I will never get over how special we are to have Red Oak Steakhouse at Saracen Casino Resort right in our backyard. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve popped down to Pine Bluff for some exquisite food, and I fall more in love with every new dish I try. If you haven’t been to Red Oak to see what Director of Food and Beverage Todd Gold and Chef Joe Coleman are cooking up, what are you waiting for?
I have yet to try a meal I did not thoroughly enjoy or dream about for weeks after, and will tell anyone and everyone I meet that if you’re looking for top-tier food, Red Oak is the place to go.
In my first story about Red Oak, you probably remember my extensive praise of the Saracen Spring Salad; well, I of course had to order it again because those ingredients together are unlike anything else you’ll ever experience. Not to mention, the presentation is gorgeous and makes for the best pictures. The semi-circle of vibrant heirloom tomatoes, the little dollops of buffalo mozzarella, the balsamic gel and — oh my word — the basil sorbet in the middle. If a plate of food was a work of art, it would be Chef Coleman’s salad.
My all-time favorite item on the menu at Red Oak is the fried oysters. I will talk about this dish till I’m in blue in the face, and maybe even then. The oysters are served with pork belly smoked grits, creamed spinach and pickled-corn tartar sauce — truly a comfort meal to champion all comfort meals. For those of you who tend to shy away from oysters (and believe when I say I did, too) these oysters are spectacular. With all of the other ingredients, especially the home-grown Esau corn, you won’t even realize you’re eating oysters. If you listen to only one thing I say, let it be to order the oysters!
Charcuterie boards have becomes so popular in the past couple of years, but the quality of items on Chef Coleman’s board is insane. Served as an appetizer, the board has the chef’s selection of cheese, cured meats and house-made jam. It may not be the only reason he’s the chef of the kitchen, but Coleman can choose some cheese. Akin to a night in Paris, the cheese was so rich and creamy, and I definitely could have made a meal out of the board alone. But my night of flavor explosion doesn’t stop here.
Another appetizer item, the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake was next level. The dish was presented with a hefty portion of crab cake fried golden brown paired with O-Gah-Pah coffee remoulade and Brussels sprout slaw. Is your mouth watering yet? I can’t speak highly enough of how innovative Chef Coleman is with his flavors and ingredients. I like to think of myself as a pretty good cook at home, but I would be lying to myself if I said I would be able to come up with a dish similar to this.
A little fun fact, “O-Gah-Pah” represents how the Quapaw people say “Quapaw” in the Quapaw language. This word can be translated to mean “downstream people.” Saracen and the Quapaw tribe work closely together to provide “farm to table” freshness through the Quapaw Tribe’s agriculture program. Valuing nature and quality, the Quapaw Tribe’s agriculture program and Quapaw Cattle Company are dedicated to providing only the freshest and healthiest produce and goods. Reflecting on how tasty each dish I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying has been, I appreciate the effort and value the Quapaw tribe puts into sourcing only the best.
Also connecting to nature is a secret drink menu item that undoubtedly outshines all other drink concoctions. This drink is infused with fruit and served in an insanely gorgeous bottle that I need in my own kitchen. (Don’t tell Todd, but I might steal that bottle the next time I’m there.)
The newest item on the menu, the Seared Jumbo Scallops, is absolutely to die for. The large, juicy scallops are served with pickled black-eyed peas, gnocchi and covered in a miso broth. The richness of the scallops with Chef Coleman’s expert flavor pairings was simply amazing.
If you ask Todd Gold what his favorite item on the menu is, he’ll most likely tell you the Sticky Toffee Pudding with the restaurant’s homemade ice cream. Desserts are always welcome, and this specific dessert is said to rival Gordon Ramsey’s. After cleaning the plate of the toffee pudding, I can believe it.
Naturally, I had to have the Saracen Kobe Experience. You can’t go to the only restaurant in the south that serves A5 Kobe and not have the A5 Kobe, you know? Each bite of this steak is happiness, to put it simply. Read my first story about Red Oak to really understand how prestigious this cut of meat is, and how incredible it is that Red Oak Steakhouse has the accreditation to serve these amazing cuts.
We are all about steak this month at AY for our Prime Cuts Bucket List, so I definitely had to hit up Red Oak for their best cuts. If you didn’t catch me and Todd Gold on KARK this past Wednesday, you have to check out all the special dishes Chef Coleman prepared for us. And be sure to tune in next Wednesday to KARK at 6:40 a.m. for the second part of my Bucket List trip to Red Oak, when Todd Gold and I talk about all the amazing menu items. The biggest news of all: Red Oak is doing a special giveaway for our readers at AY — a gift certificate valued at $600! Read that a few times to let it sink in because this is an amazing opportunity to head to Red Oak and try the spectacular menu, including the most elite cut of the A5 Kobe!
The winner of the giveaway will be announced on September 10, so hurry up and enter here!