105degrees: pioneering living cuisine

by | December 17, 2009 | 24 Comments

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Matthew Kenney OKC

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5820 N. Classen Blvd.,Ste. 1
Oklahoma City, OK 731181
405-842-1050
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Lunch
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105degrees in Oklahoma City

Please note: 105degrees changed its name to Matthew Kenney OKC in June of 2011. This was a name change only. Everything else about the restaurant remains the same.

Since our goal is to highlight restaurants that bring something truly unique to the Oklahoma City landscape, 105degrees is a natural fit for EatAroundOKC. That’s because you cannot find another restaurant in Oklahoma City currently that offers anything remotely close to what 105degrees is offering. It’s worth your attention if for nothing more than giving homage to the bold effort its ownership has made in bringing this concept to our city.

But, of course, “uniqueness” can only get you so far. To endure, a restaurant has to offer enough to build up a clientèle and keep them coming back time and time again. Does 105degrees have the staying power? Well, answering that might be a little beyond our expertise, but we attempted to at least find out how they’re doing by taking our whole core writing team for a lunchtime visit.

First off, in case you are not familiar, let me offer a little overview. 105degrees is a cafe and an academy focused on “living cuisine,” a term they define as “foods that contain all of their natural beauty and nutrition.” They don’t cook anything over 105 degrees, ensuring that all of the foods’ natural nutrition and flavor stays intact. They also only use fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. There are no meats and no dairy products. So, this restaurant is an exceptional place if you’re a vegan as everything served here will fit your diet.

The atmosphere at 105degrees is outstanding. It’s one of the first businesses to open up in the new Classen Curve development, a very modern structure with full glass front walls for every outlet. The towering glass and very open dining area (which includes the kitchen) gives a nice, airy feel. Its all appointed with simple but tasteful decor and furniture, all created with a focus on sustainable materials. Bravo for a job well done on creating a unique environment to accompany the unique cuisine.

One small note — if you go when it’s very cold outside, the glass front wall can make for a fairly chilly dining area, at least on the day we visited.

Now on to the food. This is higher-end fare where everything is ala carte with main courses at lunch in the $11-$13 range. At dinner, the main courses are $16-$18. Of course, there are appetizers, side items and desserts as well, all sold separately. For me, this puts it in the range of an “occasional special treat” restaurant, but that’s just me. By the way, you can view all of their current menus and prices here on their website.

There is value to what you’re buying here, though. Everything is extremely creative and artfully presented. 105degrees creates an experience. An adventure in discovering new ways to think about food. I was extremely impressed with the staff. Our server was obviously passionate about what she does and was able to answer every question we had about everything on the menu in detail. She could list every ingredient in every dish and even tell us a bit about how they put it together. I enjoyed my visit as a learning experience as much as for dining.

But I also enjoyed the dining. I’ll discuss a few of the items we tried here, but keep in mind that 105degrees changes its menu regularly, so the items discussed here may not be available when you visit. In fact, our server told us they were very close to changing their menu completely. As in, nothing from the current menu will exist soon. But that’s alright, just new things to try.

We started by sharing the Spicy Vegetable Summer Rolls ($6). They were served with a mango tamarind chutney and toasted salty coconut. These were perhaps the best thing I had. Sarah described them as “a riot of flavors and spices — sweet, spicy, tangy and fresh.” I agree. It was like a flavor explosion in every bite, and surprisingly filling, considering they are all vegetables.

Our main dishes were the OM Gardens Mushroom Pizza ($12), the Blue Corn Tostada ($12) and the Heirloom Tomato Lasagna ($13). Each one of these was a beautiful creation with very unique ingredients. For example, the “cheese” used in the tostada and the lasagna is actually made from nuts. On my lasagna, it literally had the same consistency of ricotta cheese, and even tasted a little cheese-like, but no dairy, remember, just nuts. Interesting. The lasagna also used thinly-sliced cucumber as the “noodles,” in case you were wondering.

