Taste Of Oklahoma: Chef Andrew Black's Latest Addition To Oklahoma City's Food Scene

This Taste of Oklahoma brings us back into award-winning chef Andrew Black's kitchen, but this time, at a Downtown Oklahoma City landmark.

Thursday, July 4th 2024, 9:54 am



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In a new addition to a Downtown Oklahoma City landmark, James Beard Award winning chef Andrew Black opens his new restaurant in the Skirvin Hilton Hotel.

Perle Mesta, a new restaurant named after the Oklahoma City socialite whose career took her from the White House to abroad, opened on June 24, but is already making a name for itself.

Black said being back at the Skirvin is like being "at home."

"It feels like home," Black said. "Very happy, but emotional, because my kids grew up in this hotel."

Black opened Perle Mesta in the same restaurant space where he opened the old Park Avenue Grill in 2007, which became his jumping off point here in the Oklahoma City area.

Black now operates four restaurants in Oklahoma City: Grey Sweater and Black Walnut, both located at the corner of Northeast 4th Street and North Walnut Avenue, and Gilded Acorn, which News 9 previously covered on Taste of Oklahoma.

RELATED: Taste Of Oklahoma: International Cuisine Courtesy Of Chef Andrew Black

"My kids were small, and so they were all roaming around in this hotel," Black said. "So to come back and see places I used to hang out in here, and then to see equipment that I purchased and things that are still around and still working."

Despite Perle Mesta being his fourth current concept, Black said he wants this new location to be the iconic restaurant of Oklahoma City.

To do that, Black said he is bringing in the old and the new.

"When I started at the Skirvin in 2007, we had a sorghum glaze sea bass on the menu," Black said. "It was so popular, and so I decided to bring it back, this time with a different twist, of course. So far already we've been going through sea bass like nothing, we've been going through a lot of sea bass."

As for the restaurant ambience, Black said they wanted to imitate the "larger than life" personality that was Perle Mesta herself.

"If you look at the decor itself, she was bigger than life," Black said. "So this restaurant also has to kind of indicate bigger than life. You feel like you're kind of living in her flamboyance, so to speak... Happy and just deserving the best, you don't feel like you're in Oklahoma."

Deciding to keep the original floor inside the restaurant, itself around 100 years old, Black said it carries the history of the city with it.

"The floor definitely is one of my favorites," Black said. "To know that there have been so many generations before me [walking] on the same floor, to know that there were governments, heads of state walking through this building on the same floor, that's what I really love."

Also electing to establish a main entrance just for the restaurant, Black said there are also three private dining areas and a bar made from old stained glass windows.

"At night when the light comes on behind it, it shines," Black said. "It's just another part of history that we really really really love... combining history with a modern touch."

Open and offering three meals a day, every day, Perle Mesta is already busy filling orders.

I still can't believe I walk through this door and I still like, wow, this is really happening. It's it's, it's unreal.

"It is a busy kitchen," Black said. "Luckily, I'm a hotel baby. I grew up in a hotel for more than half my life, so I understand it."

As for the reception, Black said it has been tremendous.

"I keep hearing 'my God, chef Black, how do you keep topping yourself over and over?" Black said.

In addition to three meals a day, Perle Mesta will soon offer Sunday brunch.

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