Sunday, September 26, 7:00
Members $115, guests $125
2038 Utica Square
For reservations or more information, please
call 918.744.4280 or go to www.pologrill.com.
Oklahoma, the site of dust bowls, bull frogs, corn as high as an
elephant’s eye, fine dining...Fine dining? That’s right,
fine dining. Under the steady hands of proprietor/chefs (not to
mention husband and wife) Robert and Ouida Merrifield, Tulsa’s
Polo Grill has put Oklahoma on the culinary map in indelible ink.
“Tulsa is indeed fortunate to have a restaurant of this caliber,”
wrote Carol Kealiher of the Greater Tulsa Reporter Newspapers.
Polo Grill’s motto—“the difference between going
out and going all out”—neatly sums up its owners’
philosophy on hospitality. And if you are going out on September
26, it would be a good idea to stop in at the restaurant, where
the Merrifields and some of the area’s finest chefs will be
paying homage to James Beard in a meal that is sure to make Tulsa
Since opening in 1983, Polo Grill has attracted more attention
than a tornado in December. “We take what’s old and
make it new again,” Robert Merrifield told Margaret Hope of
the Oklahoma Family, describing the restaurant’s fresh
spin on traditional dishes. “We like to call what we do ‘retrofit
cuisine.’” Kathleen Kelly of the Urban Tulsa Weekly
liked to call it “exquisite,” a word that—as she
wrote—“comes to mind at some point during the dining
experience at Polo Grill. From beginning to end, it is one of the
best in the city.” The editors at Wine Spectator obviously
agreed: Polo Grill has twice received the journal’s Award
of Excellence for its extensive wine collection.
Joining the Merrifields in the kitchen on September 26 will be
Kurt Fleischfresser, the owner and executive chef of the Restaurant
Resource Group. After honing his culinary chops at several restaurants
around the country, this two-time finalist in the American Culinary
Gold Cup Competition became the co-owner of several of Oklahoma
City’s finest restaurants: The Coach House, The Metro Wine
Bar and Bistro, and Irma’s Burger Shack, which shows its state
pride by serving as many locally made products as possible.
Speaking of local products, Tulsa native Bill Harris will be coming
to cook as well. A graduate of the CIA, Bill Harris worked as a
line cook, restaurant manager, and wine bar manager in the Florida
Keys, Hawaii, and San Diego before returning home to cook at Tulsa’s
Thyme American Bistro.
Philippe Garmy, the director of the culinary arts program at the
Tri County Technology Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, will also
be lending his expertise for the occasion. Raised in South America,
Garmy trained in France, where he cooked in the kitchens of several
one- and two-Michelin-starred restaurants, including L’Auberge
Bourbonnais in Bourbon-Lancy under Jean Quarantino. Before moving
to Tulsa, Garmy spent six years working for Hyatt Hotels.
Polo Grill’s former sous-chef Justin Thompson will be returning
to his old stomping ground for the evening. The current chef de
cuisine at Ciao, Baby, a contemporary Italian restaurant also in
Tulsa, Thompson began his career while still in college by managing
a corporate chain restaurant.
A culinary prodigy, Devin Levine started working in the kitchen
of the Camelot Inn of Tulsa at the ripe old age of 12. By the time
he turned 19, he had been installed as the executive chef of the
Executive Dining Room in the Bank of Oklahoma tower. He has worked
at the Southern Hills Country Club for almost 28 years, heading
the club’s kitchens as executive chef for the past 15.
Polo Grill’s co-lead chefs, Travis Jackson and Eric Carter,
also began their culinary careers early. Local boy Jackson started
working in an area restaurant at the age of 16, graduating to full-time
line cook before he turned 20. Jackson came to the Polo Grill with
12 years of training in restaurants all over the country and was
promoted to co-lead chef in 2003.
Eric Carter found his true calling while working in the kitchen
of his grandmother’s Garden Restaurant. At college at the
University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Carter won an American Culinary
Federation state competition and ranked fourth nationally. Before
joining the kitchen team at the Polo Grill as co-lead chef in 2004,
Carter worked at the American Restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri.