Hibiscus Caribbean Bar & Grill -Tulsa Tasting
One of the places we visited on our Tulsa Tasting tour when I was writing my book was Hibiscus Carribbean Bar & Grill. Perched amongst one of our favorite areas in Tulsa, the Brookside District, Hibiscus is located on Peoria Avenue,and you’ll see it’s bright colored small patio as a sign of the Jamaican delight that lies within.
I must confess, as I walked in, I was expecting something a little…bigger and more “grill” than “bar” so if you’re looking for a fancy atmosphere, you will be disappointed, although I think it’s still relatively nice inside. There is a bar that consumes most of the space within.
But there is also a tiny dining area.
However, if you stay and experience the food, you won’t be disappointed at all.
The Jamaican menu was concocted by owner and native Jamaican, Vincent LaTouche and is a Caribbean-influenced spicy delight to the tastebuds. If you love Jazz, get a table with a view of this little front corner of the room as Hibiscus brings in jazz, acoustic, reggae, salsa, and atmospheric music, usually on their Latin Thirsty Thursday, but I believe also on the weekends as well. Check their Facebook page for events!
Now let’s get to the food shall we? First off, this is one of those places where you need to allow a little extra time for things to be prepared so if you’re one of those people who rates a place based on speed of service, you should know that things are prepared fresh and will take a bit of time to come out. TAKE THE TIME or you’ll miss on out some good Caribbean food!
Tostones or fried plantains.
Not always done “right”, they most certainly are done right at Hibiscus. These are twice-fried (usually green) plantains, once initially, then the second time after having been pounded or pressed flat. At Hibiscus, they come out crispy, lightly salted and are delicious. They also come accompanied with the succulent jerk pepper sauce that is pretty special at Hibiscus.
Next up we tried the Salt Cod Fish Fritters, again with a side of that jerk pepper sauce.
Salt cod mixed into a spiced flour dough and deep fried. We really loved munching on these while we waited…oh yes, and to wash it down, we had this.
The house made Sorrell is a refreshing and sweet Hibiscus tea that was lovely, and it took a little spicy edge off of the Jamaican food. I believe they also make an alcohol version of this called Rum Punch or something, but it was early lunch so we enjoyed sipping on this along with our spicy food. Hibiscus also offers some imported Jamaican sodas like Ting and Kola Champagne for fun riffs on drinking in the carbonated way.
For a salad, we ordered the Cabbage and Carrots.
It was sweet but spicy.
We tried three separate entrees at Hibiscus off their “Traditional Jamaican Menu. First up the Pineapple Shrimp.
This was jerk seasoned shrimp that came out in a sea of pineapple-tomato sauce with pineapples, onions, carrot shreds and peppers. It came with a side of the Festival Bread, a fried sweet bread of sorts that was fun to eat and left us wanting another piece!
We loved this dish – the Chicken Curry.
I am always a sucker for anything curry, and this was wonderful. It came with peppers, onions, potatoes and more plantains around the edge of the plate, this time fresh, not fried. If you’re feeling brave, try the Curry Goat. I’ve heard it’s magnificent.
And hello! This is the star of the show at Hibiscus.
The Jerk Chicken. You can order it by the quarter, half or a whole chicken. If you haven’t had jerk chicken before, it is a spice native to Jamaica built usually, around Scotch bonnet peppers, allspice and a variety of other spices. The chicken is usually dry rubbed or marinated first in the spices and then flame grilled to a dark spicy wonderment that hits all areas of the taste buds. You can also order jerk in the form of pork ribs, pork chops, or shrimp.
Non meat eater? Hibiscus offers vegetarian options like Jerk Veggie Burgers or Jerk or Curry Wraps.
Hibiscus’ Jerk Chicken is also served in their pepper sauce and right this minute, I am now craving this dish badly. It’s wonderful.
Other genuine Jamaica dishes I’d love to try when visiting again…
Escoviche, either tilapia or even better… in the form of a whole red snapper, Stewed Oxtail and Butter Beans, or Ackee and Salt Fish (Jamaica’s national dish) which is authentically prepared with imported ackee fruit, stir fried with salt cod, peppers, onions and spices.
If you’re in the Tulsa area, give Hibiscus a try if you’re craving some Caribbean flavors. They have some fantastic lunch specials as well. Happy Eating Mon!
Hibiscus Caribbean Bar & Grill
3316 S Peoria Ave
Tulsa, OK 74136
Looking for Hibiscus? Here’s a map to help you!