Tahlequah Daily Press

Checking It Out

October 23, 2008

Five-star dining: A once-in-a-lifetime treat

TAHLEQUAH DAILY PRESS — How much would you be willing to pay for a six- or seven-course, out-of-this-world meal at a four- or five-star restaurant? It’s a tough question. Especially if you have no clue what type of cuisine is served at such an establishment – or how their fare differs substantially from what you can get, say, at the nearest Chili’s.

One hint, though: If you’ve never been out of Oklahoma, you’ve never eaten at a four- or five-star restaurant, at least by Mobil Travel Guide standards – because Mobil hasn’t graced any of our state’s eateries with that designation.

Mobil uses a variety of criteria to achieve ratings for hotels, restaurants and spas across the country and in Canada. The availability of seemingly small amenities – like a particular brand of bottled water, for instance – could come into play. A five-star restaurant is a rarity, indeed; in fact, Mobil only lists 17 this year. The four-star rating is a tad more common, but even then, there are fewer than 150, and the nearest couple are in Kansas City or Dallas.

According to Mobil’s Web site (http://mobiltravelguide. howstuffworks.com), every restaurant that has a Mobil Star Rating of any kind is recommended: “Those with a higher Star Rating have passed a rigorous inspection and service evaluation and are among an elite group of restaurants, known for exceptional cuisine, service, décor, and presentation.” That’s true: One of our favorite Tulsa restaurants, Bodean Seafood, has three stars, and our absolute favorite in Oklahoma City, La Baguette, has two stars.

The Web site also indicates Mobil’s inspectors “evaluate several hundred objective restaurant criteria, including food quality and presentation, service, and atmosphere to provide a rating that you can depend on... [Four-star restaurants are] exceptional restaurants featuring food that’s creative and complex, and emphasizes seasonality and culinary technique. A highly-trained dining room staff provides refined personal service and attention.”

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