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Brunch at The Hutch on Avondale

Written by Greg Elwell

Stylish Eats reviews are brought to you by Steven Giles Clothing, the menswear store for those with discerning taste. Style extends well beyond the confines of clothing, so Steven Giles is teaming up with I Ate Oklahoma to bring you reviews of eateries with a refined palate across the state.

On a blustery Sunday morning in Nichols Hills, I sat in my car listening to podcasts and watching as couples who were bundled up against the wind approached the locked door to The Hutch on Avondale returned, chastened, to their vehicles to wait for 11 a.m. to roll around.

The wait for an 11 a.m. brunch is a struggle, regardless of where you are, but it’s especially hard to deal with the hunger pangs that precede a meal at The Hutch, because you just know it’s going to be worth it.

Cheddar and chive biscuits

Executive Chef David Henry isn’t the household name in Oklahoma City that he deserves to be. While several of the state’s best chefs passed through the kitchen at The Coach House, home to The Coach House Apprenticeship Program, it was Henry who became the full-time head of the kitchen.

When the owners decided to close the restaurant in 2016, they weren’t about to lose Henry. He worked doing pop-up dinners while the old building underwent renovations and rebranding, emerging later that year as The Hutch on Avondale.

Even now, customers in the restaurant still talk about The Coach House, which is completely understandable. But as Western Concepts culinary director Kurt Fleischfresser said at the time, it’s not like the dedication to fine food and creative presentations was going away. Rather, reborn as The Hutch, Henry’s skilled palate would be on display for a larger audience who aren’t quite so cowed by The Coach House’s high-end reputation. And don’t fool yourself—some folks gave that storied establishment a wide berth because they simply didn’t feel like an occasion was special enough to book a table. That’s how good restaurants die.

The Food

Brunch is far from the only meal at The Hutch, and I highly recommend you visit them for lunch and dinner sometime. But if you’re looking for a meal worthy of your Sunday best, brunch is where it’s at.

Let me tell you a love story, if I may, about a young man who had a forbidden desire. Each time he visited a restaurant, his eyes would lock lustily on that unknowable and forever out-of-reach section of the menu…

Appetizers.

Pancake fritters

Oh, how his heart yearned to know the seductive touch of a shrimp cocktail or the loving embrace of a bowl of guacamole. But it was not meant to be. Like Montagues and Capulets, his parents could not accept his love for appetizers.

“Just eat chips and salsa,” they said. And he did. But his thoughts never strayed far from those forbidden apps.

And that young man…was Richard Nixon.

It also sounds like me, as well, because I love some appetizers. And there are only two on The Hutch’s brunch menu, so I got them both.

Pancake fritters ($10) are a plate of tiny dutch baby pancakes served with luscious lemon curd and ripe berries. They look cute, but I took a bite and just straight up cursed (Sorry nearby tables!) because I wasn’t ready for that jelly. The pancakes were light as air and that lemon curd was so smooth I think it took my wallet.

I made my friends try them next and they also started up with the salty sailor talk. Maybe I just need better friends…

No, that can’t be it, because Kevin said, “We should get the white cheddar and chive biscuits ($6), too.”

Breakfast burrito

And I said, “How did you make that parenthetical show up when you talked?” but he wasn’t listening. He was eating one of the finest little biscuits known to man.

You get six mini biscuits and some honey butter and, sorry, but you should throw that honey butter away. It’s not bad. Not at all. But the sweetness of the butter is a distraction from the savory, tangy, magical flavor of the biscuits. Maybe regular whipped butter would be better, but these don’t actually need anything else to make them perfect. Just…wow. WOW. I could eat several dozen of those in a sitting and David Henry knows it. It’s part of his genius plan to take my millions of dollars I earned running a food blog.

Kevin ordered the breakfast burrito ($15) for his entree and this is one of those times when I am legitimately floored with how well a great chef can elevate an already wonderful dish.

I love breakfast burritos. I wish I could pour them out of a box into a bowl every morning. And a mix of scrambled eggs, sausage and cheese with a little salsa is all I need. But The Hutch’s version was just better.

