Pet-Friendly Patio Review
By Michael Bell
Throughout this unique year of COVID-19, we’ve all faced challenges. We have suffered through intermittent lockdowns, institutional closings and idealistic viewpoints that differ as much as night and day. These types of scenarios have the epidemiologists of the world scrambling to test all types of short- and long-term model projections. Although their forecasts and timelines vary, I think the best news I’ve heard from the experts is early evidence suggests that personal behavioral changes, such as hand- washing and wearing masks, are helping to stem the tide of infections. As a dog owner, I have developed a natural obsession with handwashing (especially after picking up poop!).
Now that people are adapting to what has become our “new normal,” many places are reopening their doors while following CDC- recommended safety guidelines, and we have resumed our dog-friendly patio reviews. Our acceptance of this new normal will greatly depend upon how much social mixing is permitted to resume, as we humans are very social creatures.
Do you know who else are social creatures? Our dogs—they love to get out with us and socialize. I am grateful to have a dog park such as Midtown Mutts that offers both dogs and humans the opportunity to experience social interaction while minimizing our risks. Through the Facebook group “Friends of Midtown Mutts Dogpark,” many of us have developed friendships and kinships that will outlast whatever situation we are forced to face.
Our first post-lockdown review is on Rivière Modern Bánh Mì Vietnamese restaurant, located at 905 N. Hudson Ave., in Oklahoma City. We planned to review another restaurant but failed to make reservations, which led us to discover this amazing gem among all the restaurant competition in the midtown area.
Rivière is nestled in the same building as the infamous Jimmy’s Egg Restaurant on North Hudson and specializes in a variety of Vietnamese-style sandwich dishes called Bahn Mi, hence the name. The sandwiches are served on an 8-inch French baguette, made by the La Baguette Bakery. If a sandwich is not your preference, then perhaps the vermicelli noodle bowl served with bulgogi beef or marinated chicken will be to your liking.
Along with great food, the restaurant features a full-service bar that offers local craft beers, supported by a well-stocked bar and a staff well-versed in the science of mixology. The big hit with our group was the “nice pear,” a type of mule made with cinnamon pear-infused vodka, lemon, local honey and ginger beer.
It was a smooth drink that helped top off an enjoyable evening.
As for food, I started with the Gangnam style fries, which are served with bulgogi beef, beer cheese fondue and scallions; you can also add a couple of eggs, a “pro tip” on the menu. Our group shared this appetizer, and the consensus was “delicious.”
For my entrée, I had the bulgogi beef and blackened shrimp with a vermicelli noodle bowl; it was a great meal, and I was very satisfied with the choice. If you’re into lighter meals, soups and salads are offered. A member of our group who opted for soup and salad assured me it was a good choice. For dessert, we tried both the Vietnamese banana cake
and coconut milk waffles. These proved to be a great culmination to the evening.
The pups were treated to a fried egg each, and the staff made certain that the water bowl was large enough for all the dogs to enjoy. Toward the end of the evening, canines Lancelot and Jack began to wrestle while Ellie and Jake maintained the perimeter of our group.
The restaurant’s patio, although small, is the direct result of the new normal due to the COVID virus. It proved to be very
accommodating and dog friendly, not just dog-tolerant. The staff made each of us, human and canine, feel very welcome. As a result, Rivière is now one of our go-to first choices for future excursions.
No matter where we travel these days, we will probably discover it to be slightly unusual compared to our experiences before March 2020. I am grateful to restaurants that are willing to host dogs because as a pet owner, I am fervent in the thought that my dog is part of my family. He must go where I go. I would also like to thank the people of Midtown Mutts Dog Park that help me to do these restaurant reviews.
If anyone has a suggestion for future reviews or would like more information on Friends of Midtown Mutts, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.