When Hibiscus first opened, I’m not exactly sure that I knew what a “Caribbean Bar and Grill” was. I overheard a friend say that he had booked his band to play an evening gig there, so I decided it would be a good time to check out the place. After all, I’m always up for two things: trying new food and drinking beer.
For starters (no pun intended), their Plantain appetizer is delicious and affordable; show up between 5 and 7pm to enjoy this delectable treat at half price. Live music usually doesn’t start until a little later in the evening, but if you’re enticed by sweet fruit this is totally worth the trip. You can chase it down with $3 Red Stripe, too, which is pretty good considering that their drink prices are a little higher than average in comparison to many of the bars that I visit in Tulsa.
The atmosphere of this place is cool — owners Vincent and Taylor LaTouche have created an environment that is casual but classy and doesn’t feel stuffy. To me, there are few things as flattering about a restaurant or bar as an affable owner who will greet you on arrival. That behavior is always a sure way to keep people coming back, and it seems to be working for them. There are plenty of tables and room at the bar, so despite the size of the restaurant, there is rarely much time spent waiting for seating. I would be lying if I said that the time it takes to get the food here goes by fast, but this is definitely scratch-cooked, gourmet food, and there is simply nothing quick about preparing a high quality meal.
If you’re just in for a beer you can expect extraordinary service from behind the bar. It’s obvious that they emphasize customer service to their staff, and that can always be appreciated. As far as skill goes (with regard to making cocktails) they’re no amateurs; both the classics and their own Caribbean-influenced specialties are made in a top-notch fashion. With regard to bar service, it’s been consistently quick, without exception.
For the music lovers, this is one of the best spots to catch jazz, acoustic, reggae, salsa, and atmospheric music. Where else can you catch all of those in the span of a week? The musicians they bring in never play too loud, and I think that says a lot for a place serving high end food. After all, that would probably be a deal-breaker with many of their customers.
If you’re stopping in for food, you’re going to be impressed with the menu. The variety of their offerings is impressive, and if you’re big on spices, this place is for you. In the past, my favorite items have been the Jerk Chicken, as well as the plantain appetizer (which I mentioned above), but there is too much ethnic variety here to ignore the other items. Their food isn’t cheap, but it would be silly to expect it to be that way considering their angle on the holy triumvirate of quality: food, drink, and service. You can visit them on the web (and download a menu) at www.hibiscusbrookside.com, but you won’t get the big picture until you stop in the place. Give it a shot!