Foodies Asian-American Diner: Review of Foodies OKC
“Foodies,” as it is called, has been on my radar for the past two months. A Twitter follower suggested that I try the place when I was first getting started with this blog. Last week, my husband and I made plans to meet in Oklahoma City for lunch and a co-worker told him we should try Foodies. So that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Driving up to the diner situated on the corner of NW 12th St. and Hudson Ave., we saw a misfit red and gray retro building sitting caddy-corner to the historic Sieber Motor Hotel (now an apartment building). If the bright red “Foodies” sign doesn’t let passersby know this is a restaurant, the forks, spoons and knives painted on the exterior should tip them off.
Dining at Foodies that Thursday was a decision made on a whim and I didn’t Google the menu to pre-plan my meal as I usually do. This pre-planning is essential since I was the kid my grandparents hated taking to Blockbuster because they knew how it would go down: I would saunter through every aisle for an hour before picking out The Secret of NIMH. Same movie, same indecision. Every single time.
Imagine my confusion when I walked up to the counter at Foodies and there was no one there to coach me through the single-page menu (printed on computer paper, inserted into a glossy binder page protector). The menu that offers, to sum it up, Gyros, Pad Thai, Corn, Chicken Quesadillas, a Bacon Cheddar Burger, Fried Rice, Wings, Smoothies and Soup. Asian-American Diner? More like All-Over-The-Place Diner. The menu is as succinct as it is diverse, giving not even the pickiest of eaters the excuse to go somewhere else.
But that’s what Justin and I found ourselves asking each other: “Do you want to go somewhere else?” It wasn’t because the diner is uncomfortably small and no, it had nothing to do with the landscaping that consisted of a smashed potted (dying) tree. These characteristics were intriguing and amusing to me. It was because we had enough time to question our experience there before we were acknowledged by the two women who kept working with their backs to us. They had to know we were there, but didn’t make an attempt to make us feel welcome.
We decided to stay since we were already in the door and I had noticed they had Pad Thai ($4.99) on the menu, which I am a huge fan of. After another minute or so, one of the women turned to the front counter, grabbed a pen and her notepad and looked at us. So I ordered the Potstickers (6 for $3.79) as an appetizer and my standard Pad Thai order: with chicken (add $1.59), level five heat, no sugar added to the sauce.
The woman warned me that a level five would be very hot, so I backed down to a four because you just never know how hot a five will be as it varies from restaurant to restaurant. Justin ordered the Bulgogi Gyro combo ($6.39), which came with hand-cut chips and a drink. According to Foodies’ Twitter page, they have the best Bulgogi (Korean beef) Gyros in the world. The potstickers have a great reputation, too, so we both felt really good about what we had ordered.
The diner doesn’t seat many more than 15 people and there were three tables already occupied when we took our seat at a two-top next to the window. Glancing around the room, the interesting points were the front counter and the kitchen area right behind it. Everything is exposed in the kitchen area: the plates, the fryers, the deep-freeze, the grill, the foil over the fryer. The front counter was decorated with wind chimes, hand sanitizer, lotion and various Asian trinkets and treasures.
Justin and I got lost in conversation as the restaurant filled up. It was right at noon and the lunch crowd at Foodies was diverse and eclectic. We noticed several people coming in to pick up to go orders. At this point, we both also noticed it had been a long time since we had ordered our food. I thought for sure our postickers should have been out already… the restaurant was full, but there were only three tables ahead of us when we sat down. Justin checked his watch and sure enough, 28 minutes had passed and we still hadn’t gotten any of our food. We shifted in our seats and stayed positive, assuring each other the food would be worth the wait.
Two minutes later, the potstickers came out. The fried dumplings were served on a white plate with a silver ramekin containing a soy vinegar sauce for dipping. They were hot – but not too hot – and fried to a perfect deep golden-brown. The soft, mostly-cabbage center was a perfect pairing with the crunchy exterior. The potstickers were gone in 60 seconds, and all too quickly we were back to waiting.
Fifteen more minutes passed and the woman who took our orders finally delivered our meals. I was disappointed – but not surprised – that there was no apology or even acknowledgement of our wait. I know I’m not alone when I say that’s one simple way to ease my mood when having to wait an unreasonable amount of time for a meal, or anything for that matter. It’s just good business no matter what industry you’re in.
Long wait aside, we were still staying positive! I immediately noticed that my Pad Thai looked different than any I had ever seen before. The noodles had a red tint to them as opposed to the usual tan-to-brown color I am accustomed to. It was generously topped with cabbage, cilantro, cracked black pepper and chopped peanuts. No bean sprouts, no carrots, no lime wedge. The noodles tasted like they had been sautéed only with Sriracha (for the heat, I assumed) and no red pepper flakes were present, which is what I have always seen as the heat spice in Pad Thai. Overall, I was disappointed with my dish. The noodles were dry and sticky. It was pretty spicy, which kept me eating, but I didn’t enjoy my meal. (If you’re wondering where I have been getting said Pad Thai, try Sweet Basil or Thai Thai in Norman.)
Meanwhile, Justin was thoroughly (and almost guiltily) enjoying his Bulgogi Gyro. I stole one of his hand-cut chips. It was well-seasoned and crispy. The gyro was much different than the gyro we had at The Greek Taverna; Foodies’ Korean beef was more appealing to me – the texture was smoother than the traditional Greek lamb-beef blended meat and it had a hint of BBQ sauce marinade that I enjoyed. The pita bread was super soft, the tzatziki was tangy, and I liked the added crunch of the sesame seeds. Justin commented more than once how impressed he was with the flavor of the gyro. The moist, marinated meat was a standout feature for him, as well as the airy crispiness of the chips. As usual, I had order-envy of Justin
We both decided that, based on this experience, we wouldn’t dine inside Foodies again. We would, however, order the Bulgogi Gyro and the Potstickers again and of course are willing to try their food in the future – but we will definitely utilize their to go services on our next visit. Have you tried Foodies? I’d love to hear how some of their other menu items are!