter. I really enjoyed it, especially with the fish.
Next came blackened medallions, with whipped Yukon potatoes and asparagus
The medallions were a little overcooked for my liking, but still had excellent flavor. They were crusted in what tasted almost like a coffee-type crust. The asparagus spears were huge and cooked perfectly. Yukon gold is probably my favorite type of potato, and the au jus from the steak lent a wonderful flavor to them. I wish this course had the parsnip puree with it too, because I think that flavor would have gone really well with the medallions.
The final course was chocolate mousse
The mousse was fantastic! I can’t remember exactly what that foamy stuff on top was, and I remember that we were all surprised when the server told us what it was, but it literally melted in my mouth. So good.
I was originally hesitant to drive all the way to Tulsa that night, because I hadn’t felt well earlier in the day, and it was a weekday. But I’m so glad I did, because I had a wonderful time. Each course was just enough food to be able to savor the flavor, but not too much that you felt stuffed by the end. Each dish had its own very unique flavor, but all of the flavors worked very well together. The wine was delicious, and paired well with the meal. I truly enjoyed spending time with Vance and Lori away from Stillwater and gameday, and we spent another 30 minutes together after the rest of the group left.
Will I go back? Definitely! I’d like to go back for a regular meal with a small group and dine in the tasting room. I really like that room.