By Helen Patterson
and Kimberly Poff
The Restaurant at Gilcrease has one aspect which recommends it above all others: it accepts dining dollars as payment. It is possibly the only “fancy” restaurant which does so, and is certainly the only one which sells champagne. As such, these intrepid reviewers made the trip down 244 to see what could be purchased with campus funny money.
The Restaurant is nestled within the museum. Although it may be difficult to locate, friendly museum staff are happy to direct patrons, and admission to the museum is free to TU students. Given the fairly remote location of the museum, The Restaurant has an excellent view overlooking the forest. These reviewers even caught a glimpse of a bald eagle while seated near the far wall.
There were several soup and appetizer options, but the most interesting appetizer was the crawfish hushpuppies with chipotle remoulade. The hushpuppies themselves were crispy, and maintained a good texture. Biting into them was delightful. Unfortunately, there was too much cheese, and this overwhelmed the flavor of the crawfish. We did not receive any remoulade, so whether or not it was delicious remains a mystery.
The salads offered were fairly tame, including a caesar and a house with grilled salmon. We sampled the fall spinach salad, which like the rest of the items on the menu, suffers from too many modifiers from its menu description. The menu lists the salad as the “Fall Spinach Salad with pomegranate, apple, candied walnuts, goat cheese and maple cider vinaigrette.” It was as good as those ingredients sound, though not better than the sum of its parts.
One of the better entrée options was the vista buffalo burger which The Restaurant markets as one of its favorites. The burger was delicious and juicy, cooked exactly the way it was ordered. It came on a bun that was slightly too toasted but otherwise excellent in taste and texture.
The burger itself was served with delicious white cheddar and fresh tomato. Bacon jam sauce accompanied the meal, and was an intriguing concoction that tasted like bacon barbeque jello. The burger was supposed to be served with poblano slaw, but was instead served with fries. The fries were delicious; they were salted just right and did not taste frozen.
Another entrée was the redeye braised short ribs, which were served with asparagus rather than the advertised wilted greens. Unfortunately, the ribs came with far more fat than necessary and the fingerling potatoes were a little too salty.
For dessert, the chocolate tart with salted caramel was rich and incredibly delicious. However, it did not actually have any salted caramel on it. Instead, it was served with an artificial strawberry sauce and a sliced strawberry. The strawberry sauce and the strawberry itself—though they improved the presentation of the plate and added color—did not taste very good.
The marscapone tower was a layering of graham cracker crust and ginger mascarpone. Aside from the slightly non sequitur pineapple drizzle on the plate, this dessert was phenomenal. Whole chunks of ginger floated through the mascarpone giving it an exciting pop to counter the smooth cheese. It was a shining garnish on an otherwise sometimes lackluster meal.
Intrepid students seeking to relieve themselves of Steadbucks at The Restaurant should bear in mind that waiters prefer to be informed of the method of payment at the meal’s commencement, as it makes settling the bill vastly easier. Please also note that dining dollars cannot be used to leave gratuity.