By NATALIE MIKLES World Scene Writer
Top chef Dean Fearing sets the menu for fundraiser
When Dean Fearing comes to Tulsa, he ahs his pick of restaurants.
Most chefs would love the chance to feed the superstar Dallas chef who put Southwest cuisine on the culinary map.
But Fearing skips those Tulsa restaurants with maitre d’s and wine lists. When he comes to Tulsa, he goes to Ike’s.
Fearing was in Tulsa last week for a tasting preview of the menu he will present at the Painted Pony Ball to benefit the Children’s Hospital at St. Francis on Nov. 21.
Just off the plane, his first stop was to Ike’s Chili House.
“To me, that’s true American cuisine,” he said. “It’s classic.”
Fearing created his own brand of American cuisine as a young chef at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, where his star rose during his more than 20 years there. Last year he opened Fearing’s at the Ritz-Carlton in Dallas, where he continues to create food that is both black-tie and pure Texas.
When he came on the restaurant scene, Fearing stood out among the big-league chefs for his twang, Texas colloquialisms and signature blue jeans and custom-made Lucchese cowboy boots.
His food is a lot like those Lucchese boots – slick, but comfortable.
Take one of the most popular entrees on the dinner menu at Fearing’s – pan roasted spiced filet and chicken-fried Maine lobster. It’s served on queso fresco and corn whipped potatoes with a soft spinach taco.
Those potatoes, a signature Dean Fearing item, will be among the foods served at the Painted Pony Ball.
The entire Painted Pony Ball menu is right off the Fearing’s menu, which was exactly the intention of Painted Pony Ball chairs Cathey and Mike Barkley.
The Barkleys have been fans and friends of Fearing’s since his Mansion on Turtle Creek days. When they talked about whot hey wanted for the dinner portion of the ball, Fearing was their first choice.
“We wanted to draw more people in, to tell them this is an opportunity to taste something from Dean Fearing,” Cathey Barkley said. “And Dean has two sons, 8 and 10 years old, so children are close to his heart. When we asked, he said, ‘When’s the event? Sign me up.'”
A bowl of Ike’s chili might have had a little influence, too.
On his visit last week, Fearing had a two-way (chili with spaghetti)and a chili dog. That was plenty of food, but he also stopped at another Tulsa favorite, Jim’s Coney Island – Never on Sunday.
“Not everyone can appreciate that kind of food. I don’t know if my kids would ever understand what it’s all about. It’s a different era.
“All of these chili parlors that sprung up in the early 1900s, you’ll never see them again once they’re gone. You can’t find them anymore in Texas,” he said.
It made his trip to Tulsa all the more worthwhile.
PAINTED PONY BALL
When: 6:30p.m. Nov. 21
Where: Central Park Hall at the Tulsa Fairgrounds Dinner is followed by a live performance from Hanson
Cost: $750 per person. The even benefits the Children’s Hospital at St. Francis.
Information: Call 494-1450 for an invitation.
Barbecued shrimp taco with mango-pickled red onions salad and smoky cumin-lime vinaigrette
Apricot barbecue-glazed bobwhite quail on baby iceberg wedge with Pt. Reyes blue cheese dressing and crumbled bacon
Chili-braised short ribs with queso fresco and corn whipped potatoes with honey-thyme glazed carrots
State fair pecan tart with cranberry-orange compote