Eggs benedict

It’s huge, for one. Inside are eggs scrambled with white cheddar and onions—scrambled to creamy perfections, btw—and served with beef tenderloin and potatoes inside a tortilla, then topped with fresh picante. It’s a knife-and-fork burrito, but even the steak was cooked just right. This kind of care isn’t what most of us are used to in a dish seemingly designed to be eaten while you’re driving to work.

Because I’m a fancy lady, I ordered the eggs benedict ($16).

I know, okay? I know that eggs benny are played out. There are too many benedicts and we’re all supposed to be over it and onto whatever the new breakfast thing is. But, again, this is David Henry’s eggs benedict.

Perfectly poached eggs. PERFECT. Whites set. Yolks oozing out. A base of crisp english muffin topped with really real ham. Smoked ham. Like ham jerky, but more tender. A hollandaise sauce so light and lemony that I didn’t want to waste a drop. Pile on some lightly dressed arugula, with just a hint of bitter bite, and a pile of gorgeous breakfast potatoes and it’s heaven. This is where brunch goes when it’s lived a virtuous life.

Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles ($15) are a special item. You can’t get them every week, but something tells me these will return frequently to the menu.

Fried corn tortillas are simmered in a spicy red sauce, giving them a tender texture, and then covered in pulled pork, black beans, cheddar and a pair of poached eggs. If everything else we’d ordered was prim and proper, this was like Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn showing up on a motorcycle with his sleeveless leather jacket, ready to pitch for a down-and-out Cleveland Indians team.

…sorry, I just really love “Major League.” Give it a watch sometime.

The spice was perfect. Enough to dazzle the taste buds, but not so much that you’d have to order a glass of milk to extinguish the flames. The egg yolk and the pulled pork mixed in perfectly and the beans added a nice heft. All in all, a spectacular version of a Mexican classic and one I’d like to see make the regular menu one of these days.

There’s a full bar and general manager Kyle Fleischfresser takes great pride in keeping the wine selection exceedingly well curated. If you want a cocktail to go with your cocktail casual dress, you’re in luck.

One word of advice: reservations. Okay, maybe a few more context words of advice: you should make reservations. Whatever problems The Coach House had filling its dining room, The Hutch doesn’t share them. Sunday brunch gets packed in a hurry. One taste and you’ll understand why.

Stylish Eats are sponsored by Steven Giles Clothing, a high-end men’s fashion store in Classen Curve providing expertly tailored suits, timeless casual wear and everything in between. Visit them online at stevengilesclothing.com to schedule a fitting or stop in at 5850 N. Classen Blvd. to browse their selection in person.

Read more of Greg’s reviews at http://iateoklahoma.com/reviews

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Fit and Tailoring are everything

“Fine clothing will never cause a measure of discomfort.” – Steven Giles

Fit and Tailoring are everthing

A fine single-malt scotch can linger tantalizingly on the taste buds or it can burn the tongue and turn bitter…not every liquor is right for every palate.

In men’s fashion, the same is true of fit. We are not some homogeneous race of men, identical in shape and size. To try and apply a one size fits associated with a specific fashion, to each of us as if we were is pure folly.

We, each of us, must find the style that fits us. But the journey isn’t over there, either. Fit gets the right liquor in your glass. Tailoring is allowing a bartender to customize that cocktail so it’s right for you.

“Beyond personal taste, there are the fundamentals of fit and tailoring,” says Steven Giles. “You should be able to move easily and without reasonable restrictions. Not only does proper fit and tailoring feel right physically, it’s also the key to appearing comfortable.”

Few looks are more striking than a man in a suit that seems, tip to toe, like it was built just for him. A man like that doesn’t have to work to be noticed.

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Behind the Scenes “A Renaissance Personified II”

Behind the scenes, enjoying the exceptional work of Charlie Neuenschwander photography.  A special thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Brian Henson for the use of their beautiful home and to our good friend Mr. Monte Turrentine (Legacy Cleaners), always a most pleasant addition to the fun.  Most importantly, our gratitude to long time friend, Mr. Stanley Stoner.  A gentleman’s style to be modeled.  Stan…the very personification of character and joy!

 

 

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A Renaissance Personified II

Written by Greg Elwell

The measure of a man’s confidence isn’t in his appearance, but appearance is a good indicator of confidence.

