Power Lunch: Daily Grill

Daily Grill is not just a convenient rendezvous point for Tulsa businesspeople to meet up with out-of-town associates who are perhaps staying at the smartly renovated Crowne Plaza Hotel. In fact, the Grill, with a menu as straightforward as they come and full of well-executed American classics, is one of the best choices in town for the business lunch or dinner.
Normally, chain restaurants, with their meandering menus and noisy d√?cor, fail to appeal to the business class. But, with its elegant, simply appointed dining room and its menu focused squarely on classic American fare – steaks, chops, salads and even good ol’ chicken pot pie – it’s hard to believe a corporation is behind the new restaurant on Williams Green.
California-based Grill Concepts Inc. crafted the restaurant as a mid-priced version of The Grill on the Alley, the company’s fine dining concept based on the Beverly Hills restaurant of the same name. The 32-unit Grill Concepts moved to Tulsa and into an 8,000-SF space in its largest downtown hotel, eyeing hungry BOK Center and convention-goers, said CEO Philip Gay.
When, at a shade before noon, our group of four made the short walk from the office to Daily Grill, we found the dining room bustling. We didn’t have to wait for a table, but we were unable to keep our lunch under an hour. Thing was, we didn’t notice we’d been detained until the watch wearer among us checked the time as she signed off on her ticket.
We started with one of the more contemporary appetizers offered, Trio of Hummus ($8.50), which included sun-dried tomato, Kalamata olive and traditional varieties served with grilled flat bread, radish slices and scored cucumbers. The Trio was just enough of a start to leave us wanting more and was a refreshing change from the vat-and-crusty-bread versions served elsewhere.
Three of us ordered from the list of $9.95 lunch specials, choosing the Crispy Fish Sandwich, the Salmon Farfalle and Blackened Steak Quesadilla, a best-seller for Daily Grill in the Tulsa market. Our fourth opted for the Manhattan Clam Chowder ($5.50 for a small bowl, $6.75 for a large) and the Chicken Pot Pie ($14.95).
Though tasty, the simple fish sandwich, breaded with Panko crumbs and served with coleslaw and shoestring fries, and the just-meat-and-cheese quesadilla, served with large scoops of pico de gallo, sour cream and guacamole, didn’t seem to belong on a $9.95 menu. Vis-√?-vis the portion sizes, though, the price was justified.
The Salmon Farfalle, with its succulent salmon, crisp asparagus, capers and delicate Chardonnay dill cream sauce served over pasta cooked to perfection, was a steal at the lunch special price.
While the soup didn’t hold much over its Lipton counterpart, the pot pie, which looked as if it could feed a family of four, was show-stopping. The crust was flaky, and the filling of chunky vegetables and hunks of chicken was mellow without being bland. Everyone at the table had to have a bite, and we caught our neighbors gawking.
Service was spotty. Our waiter, though pleasant and knowledgeable, hovered as we read the menu but was scarce at the end of the meal when water glasses needed filling.
For those with the leeway to stretch lunchtime to happy hour, Daily Grill offers a lengthy menu of cocktails, martinis and classic highballs, including the $12 C.E.O. Martini, the Black & Blue Mojito and the New Level Collins. The wine list is California-inspired, with dozens available by the glass.
Tulsa’s business people, event junkies and theater-goers couldn’t have asked for a better addition to the downtown dining scene. With its corporate backing and the leverage for food pricing and the deeper pockets for advertising that go with it, Daily Grill is set to give the Arena District independents a run for their money.
Sooner and Cowboy fans have another place to show their team spirit now that the third annual Bedlam Food Drive, sponsored by Arvest Bank, OU Club of Tulsa and OSU Alumni Association, is officially underway.
The food drive, which runs until Nov. 29, benefits the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.
Fans are encouraged to root for their favorite team by donating cans of non-perishable food under the flag of the Sooners or Cowboys. The Cowboys claimed victory last year when OSU fans donated 1,110 more pounds of canned food than those rooting for OU.
The total weight of food raised was 6,476 pounds, which went to the 450 partner programs served by the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. These programs include emergency food pantries, after-school programs, senior citizens centers, soup kitchens and various shelters.
Fans can show team spirit at any Arvest Bank location in eastern Oklahoma, including those in Broken Arrow, Jenks, Bixby, Owasso, Sand Springs, Bartlesville, Eufaula, McAlester, Miami, Muskogee, Pryor, Tahlequah, Wagoner, Dewey, Nowata and Vinita. Other drop-off locations are the Fox and Hound Pub & Grille at 71st and Garnett and the OU-Tulsa, OSU-Tulsa and OSU Center for Health Sciences campuses.

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