While the dust is still far from clearing on what's beginning to feel like a lifetime of construction downtown, the new culinary landscape is beginning to take shape.
Nebu has already opened on the first floor of the Devon Tower, and on Thursday, Flint will open in the Colcord Hotel.
But John Williams, president of Williams & Associates Hospitality, and his team want the public to know this isn't a restaurant built exclusively for hotel guests.
“We want to dispel the myth that hotel restaurants aren't for the general public,” Williams said.
So Williams and his team decided to build an entrance on the corner of Sheridan and Robinson, so patrons can enter without going through the hotel lobby. Once inside, it will become clear that Oklahoma City's food scene is growing up.
From the ceiling treatments to the swanky lounge, Flint projects upscale comfort. Rich woodsy tones highlighted by splashes of fire, glass and soon water make this one of the city's most modern spaces. Those who frequented Soleil or the downtown La Baguette will barely recognized the space.
And if you're looking for the old oyster bar, don't waste your time. When I asked Williams about it, the desperate sigh he unleashed spoke 1,000 words about the longtime establishment that spiraled into deterioration. Bottom line: no more oyster bar.
Flint's food dossier is kitschy and whimsical with a menu inside to match.
“You're gonna find that we have flavors to match any palate,” said corporate chef Andrew Black, who formerly oversaw the Skirvin Hotel's group of restaurants.
Breakfast features standards with gourmet flourishes. You can have your pancakes served like grandma used to make or infused with lemon ricotta and topped with mango-papaya chutney. You can have a brioche French toasts or lobster crepes. Egg dishes range from omelets to Eggs Benedict to steak and eggs. Prices range $5 to $14.
For lunch, Flint offers an equally impressive range of flavors and prices. Starters include jalapeno hush puppies, hummus and crab dip. Buffalo chili is a soup mainstay with five different entree-sized salads to choose from, including Thai, Southwest, and Greek flavors.
Among the eight sandwiches are a lobster roll, BLT, grilled vegetable tacos and burgers that come in beef, turkey and vegetarian.
Flint also offers six entrees at lunch, including pan-fried skate, steak frites and roasted chicken. Prices start at $7 and top out at $14.
For dinner, the menu expands. For starters, pork and black-eyed peas and pumpkin squash gnocchi arrive.
Entrees include a mixed grill of roasted lamb, tenderloin and chicken sausage, a grilled pork porterhouse and porcini-dusted lamb loin. The dinner menu also includes representative chops. The seafood choices are expansive, including branzino, skate, halibut, scallops, blue prawns and salmon. Flint also served burgers at dinner.
Desserts include plays on top-notch carrot cake and a clever interpretation of s'mores.
How does one execute a menu this broad?
“We take a direct approach to cooking,” Black said. “We spend our time searching for the best ingredients in the world, then we cook them using the simplest possible way.”
Black said the search for ingredients begins locally and then stretches to where the highest quality can be found.
The man in charge of delivering this menu is executive chef Kyle Cowan, a native of south Texas who arrives in Oklahoma City via Vail, Colo., and most recently Dallas.
Williams said Flint will stay open a little later than most restaurants, 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends. It also offers a large lounge that will spill out onto an outdoor patio in early July. Flint also has outdoor restaurant seating along Sheridan.
Flint is sign of the ascending sophistication in the local dining scene that's sure to raise the bar for fellow restaurants not only downtown but citywide.
Meanwhile, chef Black continues plans for the Williams' groups most ambitious concept, Vast. Black said they hope they have the sky-scraping restaurant in the Devon Tower open by year's end.
If you go
Where: 15 N Robinson Ave.
When: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for breakfast and lunch; 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays for dinner with later hours on weekends.
For more information, go online to flintokc.com