It’s extremely rare to find delicious fresh seafood in a landlocked state. Bodean Restaurant does it, and does it very well, by flying it in twice daily.
Last Monday my friend Dick was in town. He was staying in Oklahoma City that night, and it provided the perfect opportunity for us to go to Cattlemen’s Steakhouse for my 200th new restaurant for the blog. During dinner, he mentioned that he was meeting a people the next night night for dinner at Bodean Restaurant in Tulsa. My eyes and ears immediately perked up, as that is one of my favorite restaurants. I’m not sure if I invited myself or not, but Tuesday evening I found myself in Tulsa.
When I moved to Oklahoma, I refused to eat seafood for the first year. There’s just no comparison in quality to what you’ll find on the coasts. I eventually started buying the flash-frozen product at Sam’s, but still no fresh. In the past 3 years I discovered both White River Fish Market and Bodean. The restaurants couldn’t be more opposite, as Bodean is fine dining, white linen tablecloths; at White River you order at the counter and the seating is mainly family style picnic tables. Both fly in their seafood daily; Bodean actually flies it in twice a day. Both have markets as well. This is my second trip to the restaurant, and almost every time I’m in Tulsa I stop at the Bodean market. It’s pricey, but well worth it for super fresh seafood.
From the outside, Bodean doesn’t look fancy at all, as it’s located on the corner of a strip mall off the highway. But walk inside, and you are transformed. There’s a beautiful large fish tank built into the wall behind the host stand. The bar area is on the left side of the building. The bar itself is quite large, and also includes some lounge seating and tables. The main dining room takes up about 2/3 of the restaurant, and is a combination of large comfortable booths and both family size and regular tables. This night we were seated at a booth.
The Bodean menu is printed daily and changes often, to showcase the freshest seafood they have available. Most restaurants can’t do that, but those that do usually do it very well. The menu itself is not huge, and features oysters on the half shell, appetizers, selections of cheeses, entrees and sides. Bodean is the first restaurant I’ve visited that offers artisanal cheeses as menu items.
We started with half dozen Gulf oysters from Louisiana. Growing up I never ate oysters because my parents don’t like them. To be honest, they do look funky and it takes some getting used to with the texture. Friends introduced them to me about 15 years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since
The oysters were wonderful. So fresh. I wish we had gotten more!
Calamari is another thing I never ate growing up. Years ago I was at dinner with friends. They ordered an appetizer, and insisted that I try it. Back then I wasn’t very adventurous, especially when they wouldn’t tell me what it was. But I gave in, tried one, and loved it. About halfway through they dropped the bomb that it was calamari. I dropped the piece I was eating, and refused to eat any more. That went on for a few years, but now I order them whenever I can. I had never tried them here, so of course we got some
They weren’t as hot as I would have liked, but the flavor was excellent. The salt and pepper really made the flavor of the breading pop. The tomato confit aioli was delicious as well.
Dick and I got the Caesar salad
They definitely go heavy on the anchovy in the dressing, and the color makes the lettuce look old. We were trying to decipher what the spread on the toast was; turns out it was anchovy spread. I actually kind of liked it, even though it was extremely salty…but not enough to go buy it at the store though.
Mike got the crab & lobster bisque
I didn’t taste any, but he said it was fantastic. I had it on my last visit, and it certainly was. Thick, rich and creamy.
Dick got the King salmon, served with asparagus and mashed potatoes
I was kind of surprised because it was a relatively small piece of fish. I didn’t try any, but he said it was really good. I did try an asparagus spear and it was cooked to a perfect tender crisp.
Mike got the seared yellowfin tuna
I’m not a fan of seared tuna, as I prefer mine cooked almost all the way through. I know that tuna connoisseurs would be thoroughly appalled, but oh well. I had tried a small piece on my last visit and it was delicious, but I couldn’t eat a whole entree.
I went back and forth, and finally decided on the jumbo scallops
At first I thought it wouldn’t be enough protein, but those scallops were so meaty that it was more than enough. The potato croquettes were screaming hot. I really liked the contrast between the extremely crunchy coating and the creamy potato inside. The red cabbage was sauteed with bacon and candies pecans. I can’t remember the type of cheese that was mixed in, but it was all so good.
We also got an order of the house-made gnocchi
It wasn’t served super hot, and I’m not sure if it was on purpose or not. But it was outstanding. The veggies were cooked slightly more than I prefer, but that’s probably at least partially because they were cooked in the broth. The broth was very light, and had a ton of flavor.
I wasn’t thinking dessert, but Dick asked to see the menu. He went with seasonal berries with fresh whipped cream
Mike and I both jumped at the ice cream
I’m going by memory, but pretty sure it was dark cherry chunk chocolate pecan. Regardless, it was wonderful. The cherry flavor wasn’t overwhelming, and the chunks of dark chocolate added a great texture and bite to the dish.
Let’s be honest, Bodean is an occasion restaurant for me. But any time there is an occasion in Tulsa, I’m all over it. I haven’t gotten to the market in a couple months, and I need to change that soon. In the winter and spring when I’m out doing stewardship visits I can go almost weekly. Can’t wait to be back on that schedule again
For reviews of more restaurants in Tulsa, click on the photos below!