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Refined Tastes

Creative cuisine in the spotlight

Restaurant Basque

When Andrew Donovan became the Executive Chef of Amelia’s Wood Fired Cuisine, he brought to the table an impressive resume. Enlisting his expertise, owner Amelia Eesley opened what has become the hottest new place to dine in Tulsa’s Art District. Basque cuisine, originating from an area that straddles the borders of Spain and France, is commonly served in small portions. Like tapas, it is designed to be shared. “The Basque country has more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than any other section of the world,” offered Donovan. He helped to develop the Restaurant Basque concept with Eesley by drawing from his travels in Spain, and through his experience as Executive Chef at the Zagat-honored Tia Pol — named the best Spanish restaurant in New York City.  

114 N. Boston Ave., Tulsa


Chef Donovan’s wife, Ashley Whitfield Donovan, is a seasoned sommelier and beverage director, with extensive knowledge of Spanish wines in particular. She curated Restaurant Basque’s wine list and cocktail menu, and found interesting Spanish wines to pair with its food. Speaking to the breadth and novelty of her restaurant’s wine, Eesley noted, “What we try to do is avoid Spanish wines that were made specifically for the American palate.”

“For me, a lot of it really comes down to the authenticity of the ingredients,” explained Donovan. “We’re not using Spanish-style cheese or Spanish-style vinegars. We import all of that directly from Spain.” The restaurant’s tuna is sourced from Spain also, with the halibut coming out of Pacific waters and the mussels from Prince Edward Island.

Restaurant Basque is now open six days a week, including Mondays. A covered patio and a private dining area are being developed. Eesley advised that the restaurant is currently accepting catering requests and reservations for private events slated for the upcoming holidays.


Tuck Curren and his wife Kate have owned restaurants and worked together for 35 years. In 2018, they opened Duet in the Tulsa Arts District’s historic Archer Building, showcasing eclectic, vibrant American food with a global influence. The 140-seat jazz club located in the restaurant’s lower level is closed for the time being, but music presented on Duet’s patio is a crowd pleaser.

Tulsa’s foodies will know the Currens from their Biga restaurant, 4329 S. Peoria, featuring casual Italian fare. It’s been a Tulsa favorite for more than 20 years. “Both restaurants are lucky to have great, loyal employees who have stayed with us. We close a few more days now to not overwork the staff,” said Tuck of the pandemic’s challenges. Diners can check Duet and Biga’s websites for business hours and wine dinner information.

Tuck oversees the menus at both restaurants, assisted by chefs James Thompson at Duet and Gambino Jimenez at Biga. Menus are switched out for the spring/summer and fall/winter seasons. Specials change monthly.

108 N. Detroit, Tulsa


“Kate and I set out to create restaurants we would want to visit every day of the week — a place where food is delicious and approachable, where service is warm and focused, and where the atmosphere is inviting, energetic and fun.”     Tuck Curren

Fried Green Tomatoes with herbed remoulade and bacon jam (left) is popular at Duet, along with Korean BBQ Short Rib Tacos. Another often-requested dish (above) is Duet’s herb-crusted Lollipop Lamb Chops with quinoa and “sauce Algiers.”


FarmBar Executive Chef and owner Lisa Becklund worked in Seattle restaurants for years, but had a keen interest in agriculture and farming. After moving to a small farm in Oklahoma, she started hosting farm-table dinners in her living room, beginning in 2006. Becklund met Linda Ford at Tulsa’s Farmer’s Market and found they shared a passion for thoughtfully sourced and prepared food. For a time, the couple tried making their living selling vegetables raised at the 400-acre Oakley Farm in Depew. A more lucrative way to use their talents would follow.

Becklund and Ford’s Living Kitchen Farm & Dairy in Depew, with fresh farm dinners served on the back porch of a log cabin in the woods, couldn’t keep up with demand. In August 2020, they opened FarmBar, an urban extension of Living Kitchen, located in Tulsa’s SoBo District. “There’s very much a strong part of the community that’s very interested in food. They want to see the food options, the quality of the dining experience and the diversity of dining experiences grow in the area,” expressed Ford. With dedication, focus and creativity, FarmBar is raising the bar on dining in Tulsa.

1740 S. Boston Ave., Tulsa


Seating 32 people inside and another 20 on the patio, FarmBar offers artful, farm-to-table food that connects diners to the origins of a particular ingredient’s flavor. Vegan and vegetarian options are available.

Menus change frequently and highlight the freshest ingredients available. Becklund’s colorful pastas and beet dishes are always a hit, along with Executive Pastry Chef Cat Cox’s sourdough and porridge breads. Pictured is Chicken Roulade with corn velout.

Chef Lisa Becklund’s 10-course tasting menu, with optional wine pairings, is a two-and-a-half-hour culinary adventure. Beer and non-alcoholic drinks also are available. FarmBar is open four nights a week, Wednesday through Saturday. Reservations are required.

  • Fried Green Tomatoes at Duet
  • Grilled Lamb is delicious at Duet