Blue Rose Cafe

Kudos to whoever did the neon. The lettering style brings back fond memories of the insane illustrations my friend Laura used to draw for our school paper.

I’ve had some good intentions about visiting Blue Rose ever since it moved into its new digs last spring, but somehow I always forget about it until I’m crossing the 23rd Street Bridge on my way home and see that gorgeous sign glowing in the night sky. I remembered tonight, so we headed across the river for a light dinner.

Ron ordered a sandwich called the “Detox” — guacamole, Swiss cheese, sprouts, tomato, red onion, cucumber, olive oil and balsamic vinegar on wheatberry bread — and a side of onion rings, while I had coffee and a cup of gumbo. The rice in my gumbo could have simmered just a little longer, but the gumbo itself was respectable, with all the proper ingredients and seasonings (sausage, seafood, chicken, bay leaf, file, and pepper, with Tabasco on the side), and it warmed me thoroughly on a cold evening.

Gumbo provided welcome warmth on a cold night.

Ron’s sandwich reminded me of the vegetarian sandwiches I used to get at coffeehouses when I was in college, and the onion rings were very good. I imagine a vegan could swap the cheese for a little extra guacamole and be perfectly content with the results.

"Detox" vegetarian sandwich with onion rings.

I was still hungry when I finished my sandwich, so I had a slice of carrot cake, which was easily the best part of the meal — nutty, flavorful, and layered like a torte, with equal parts frosting and cake. I may skip dinner and go straight for dessert next time.

You've got to try the carrot cake. Lovely stuff.

Service was adequate but not stellar, and the prices were a little high — my cup of gumbo was $5.29, and Ron’s sandwich was $9.49 — but the food was still cheaper and much better than the stuff you get at Applebee’s or Chili’s, and at Blue Rose, you’re really paying for ambience: The building is right on the Arkansas River, with a patio that juts out into the water and big windows that let you look out at the river while you dine, and the decor manages to be evocative of my favorite old St. Louis haunts (Blueberry Hill, Venice Cafe) while maintaining a distinctly Tulsa vibe. Rather than attempt to explain, I’ll let the pictures do the talking:

You had me at Leon.

I love this mirror. It looks like a retablo -- especially with that Jimi Hendrix portrait reflected in it.

Homage to greatness.

This guitar reminds me of the bejeweled mushroom in the beer garden at the Venice Cafe in St. Louis.

Bottlecap bikini.

This alligator looks like something you'd see on an art car.

You've got to like a place with a sense of humor.

Merchandising. I bought that baseball shirt because it looked very soft and comfortable -- which it was. Well worth the $26.

Blue Rose endeared itself to me last spring when it not only hosted an artcar show (in which Ron and I became inadvertent participants after pulling out of the hardware store in my tie-dyed hippie wagon and — in one of those classic Emily Priddy moments — finding ourselves right in the middle of a convoy of artcars) but sent employees out to the parking lot to hand out cups of ice water to exhibitors and spectators. Anybody who supports my weirdest hobby gets big bonus points from me.

Blue Rose is located at 1924 Riverside Drive, just south of the bridge at 21st and Riverside. It is open 11 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m. to midnight Sunday, with live music several nights a week. For more information, call (918) 582-4600 or visit

Product: B+
Service: A-
Atmosphere: A+
Value: B+
Overall: A-


~ by redforkhippie on December 4, 2011.

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