The Oklahoman

City & State opens in Automobile Alley

- Dave Cathey

New restaurant­s are popping up across the 405 di-ningscape, but none with more panache than Basil Rayan’s City & State, 19 NE 6th St.

Four Augusts ago, Rayan formed a limited liability company called 6th Street Marketplac­e, and a year later finalized the purchase of two brick buildings on NE 6th Street as the street feeds into downtown.

Since then, Rayan has renovated the two buildings into City & State, a luxurious new restaurant and bar. Chef Kari Clark-Garrett, formerly of Mary Eddy’s in 21c, features a simple menu supported by a scratch kitchen.

The restaurant opened earlier this month, and I was able to drop in ahead of time to sample the charcuteri­e board, cheesestea­k eggrolls, crispy cauliflower, St. Louis ribs, and caramelize­d onion dip.

Seated at the expansive bar, surrounded in the iron, brick and wood accents hover over the glossy concrete we’ve come to expect in industrial build-outs. Bright lights and community seating at the bar give way to shadowy intimate dining spaces between it and the main dining room.

Along the way, guests will pass between the kitchen and glass-encased private dining space. The sprawling indoor-outdoor space will offer close to 350 seats inside and out.

As for the flavors, the charcuteri­e stood out, anchored by an outstandin­g pate. The crispy cauliflower was clearly conceived with vegetarian­s in mind, but the veg-only crowd will have to fight with the carnivores for these objectivel­y tasty bites. They offer the promise of fried mushrooms from Hideaway Pizza without the explosive center that takes 15 minutes to ebb.

The St. Louis ribs were perfectly prepared and the fig-serrano compote as lacquer showed star quality. Also sampled salmon and saffron rice, grilled eggplant, and shrimp and andouille sausage from the entrees.

My favorite was the pasta, a sea of creamy tomato sauce crowded with campanelle pasta, sausage and shrimp. Buttery, rich and sop-worthy, no other boxes need be checked in the pasta game.

Vegetarian­s will love the eggplant over a black garlic hummus and flanked by blistered shishito peppers, fried chickpeas, relish and fresh tomatoes and cucumber. The delicate salmon was balanced by a smoked tomato sauce and was flaky.

When the pandemic came, Rayan and his team put their collective shoulder into this project and the result is a lavish, industrial dining space and venue ready to take root and grow.

City & State opened Thursday and is currently offering dinner daily at 5 p.m. with brunch 3 to 5 p.m.

Sundays. Go online to cityandsta­teokc.com for menus and full hours.

Chili season has arrived

OKC Beautiful’s third annual Fall Harvest Festival is 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday and includes a chili cookoff at the Delmar Gardens Food Truck Park in the Farmers Market District.

Local restaurant­s and home chefs will compete for the blue ribbon in the chili cookoff. Guest judges include social media influencers Phi Nguyen and Apollo Woods and yours truly. The Big Friendly Beer Bus will be parked on site for suds.

Live music from Stephen Salewon and Tanner Fields will set the soundtrack for pumpkin decorating, a costume contest, and a mini farmers market from OKC Beautiful’s school garden program.

Tickets are $35 and available online at www.okcbeautif­ul.com. Tickets include two beer tickets, chili, and access to games and activities. Youth tickets are $20. Proceeds support OKC Beautiful’s environmen­tal education and school garden program, OKC Harvest.

Quick Bites

Patrono is winding down its operation of the Pompeii Cafe inside The Oklahoma Museum of Art, but the space isn’t going dark. Look for chef Michael Haddad, of Richey’sGrill, to take over the space and rebrand to Center Bistro. Haddad promises to keep the counter service that worked so well for Cafe Pompeii, but hopes to add some dinner entrees in time.

Robert Painter, general manager at Patrono, said their experience running Cafe Pompeii checked every box and ended up exceeding expectatio­ns. He said they never intended to extend their stay, and recommende­d Haddad to take over. ...

Speaking of Patrono, chef Jonathan Krell has updated the menu for fall and winter, and the results are sublime. Look for Cacio e pepe risottos (sigh) and a new vegetarian dish in which saucy smoked wild mushrooms and polenta make sweet, sweet love. Don’t forget about the warm root veggie salad, and the panna cotta from sous chef Ashley Gonzalez is inspired. ...

Queen of Eggrolls closed at the end of September, but look for it to reopen soon at a new location ... Big O’s Pork & Dreams will opens its new Midwest City location on Friday at 11 a.m. ...

Certainly hope you’ll have a chance to read the story published Sunday about the bawdy and bold history of Jamil’s Steakhouse and the property it occupies.

Mentioned briefly in that story is the heart attack that nearly cost the 405 diningscap­e a legend. Owner Greg Gawey was kind enough to sit down to lunch with me for the story, and talk about his harrowing health crisis from last summer.

Gawey said his energy level might be down a notch, but he’s managing it. If he was moving any slower, it was hard to tell watching him lap the dining room during lunch to visit with guests.

Jamil’s represents something truly unique to Oklahoma, and I can’t recommend it enough for a visit because the meal is always only half the show. Like Pete’s Place and Lovera’s in Krebs, Jamil’s is a place where time has trouble ticking.

A dinner at Jamil’s today is no different than dinner at Jamil’s when the first version opened in Tulsa in 1946 or when it finally arrived here in 1966 — Lebanese mezzes followed by a quality steak and potato dinner served as they were before anyone had ever heard of a chophouse.

With an experience­d staff with folks like Dianne Moentnish keeping an eye on things, Jamil’s can be equal parts dinner and interactiv­e history lesson.

Whether it’s the Lebanese steakhouse style, the myriad of artwork and antiques adorning the walls or the ice box underneath the television, conversati­on pieces abound at Jamil’s.

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 ?? Alley. DAVE CATHEY/THE OKLAHOMAN ?? Salmon and Saffron Rice from City & State in Oklahoma City’s Automobile
Alley. DAVE CATHEY/THE OKLAHOMAN Salmon and Saffron Rice from City & State in Oklahoma City’s Automobile

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