Salt and Limes

Oren- A Star is Born on Brookside

Seven years ago, when we made the decision to spend our lives in Tulsa, we knew it had potential. However, the restaurant scene was subpar, downtown was more like a ghost town, the Riverwalk was in foreclosure and Brookside had Leon's and In the Raw Sushi but not much else. Fast forward to the current setting and you will find a thriving downtown, a re-developed Riverwalk with several great restaurants and a transformed Brookside. The cherry on top is a restaurant named Oren. Chef Matt Amberg, a Tulsa native, has a constantly evolving menu of progressive, locally sourced, American cuisine with a touch of Israeli influence inspired by his wife, Yara, an Israeli native.

If you were ever at The Brasserie or Ming's noodle bar, you will not even recognize this restaurant as the same space. Oren is bright, minimalistic, clean and white like a blank palate ready for the artist. The patio looks like something you would see in the Mediterranean or the Greek Isles. It is absolutely beautiful.

The Chef spent many years in New York cooking at predominantly Michelin starred restaurants including Oceana, a one star restaurant with over 18 varieties of Oysters and a $175, five pound Lobster. This experience not only made him a seafood savant but allowed him to perfect his classic techniques. Over the years, he has grown particularly fond of creating unique fruit and vegetable dishes which comprise about half of the menu at Oren. My favorite example is when he pureed creamed corn, froze them into bite sized spheres and then battered and deep fried them. The result was a crispy outer shell with a molten savory and sweet corn center (corn holes was considered for the title but quickly rejected).

Proof that every detail was contemplated in the development of Oren was the hire of one of my favorite Tulsa bartenders, Read Richards, formerly of Valkyrie, to manage the bar. He basically runs a liquor lab and has created some crazy smart libations including one infused with Mushrooms, sounds weird but just try it. As a gentleman who has been known to enjoy the occasional Gin, I also enjoyed one or three of the "Here's looking at Yuzu"- Gin, Yuzu juice, St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, and a dash of Orange bitters.

We went with a group of 8 and ordered at least one of everything on the menu. Everything is very reasonably priced for the quantity and quality.

Chef Matt Amberg is really elevating the restaurant game in Tulsa. He might be in the lead. Make your reservation.

Address- Located within Center 1 at 3509 S Peoria Ave, Suite 161, Tulsa, OK 74105
Phone- 918-764-9699


Written by Erik Paulson
Photos by Erik Paulson
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