Head downtown to the Art Deco jewel in Tulsa’s crown, the 1928 Philtower, and right next to the glowing, ethereal cathedral ceiling of the lobby, you’ll find Tavolo, owned by chef and restaurateur Justin Thompson. Bistro-like tables dressed in white linen, exposed brick walls, a grand bar and a sweeping staircase all combine intimacy with sophistication. But all this is merely a setting for the food. The menu is “rooted in Italian,” says Chef Marcus Vause, with elements – some familiar, others not – from every region of Italy. But it’s Italian like you’ve never had before. Each dish is visually stunning

“Simple flavors in vibrant exciting combination” is how Vause describes his dishes. Still, the simplest flavors in the simplest dish may take hours of hard work. The linguini with tomato sauce features hand-peeled tomatoes marinated for hours combined with a pureed sauce that isn’t cooked. How does he do that? “I have few secrets, but this is one of them,” he says. Porchetta, a classic roast from Lazio, features pork belly, tenderloin and a Milanese gremolata carefully layered, cooked sous-vide and then gently fried. It takes 48 hours to make. Pansotti, a kind of ravioli from Liguria, is stuffed with rich foie gras. Scallops are accented with pancetta, sweetbreads and lemon vinaigrette. All this deceptively simple harmony on a plate is the product of lots of hard work, but if you peek into the kitchen while Vause is plating the dishes, chances are you’ll see him smiling. 427 S. Boston Ave., Tulsa. www.tavolotulsa.com

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