OKLAHOMA CITY – The doorway to the city’s history opens to lots of different views.
One door on NW 4th Street opens to the old days of the segregated Deep Deuce, another to what used to be a car wash in more recent times.
But Chef Andrew Black holds another doorway all his own.
“I knew this is what I wanted to do,” he says about his Grey Sweater restaurant and cooking in general.
It’s been 15 years since he moved to Oklahoma City, having previously cooked at resorts and restaurants all over the world.
His interests in cooking began at his grandmother’s knee in his native Jamaica.
“I look back to then,” he says, “and we were just dirt poor, but now, there are actually professional kitchens that cook over an open flame. It’s like, ‘Wow!’ It’s a thing.”
This is not the kind of restaurant where patrons open a menu.
Andrew’s Grey Sweater offers a tasting menu of dishes from all over the world, rotating constantly.
On this night he offers pan seared scallops from Boston Bay, California Squab paired with a bouquet of tiny vegetables in a green onion tart, or blue fin tuna belly served with caviar and Spanish truffles.
“Their all built on separate emotions, meaning they tell their own story,” Black explains. “Each dish represents itself.”
The bar staff, while we were there, were busy mixing their own versions of Whiskey Mules and a Chi Spice Sazerac.
Attention to detail was always important, but Chef Black stayed here and built here because his Oklahoma customers were always so appreciative.
Andrew smiles and states, “I do business in the greatest state in America. It’s Oklahoma. It’s the people here who make it all happen.”
The kitchen and the dining room share the same space in this, the bravest of Black’s three restaurants.
The buzz of a busy night where the people he describes as family are sharing a wonderful experience, that’s where he most likes to be.
Continuing a long tradition as a black man owning a business in the old ‘Deep Deuce’ is just one more fitting course in this historic feast.
“It gives me goosebumps,” he says. “I’m like, ‘holy crap, I’m about to be part of something bigger than I am.'”
Like old friends, the history and his loyal customers are always welcome.
For more information on the Grey Sweater, go to their website, www.greysweaterokc.com.
or their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/GreySweaterOKC.