Culinary Evolution

The Hutch on Avondale, in moving from French style to American progressive, retains its seasonal side dishes.

The Hutch changes its menu seasonally to guarantee the freshest vegetables. Photo by Brent Fuchs
The Hutch changes its menu seasonally to guarantee the freshest vegetables. Photo by Brent Fuchs

[dropcap]From[/dropcap] its rich history as Coach House, The Hutch on Avondale transformed in 2016 into a new, fabulously quirky eatery.

In its previous life under chef Kurt Fleischfresser, the Nichols Hills restaurant was an Oklahoma City favorite. Now son Kyle Fleischfresser has taken the managerial reins and moved toward progressive, American cuisine – with some experimentation – while retaining an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.

“We are a casual tavern-style restaurant and like to keep things simple but do it really, really well,” the younger Fleischfresser says. “We’ve moved away from the former French style in favor of modern food. Some patron favorites are the steak frites, the brisket sandwich – on house-made brioche bun – and barbecue ribs. Our beef is from Creekstone Farms, and we work with local vendors for vegetables and micro greens.”

Banquette tables in natural wood beckon diners, as does the new bar extending across the comfortable space and featuring the practical touch of handbag hooks and USB cable plugs. This is Fleischfresser’s mixologist domain; when not managing the restaurant’s business, he’s often found crafting new cocktails or chatting with patrons who have scheduled a tasting menu.

There are seats at a window overlooking the kitchen for a Chef’s Bar experience, which may require a reservation for a seven-course meal. But a night out doesn’t have to include a tete-a-tete with the chef to be memorable.

An open window into the kitchen allows for people to see the food being made.
Photo by Brent Fuchs

“The menu changes quarterly, although our proteins stay the same; it’s the sides that change so that we can keep it seasonal,” Fleischfresser says. “Lately my favorites are the salad with asparagus and the haricots verts [green beans]. And we have a fantastic booze array, including one of the top two or three best whiskey selections in the state [and] an ample wine selection, and we do a good job on cocktails as well.”

Among patron favorites are the smoked salmon, from-scratch biscuits and, more recently, an inspired concoction of house buffalo Sriracha sauce paired with “chicken lollies, where we scrape the meat up the bone so it is one big bite at the end,” Fleischfresser says.

All sauces and dressings are made from scratch, and this hands-on aesthetic extends to desserts, with ice cream, chocolate cake and crème brulee among the choices.

Fleischfresser wants those familiar with The Hutch’s history to know “we’re very casual; it’s not like Coach House. Come see us; you are well-dressed enough. We’re that great neighborhood bar where it’s comfortable to grab a quick meal.”

Closed Sunday evenings and Monday, the restaurant features a fantastic brunch Saturdays and Sundays, including choices for children. Kids are always welcome at The Hutch and are offered “plain things like grilled cheese, kid-friendly pasta, French toast sticks,” Fleischfresser says. “We do not have a regular kid’s menu because we love to cater to their whims.”