Matthew Kenney OKC: Review
I don’t know about you but when it gets cold outside, I tend to hibernate. Gaining a few extra pounds is no big deal when you’re wearing sweaters and scarves anyway. When it’s cold, getting out of the house sounds like the most daunting task to me, even if it’s just to walk across the parking lot and into the grocery store. Thank goodness for the drive-thru, right?
Well, after three months of warm comfort food and convenient fast food, we had one of those random Oklahoma warm weeks in February. It was just enough to snap me out of my lazy winter mindset and I felt the sudden urge to sort of detox and start eating better. It was either that or the trip to Turks and Caicos we booked for June. Anyway, this was the perfect opportunity to check out that über-healthy restaurant in Classen Curve that I had been hearing about.
Situated in Oklahoma City between Classen Boulevard and Western Avenue, Classen Curve has become a hot spot for new local restaurants and shops. The upscale retail center is structured unlike any other shopping plaza you will find in Oklahoma City right now. The shops and restaurants are connected in a contemporary corridor and all look very similar on the outside with large windows and metal pergolas, but each are unique on the inside.
Matthew Kenney (formerly 105 Degrees) is located in Classen Curve and similarly, this restaurant concept is something new and fresh to Oklahoma City. Matthew Kenney is a globally known pioneer of the raw foods movement and, appropriately, the mission of his restaurant is to serve food in its healthiest state: raw. Without getting too deep on the subject, food that is heated to a temperature higher than 105-110 degrees is considered to be “cooked”, at which point is starts losing enzymes and oxygen. Ideally, heated raw food should be close to body temperature. In the open kitchen at MK you will find no grill and no cooking.
This was something fairly new to my husband Justin and me. We had never had a raw meal before so we didn’t really know what was in store for us. Walking into Matthew Kenney I felt revitalized right away. The airy, white, fresh interior is as clean as the food I knew I was about to eat. A wine and juice bar is in the front section. The middle section is the dining area and open kitchen where you can see the chefs endlessly prepping food…
…and the far section holds a shop and Matthew Kenney Academy, where culinary artists grow up to be just like Matthew.
Our server, James, greeted us and took our drink orders. We started with water and a Mustang Washita Wheat beer (locally brewed, of course, with Oklahoma red wheat) to drink while we pilfered through the cocktail book, the brunch menu and the lunch menu.
Although Matthew Kenney isn’t locally-owned, it is their goal to be sustainable and to use local farmers as much as possible to flesh out their menu. Ordering from the lunch menu we started with a “Small Plate” (appetizer). It was a close battle between the Mezze (red pepper hummus, tabouli, olive spread and sweet potato chips, $11) and the House Aged Tree Nut Cheeses & Condiments ($12), but the latter prevailed. After all, I don’t think I had ever tried a nut cheese before. When the plate came out James identified each item for us. Out of the ten items on the plate, I can honestly say I had only tried pickled cauliflower and grain mustard before. How exciting!
We really enjoyed experimenting with this plate. We dabbled poached pears in fig compote. We ate nut crackers with wildflower honey. Pickled cauliflower and grain mustard with macadamia truffle cheese? Don’t mind if I do.
The nut cheeses were very soft and rich and easy to spread. James explained that they were made from nuts that had been soaked in water and then smashed into a paste. Ohhh… so it’s not really cheese… could have fooled me. He also told us that most of the foods at MK are brought in whole and made in-house.
Except that wildflower honey. It was so good I had to ask him if they sold it separately. James was nice enough to find out from the chef that it was purchased from Andrews Honey Bees, a Holdenville, OK-based honey producer. It can be purchased online here, and is also sold in several stores around the metro. You better believe I’ll be stocking up on my next trip to Forward Foods.
Our Tostada Salad ($13) came next – abundant heaps of crunchy, deliciously-textured kale with walnut picadillo and avocado, marinated in a red pepper and cilantro vinaigrette. This salad was both light and hearty at the same time and I have a newfound appreciation for kale.
I ordered the Quinoa Bowl ($12) for my “Large Plate.” The quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah,” for the record) was nestled in butternut soup, sprinkled with diced apples, nut crackers and garnished with kale. There were so many great textures in this dish, with the crispy apples and the crunchy crackers and kale. Each bite was different and interesting. However, eating a soup-based dish at room temperature took some getting used to, but I quickly learned to love it.
Justin opted for the Lasagna ($13). Take a look at the photo below. At first glance, the Italian food connoisseur would think, “Oh… that’s not lasagna. But I see what they’re trying to do here.” The “ricotta” is made from macadamia nuts. Zucchini slices replace the pasta sheets. Pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara and arugula finish off the dish. Keep in mind it’s raw – so it’s cool in temperature.
But when you taste this genius little concoction below, you will be pleasantly surprised at how it tastes exactly like lasagna. Really fresh lasagna that doesn’t make you want to curl up in the booth and take a nap halfway through.
The show-stopper, however, was the Tiramisu ($11). When we placed our order James told us it was the most popular item on the menu and it’s obvious why. Please – if nothing else in this post appeals to you – promise me you will try the Tiramisu at Matthew Kenney.
This is the best tiramisu that I have ever had. It is the best dessert I have ever had. And the best part is – it isn’t terrible for you! Cappuccino gelato with espresso reduction and chocolate soil… oh, the chocolate soil. Get all three components in a perfect bite and you will get a glimpse of what heaven must be like. I pretended to be finished before Justin and I jealously watched out of the corner of my eye as he scooped up the perfect last bite, scraping the bowl clean.
And then he turned the loaded spoon toward me. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
Seriously, I can’t even look at that picture without drooling a little. It wasn’t until we were driving home that the absence of meat in our meal occurred to us. We were still perfectly content and felt totally satisfied with our meal. If I could eat like that every day, I could easily make the raw food transition. When we got home, I consulted Pinterest for raw food recipes and was almost immediately discouraged, though. It’s incredibly time consuming to create foods like this, which explains the higher-than-average prices and gives me an even bigger appreciation for this restaurant.