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Go West (Director's Cut)

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West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City.   Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

It took David and Rick Haynes about two years to unveil the crown jewel of their growing restaurant empire.

The wait for West, 6714 N Western Ave., was well worth it.

Using the space where Iguana Lounge was born and Magnolia Cafe stood for years, the Haynes brothers have constructed skyward on the sturdy foundation their father built with Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler.

Rick Haynes, seated, and older brother
David Haynes, with some of the featured menu items at their new restaurant, 
West, 6714 N. Western, in northwest Oklahoma City.   Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Rick Haynes, seated, and older brother David Haynes, with some of the featured menu items at their new restaurant, West, 6714 N. Western, in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Rick Haynes said he and his brother are proud of and will always be defined by the burger joint carrying their father’s first name. But after dabbling in regional expansion of the base, the brothers focused on building up rather than out. It started earlier this year when they teamed with chef Eric Smith to open Pachinko Parlor downtown, showing the group was capable of more than premium burgers and my favorite pecan pie on the planet.

Smith, a graduate of The Coach House apprenticeship program, opened a couple of restaurants in Chicago before returning home. With Pachinko, he’s showed a playful side, reaching forth into the chicken-fried Oklahoma City market and offering fear-fraught diners a helping hand up the culinary chain. Don’t like the idea of raw fish rolled up in rice? We’ll start you on the shallow end with ingredients that won’t trigger your gag reflex before you’ve sniffed your first sea urchin. And it’s been a success.

So, Smith commandeered the West kitchen to hatch a menu that covers the bases, from a churched up Johnnie’s burger to a buttery tenderloin aimed at the carnivorous heart of Oklahoma.

West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City.   Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
But before you ever take a bite of food at West, you’ll be dumbstruck by the interior — especially if you ever happened into the Iguana in its late stages. The remodel is worthy of a TV reality show. The brown, tan and concrete interiors with fixtures carefully textured with acoustic-friendly fabric create a setting where J.R. Ewing would’ve been proud to tip a scotch, but with a patio where shirt-ambivalent Matthew McConaughey wouldn’t be afraid to hold a bongo recital. True Western chic, the atmosphere is classy yet casual with enough edge for the kids to ride without scaring away the parents that put them through college.

And the food I’ve tried has been spot-on. The West Tenderloin is a juicy steak sandwich  with grilled red onions and lightly dressed arugula for balance. The beef is tender and rich, and as it disappears the natural juices enforce their savory will into the willing bread. It’s sopping without the swipe.

The Caprese salad is one of my favorite simple dishes. So, when someone turns it into a sandwich and gets it right it endears me. West has accomplished that. Added to lush Buffalo Mozzarella, basil, and roasted tomato is pesto instead of simple basil. The pesto adds complexity and oil. A portobello cap and arugula join the party. The mushroom adds texture. While I love arugula implicitly, especially the same lightly dressed version that balances the tenderloin, it seems a little irrelevant here.

The veggie platter was a seasonal mix over a bed of plump couscous. I had zucchini, asparugus and roasted tomato, which were all well executed. Can’t wait to order this dish in early summer.

West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City.   Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

I sampled the Filet Haynes and had to be restrained. The buttery beef sheltered in shiitake and goat cheese sauce verges on palate porn. The raft of haricots verts beneath buoyed the richness with a light touch.

West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City.   Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

The vegan nachos with their “cashew cheese” were a revelation. The salsa verde was bright and begging to be consumed by the bucket with an adjoining bucket of beer. The pork tenderloin was the least successful. The apricot demi glace and whipped sweet potatoes begged for a balancing acid. I did enjoy bites of the grilled asparagus in the demi. Perhaps a bite with all three was in order. Keep in mind, though, these were just a few bites so I can’t offer a full experience with the dish.

West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City.   Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

For dessert, I loved the the ice cream sandwiches. Small cookies surround house-made vanilla gelato accompanied by dipping sauces that come in chocolate, caramel and raspberry. Thanks to the variety, each bite was a new, more delicious adventure. I will say the caramel sauce arrived warm and gooey but was beginning to harden before we finished. We tried a Westover, which was filled with chocolate syrup. Mixed with the house-made vanilla gelato, this was a midnight snack sent from heaven. I also sampled the Triple Chocolate Crepe and Rustic Peach Tart. The first is a decadent chocolate orgy sure to seduce the chocolate groupies of Oklahoma. The tart is a simple offering that I can’t wait to try when peaches are at their best. For those whose sweet tooth doesn’t go to 11, this is the dessert for you.

Prices at West are in line with its Western Avenue neighbors. You can get lunch for under 10 bucks or spend $34 on one of the menu’s tenderloin choices. 

The Haynes brothers built their their dream on patience, and perseverance. That dream is on display starting at 10 a.m. for brunch Sundays and 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday. It closes at 9 Sunday through Thursday and midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

Have you been to West? Let me know what you thought.

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 West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City.   Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f487e8725c79ecd6bab39092da425f97.jpg" alt="Photo - West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman " title=" West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman "><figcaption> West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1d5ee0cccf935fafb8c4ff060aa1ac4c.jpg" alt="Photo - West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman " title=" West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman "><figcaption> West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1d5ee0cccf935fafb8c4ff060aa1ac4c.jpg" alt="Photo - West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman " title=" West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman "><figcaption> West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a9b0ee4ebcafaab7927ff2591125c424.jpg" alt="Photo - West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman " title=" West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman "><figcaption> West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a9b0ee4ebcafaab7927ff2591125c424.jpg" alt="Photo - West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman " title=" West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman "><figcaption> West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-0f7919f3f199722f56e6b4e007b5b80d.jpg" alt="Photo - West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman " title=" West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman "><figcaption> West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-8f070bee6ce88565dce279dbc63b4724.jpg" alt="Photo - West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman " title=" West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman "><figcaption> West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9c668dc1149d4c4adcd528b074e4b391.jpg" alt="Photo - West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman " title=" West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman "><figcaption> West, 6714 N. Western, a new restaurant in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d3ba8a30735865962d3abfc32643b46e.jpg" alt="Photo - Rick Haynes, seated, and older brother David Haynes, with some of the featured menu items at their new restaurant, West, 6714 N. Western, in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman " title=" Rick Haynes, seated, and older brother David Haynes, with some of the featured menu items at their new restaurant, West, 6714 N. Western, in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman "><figcaption> Rick Haynes, seated, and older brother David Haynes, with some of the featured menu items at their new restaurant, West, 6714 N. Western, in northwest Oklahoma City. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman </figcaption></figure>
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