Stan Stoner is a man who knows the importance of looking his best.  From his days as a Drill Sergeant in the U.S. Army to his 50-year career leading his own advertising agency and into retirement, Stoner said he has learned the value of dressing well.  Being a natty dresser was an asset in the boardroom — a secret weapon that projects confidence in a business that demands it.  There’s a mental edge that comes from walking into a room and knowing you look excellent. When the mind isn’t preoccupied worrying about appearances, it allows one to reach a deeper level of concentration.

“That extends to every facet of life,” he said.  “Casual wear doesn’t have to be sloppy.  It can accentuate the person, so when I step through the door I feel like the best-looking guy in the room, even if I’m not,” he said.

Stoner’s secret isn’t much of a secret:  It’s Steven Giles Clothing.  “When running my ad agency, I wore a suit or sport coat almost every day and almost everyone I bought from Steve,” Stoner said. That’s because of the one-two punch of personal service and Giles’ eye for style.

“He’s very good at presenting clothing that fits you; not just your body, but your personality,” he said. “Steve knows what I like, and he knows what looks good on me.  If he tells me something looks good on me, I trust him.”

An avid fly-fisherman, Stoner said, “if Steven Giles carried hip waders, he would buy those, too.” But when he left the streams for evenings in Cuba, Belize, the Bahamas and all around the world, his evening wear came from Steven Giles Clothing.  “Whether I’m hunting or salt-water fly fishing or on safari, I want clothes that are appropriate,” the Enid resident said.  “And nobody knows how to dress me like Steve.”

For years, he has built a relationship with Giles based on the shop’s commitment to high-quality pieces and a keen eye for timeless fashion.  It kept him coming back throughout his career and it’s a secret he was happy to share with others.  As a mentor, Stoner has sent many colleagues to Steven Giles Clothing with a simple recommendation: trust the staff.  “Everybody wants to look good, but most people wouldn’t know where to go to find clothes of high fashion that really fit them,” he said.  “Steve has built his reputation and his following through years of work.  He knows you. He knows how you want to look.”

In retirement, Stoner stays committed to looking his best, not because he’s trying to impress anyone, but because looking good is the ultimate sign of respect. And after 53 years of marriage, his lovely wife Bobbie isn’t about to let him dress in anything less than the best.

Photography by:  Charlie Neuenschwander

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THE GOOD ITALIAN I

Click link to watch THE GOOD ITALIAN I

http://carusomenswear.com/the-good-italian-i.html

It is not a question of creating a commercial masked as an art-house film, but a far more ambitious project.

The objective of Caruso’s short movie is to represent and promote, through the most universal media that exists, the brand’s inspiring concept.  THE LIFESTYLE OF A GOOD ITALIAN.

Caruso wants the world to know that the whole of Italy, not just the most famous tourist destinations, is imbued with that and that have made the “italian lifestyle” so natural, yet so extraordinary to appear almost unreal.  And this is why the narrative uses the language of fairytales and “suspenion of disbeleif” as artistic approach.

 

Nature, Art, Opera, Architecture, Gastronomy, Tailoring… are all expressed to the best in Soragna and its immediate surroundings, to be visited on foot, by bicycle or in a horse-pulled carriage like the noble families that were once the masters of these lands. Caruso, which carries the best of the Italian tailoring tradition in a contemporary setting, wanted this fantastic story to evoke the emotions and pleasure that give authenticity and meaning to the brand.

A couple of English tourists on bike come across by chance a small tumbledown farmhouse, which reveals, behind the creaking door, the interior of a princely mansion: the dining room of the of the Prince Meli Lupi of Soragna, featuring some of the most important baroque frescoes in northern Italy.

The prince, played by actor Giancarlo Giannini, is very hospitable and welcomes the two tourists to his table, laden with from the cellars of Italy’s top producer (the “Antica Corte Pallavicina” of the Spigaroli brothers) together with the typical local wines, from the cellar of a renowned award-winning restaurant in Soragna, “La Stella D’Oro”.

 

 

The final touch is the transformation of the guest, initially dressed in a cycling jacket and knickerbockers, who is accompanied by, the loyal butler and Caruso testimonial, to the prince’s dressing room and invited to put on an impeccably tailored blue suit.

 

All the clothes worn in the 5 minutes short movie, will be available at the CARUSO flagship stores in New York and Milan and online at thecorner.com, the luxury e-store offering a selectionof prestigious international brands.