Salt and Limes

The Reserve at Grogg's Green Barn

It was not my first time at Grogg's Green Barn, I have been a customer for years. In fact, I think I spent about $500 on dirt this spring for my raised garden beds. When I initially heard their plan for a private dining restaurant in the former hydroponic room, I was skeptical. When they told me they owned the land behind the garden center (literally their Grandma's old house) and they were turning it into more gardens and an orchard for the restaurant, I was intrigued. When they told me they hired Matt Owens, formerly of Canebrake and Torero, as their Executive Chef, I was excited. When I arrived and saw the transformation into an elegant, open, bright dining room with a hand crafted countertop and grand bouquets of fresh flowers, I was amazed. It was kind of like if you owned a barn but you were a rich farmer and super classy but still liked to party.

We began by taking a tour of the gardens/orchard. They couldn't have asked for a better day to do this, 70 degrees, sunny, and maybe the first time the wind has dropped below 10 mph in the history of Oklahoma. We were greeted with a glass of a wild fermented sour blackberry ale which I could have put into a beer funnel if it were available. After a short speech by Kelly and Carla Grogg, the amazing and very fun owners, we were released into the wild to explore. We visited the chicken coop and were greeted by some beautiful hens which are kept for their eggs only. As I looked at the size of the coop and the view of the gardens, I almost wished I was a chicken. The jealous roosters quickly chased us off but that was fine because dinner was about to begin.

Prairie Ale beer bread with herbed Amish butter and sea salt was on the table when we arrived. This is always going to impress me because my favorite foods are basically the opposite of a ketogenic diet, look it up. Also, they get a check in the good column for serving softened butter which allowed me to slather a 1/4 inch layer across the entire slice.

The chef and his team stood at the counter and used long tweezers to delicately place purple and yellow violas onto lettuce picked just hours earlier. All great chefs use tweezers right? The lettuce was placed in small terra cotta pots and looked as if we were about to eat a living plant. A very light walnut oil and elderflower vinegar dressing was added with some herbs, thinly sliced radishes and sesame seeds. I had forgotten how good fresh home-grown lettuce can actually taste on its own. It doesn't need a cup of ranch dressing to mask the taste of the leaves. The dressing was only there to compliment the lettuce but not to steal its glory.

The next dish may have been my favorite. It was a chilled cream of asparagus soup which was cold smoked with cherry wood and then topped with burnt butter and a single leaf of both sorrel and tarragon. Not quite sure how you can make butter crunchy but it combined perfectly with the smooth texture of the creme of asparagus. As soon as I almost understood the flavors, it was gone. I just wanted one more bite, likely a tactic used by the witty chef to keep me coming back for more.

The 4th course was a ragout of 413 Farms chicken leg with wild onions, crispy chicken skin and herbed dumplings. I wished at this point that my wife was with me because she can never finish her food and I always get 1.5 entrees. A wonderfully executed dish.

Before I talk about the dessert, I would like to comment on the impeccable service. Every time my glass was half empty, I mean half full, a server would be asking me what I would like next. An empty dish never sat in front of me for more than a few minutes. They were very friendly and very professional (and had cool haircuts).

Our last treat was a lemon verbena cake with honeycomb candy and strawberry semifreddo. Semifreddo is basically a semi-frozen mousse and has a much lighter texture than ice-cream or gelato. It was a very nice grand finale.

I'm not sure how they achieved absolute perfection on opening night but I assume it was many months of very hard work and dedication combined with an amazing team. I am honored to be able to write about this experience. However, it makes it difficult to be a food critic with nothing to criticize.

The Reserve at Grogg's Green Barn
Address- 10105 E. 61st St., Tulsa, Ok. 74133
Phone- 918-994-4222


Written by Erik Paulson
Photos by Erik Paulson
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