Power Lunch: Lava Noshery

If you look to impress colleagues or clients over lunch, look no further than this Brookside newbie.
When the Tulsa Business Journal went to see what all the fuss was about at 3512 S. Peoria Ave., where Lava Noshery created a buzz when it opened late last month, we, too, became devoted noshers.
As my colleague and I walked in, we noticed much of the blindingly white décor has held over from Table Ten, the last incarnation of the space at which Lava chef Geofferry VanGlabbeek was shortly in charge. The folks at Lava have managed to impart much-needed warmth to the dining room. The dashes of black and red lend to both the restaurant’s name and the mesmerizing lava-in-motion video playing on a large flat screen TV on the north wall.
“It’s moving art,” said Renee Roberts, general manager at Lava. “We have hours and hours of video. It’s five discs that rotate, so it’s always going.”
When we weren’t hypnotized by the “moving art” on the flat screen, we could hear Lava’s two large, vertical water fountains against a backdrop of trendy mood music, which was upbeat without being in-your-face. The volume was perfect for conversation.
Lunchtime patrons enjoy natural light, thanks to the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows fronting Brookside. Had the weather been dry, we wouldn’t have minded sitting on the patio, where bamboo plants enclose seven aluminum-topped tables.
Considering the hype, we were surprised that we weren’t packed into the small dining room with dozens of other patrons on a Thursday at high noon. Instead, we counted maybe six other patrons during our visit, two of which were a pair of businessmen. Roberts noted that patronage has varied widely.
“We would advise to call for reservations,” she said. “With the small space, and since we never know how many people are going to be in here. It’s different every day.”
Our waiter was attentive, not annoying. While he polished our eating utensils as he delivered them, he didn’t ask 5 million times about how our food tasted. He also gave us great suggestions.
We skipped the appetizer and opted for the artisan-style starter bread. The bread had great crustiness, and the rosemary and onion were light-handed, welcome flavors.
My colleague had the soup du jour, which that Thursday was the Lobster Vichysoisse ($5/$7). This chilled summer soup starred leaks and, of course, lobster, punctuated with a bright basil pesto topping.
I started with the Nuyaka Farm Salad ($7), all ingredients of which came from the freshest local Nuyaka Farm had to offer. The salad, comprised of mixed salad greens, grape tomatoes, roasted beets, shredded kohlrabi (my favorite veggie), and topped with a white balsamic vinegar looked gorgeous, and the flavors of the ingredients were well thought out and combined.
For the main event, my colleague ordered the Irish Chicken Sandwich with Guinness Cheese and Caramelized Onions ($9). The sandwich, far from snack size as the Yiddish word “noshery,” suggested, came on a fresh onion roll. The onions were sweet, and the arugula added a peppery bite.
The sandwich was served with these lightly seasoned, fresh-cut fries that we both agreed were uncannily uniform.
“We have a grater, and it slices them uniformly,” Roberts told me, laughing, when I asked how to make the world’s most homogenous fries.
I had the Thai-inspired Grilled Shrimp with Rice Noodles Tossed in a Spicy Coconut Sauce and Mango Salsa ($20), which also featured red onions and super-fresh cilantro. The sauce could have been a little spicier, but the dish was otherwise delightful.
Menu flexibility is a top priority at Lava, Roberts said. Guests can choose their own entrees, or several dishes can be served on a platter tapas-style, allowing everyone at the table to try a bit of each. We couldn’t think of a better plan for a business lunch.
Appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches and pasta populate the noon menu at Lava. If you’d rather take to dinner, however, look to sit at the bar, where there is seating for eight and plenty of opportunity to partake of Lava’s reserved wine list. There are 16 bottles to try, ranging from $99 to $299. Wines on the red and white lists are $7-$13 for a glass, or $28-$99 for a bottle.
Need to find the perfect venue for that big presentation? Call Lava to see if they’ve got space between their PGA parties. Expect to spend $1,500 for a lunch or weekday evening dining room reservation and $3,000 on weekends. ?

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