“All Sensory Dining Experience,” you say? What does that even mean? I’m hear to tell you.
We went to our dining experience with limited expectations. This was a good thing, because the little expectations I had were irrelevant. Millicent Brasserie is not a restaurant at all. They don’t keep restaurant hours and you can’t go in and grab a table or your “usual.” Rather, it is a unique treasure to the Tulsa area. Tucked in what appears to be a half-abandoned shopping plaza located at 800 S 9th St in Broken Arrow, Millicent Brasserie initially gave me the feeling of, “What am I doing here?” Shame on me for judging a book by its cover.
Once we walked in we were transformed into a wonderland of lights and tasteful decor.
I can explain my experience at Millicent Brasserie in one word: inspiring. Let me tell you why.
Chef Patron Vincent DePaul Tran, or better known as Chef Vincent, is truly living his passion.
This former software programmer wanted something different in life. He took the risk, put up the money, rolled up his sleeves, and worked for 25 months before Millicent Brasserie opened in 2015. None of this happened without his supporting wife and Sous Chef, Millie, by his side.
Here’s the squishy part. The name of their life long passion is a blend of theirs, Millie + Vincent = Millicent. *sigh*
Instead of building a fancy facade or dumping money into marketing, Chef Vincent keeps his overhead low. With a devoted team, all of the work is done themselves. From the promotional videos on Facebook, to the ticketing on Eventbrite, to the sweat that is sure to pour in their kitchen, everything is done 100% in house. And you can feel the love.
Now, let’s get inside.
Two tables seat 12 each. This created a level of intimacy with our dining partners, all of which were MB first timers. The lights were low, with purple hues from dancing LEDs setting the mood.
Kind and timely wait staff brought the wine and beer. There was an exciting sense of uncertainty, giving us curious strangers a lot to talk about.
Ashley and I were seated at the end of the first table. Across and to our left was a father and daughter. Her date couldn’t make it, so daddy drove up from Lawton, Oklahoma. To Ashley’s left, a chatty couple, he in a snakeskin jacket and her fresh from 17 years living in New York. And, the couple across from us, a husband and wife from Broken Arrow, who I really want to be my new best friends. We all had a blast experiencing every dish together. And part of that experience is getting to know a bit about your dining neighbors.
Millicent Brasserie Airways took us into the sky on high definition screens. We landed in a busy airport greeted by a young woman. She told us a little about the journey we were about to embark on and ended her standup by introducing our first destination and Chef Patron Vincent DePaul Tran.
Let’s stop here for a moment.
This entire production that kicked off the event engaged us with the same levels of excitement as a live studio audience. From our onscreen host’s script, to the lighting coming up as Chef Vincent entered the room for the first time. He’s the star. And we quickly learned he is the production manager, lighting programmer, videographer, and editor. Let’s not forget world-renowned chef. This man who left the lucrative world of software programming stood before us with his entire passion out there for us to enjoy. Again, I go back to that word of inspiring.
The evening had an ebb and flow that took us from one country to next. Having dinner for three hours was initially daunting. (One of those silly expectations.) I was nervous the times in between the courses were going to be awkward. I could not have been more wrong. The staff never let a drink go dry and they served with a level of efficiency that should be celebrated. The audio and video were breathtaking. Every country had a different show. Every screen displayed a different image. The lights dimmed between courses and came up to illuminate the next work of art placed in front of us. Every detail was given love and consideration.
Chef Vincent spends weeks choreographing the lights and images. Not all “shows” that accompany the courses are made from still images. We watched as the room filled with two cellists reflecting on purple water with psychedelic LEDs dancing with the music. Over stimulating? Maybe. But in a captivating way.
It was during this production I realized everything we were experiencing was the true artistic vision of Chef Vincent.
Okay, I’ve laid the atmosphere out for you. Now, let’s get to the food.
Chef Vincent is Vietnamese and was adopted by an Italian family. The Around the World menu was specific to his background with three “stops” in Vietnam, three in Italy, and the added destinations of Greece, Spain, and Peru.
Course 1 – Greece: “A Gift From Greece”
We opened our gift to the flavors of a traditional greek salad. Spiraled cucumber and balled melon added to the appeal of this palette teaser. Immediately, I knew we were up for an incredible meal. Chef Vincent says all his creations are Michelin Star-inspired. I believe him.
Course 2 – Spain: Seafood Paella with MB Socarrat (Ashley’s #1 Fave)
Chef Vincent created a process to create Socarrat, the yummy bit of burnt bottom in the traditional way of making Paella. Being the efficient eater I am, I used the Socarrat “chip” to scoop up the plump rice, squid, shrimp and clams.
Course 3 – Vietnam: Pho with MB Chicken Noodles (Bonita’s #3 Fave Ashley’s #2 Fave)
Seriously, Chef Vincent created a culinary process to make noodles out of chicken. The original broth is yellow in color, but you finish creating the flavors in the broth with your soup spoon. I’m a Pho fan, and this Pho was PhoNomenal!
Course 4 – Vietnam: Steam Bun with 24-hour Pork Shoulder (Bonita’s #1 Fave)
As if anything at Millicent Brasserie is typical, the Steam Bun is actually flattened with the flavorful pork shoulder and rainbow carrots adorning the top. Chef Vincent said it the best, “There is no polite way to eat it, so have fun.” I took a cue from my taco eating days and dug in. The sprigs of mint set off all the flavor. This dish left me wanting another one…. or ten.
Course 5 – Vietnam: Crispy Savory Crepe with Langoustines
“It’s like a garden on a crispy plate. Enjoy.” Chef Vincent.
I love using crispy anything to put yummy food in my mouth. The pork was so juicy, my crispy crepe softened as I ate, but I was not complaining. The langoustines were lightly battered and fried to perfect little bites.
Course 6 – Peru: Tiradito de Vieiras or MB Scallop Crudo
I’m not sure what happened here, but there were scallops on the plate. What I do remember is the beer. We had moved on to Chef Vincent’s recommendation of Oklahoma’s own Prairie Vous Francais. It suited my love of light ales, and let’s be honest, I was feeling pretty good by the 6th course.
Course 7 – Italy: MB 5 hour Beef Carpaccio (Bonita’s #2 Fave)
I rarely eat beef, but this dish left me craving it. The meat was sliced so thin it was almost translucent. The sauce and shaved parmesan perfectly enhanced the beef’s flavor.
Course 8 – Italy: “Tre Tre Tre” Ravioli
All were good, but the fruit ravioli was one of the most interesting and delightful bites!
Course 9 – Italy: Tiramisu with Espresso Gelee
As a fan of Tiramisu, this was hands down the best I’ve ever had. The gelee bottom offered a punch of espresso that was tampered down with the sweetest of lady fingers. Simply divine.
The evening ended with applause and a parting gift from Millie. Millicent Brasserie is worth the price, averaging $85 per ticket. I know we will enjoy this date night at least once a year. I highly recommend supporting Chef Vincent’s vision by experiencing one of Millicent Brasserie’s dinner events. The Around the World series runs through early April. I suggest picking your date and getting your tickets immediately. The events sell out fast. To keep up with the latest and to get your tickets, like Millicent Brasserie’s Facebook page.