I think Sam enjoyed his main course, the pizza, the least of all of us. He says, “the title of this dish is mushroom pizza, and mushroom-laden it was indeed. I thought it was way too salty and that saltiness really overcame all the rest of the flavors.” I tried a bit of the pizza as well and I have to agree. The flavors were overpowering. I can imagine that after eating the whole thing even the biggest mushroom fan would be weary of the flavor.

And if there’s one complaint we would issue about our experience as a whole, it would be this issue of overpowering flavors. Every single dish we had (except the dessert, see below) was like an overwhelming combination of so many different flavors. Perhaps this approach is used to offset the lack of more savory elements like meat and dairy, but I must say, over the course of the meal, one’s palate begins to grow weary of the intensity.

But then we got to dessert, and it was a welcome relief. On the recommendation of our server, we shared the Sicilian Pistachio Nougatine with orange marmalade and dark chocolate. Now this is a dish I really enjoyed. First off, I’m not a fan of heavy desserts, so eating one of the three small but dense pieces in this presentation was perfect for me. And, no more flavor explosion. Just a simple, tasteful, well-balanced flavor wrapped up in another stellar presentation. I have to say, 105degrees would be a great place to come for just dessert and coffee, if that’s your thing.

In short, 105degrees is worth your attention. I think everyone ought to check it out if for no other reason but to explore a new way of experiencing food. Whether or not it keeps you coming back will be up to you, but at least consider giving them a try. Oh, and keep in mind that this restaurant isn’t designed to be super filling. I was surprised at how filling the dishes actually were, considering they are entirely made up of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, but if you’re the type expects to leave feeling really full, you might be disappointed. But hey, you can eat a snack later if you want, right? Just come with the right expectations and see for yourself what “living cuisine” is all about.

105degrees on Urbanspoon

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This article was posted by Tim Wall on Thursday, December 17th, 2009. It is filed under:

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  • Kacy says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 8:30 am   

    I went to this restaurant’s opening a few month’s back and was really impressed. I agree that the flavor intensity can become a bit tedious, but I think Oklahoma City needs a place like this. I hope they do well.

  • Robert says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 9:09 am   

    I have been here a couple of times, once on a dinner date, once with coworkers at lunch. Each time everyone seemed to share the opinion of “interesting but a bit too weird”. The best dish I had there was the appetizer Red Pepper Wrappers. I had similar experiences with the palate overload on the other two dishes I tried, the Heirloom Tomato Lasagna and the Blue Corn Tostada; delicious at first but it grew weary. Sadly, against the very premise of 105degrees, I think having the dishes a bit warmer would have culled some of the flavor sharpness.

  • JuJuBeans says:
    December 17th, 2009 at 12:14 pm   

    My friend recently brought me pumpkin pie and lasagna from here and I thought it was amazing! I am so happy to see a raw foods/vegan joint in Oklahoma!

  • David says:
    December 18th, 2009 at 10:28 am   

    We went and thought the server was a aloof, portions were small and pricey, tastes were bitter and our questions were mainly unanswered. I think they need to do a better job explaining what you are getting and setting a different expectation. The place is beautiful, but, many of my friends have had similar experiences, hype and pr can only go so far. Cool Greens in Nichols Hills Plaza has a clean fresh atmosphere without the price and pretension. Many are going to go 1x some will go many times to 105 – might be a bit to weird for the OKC palette. Good luck.

  • Tim says:
    December 18th, 2009 at 3:44 pm   

    David, I agree with much of what you said but our experience was very different from the service perspective. As I mentioned in the review, our server was one of the highlights of our experience and she did provide the explanations it seemed you were wanting. Just goes to show that a good server can make or break an experience, especially at a place like this. I wonder which of our experiences is the “norm” here and which is the exception. I’ll be interested to hear what others’ experiences have been.

    Thanks for sharing your impressions.

  • Dan says:
    December 19th, 2009 at 8:58 am   

    I’ve been several times, and had different experiences. First off, I’m somewhat amazed that a place like this opened in OKC. I’ve been told that cities such as Houston and Dallas do not yet have restaurants serving “living cuisine,” so kudos to the owners for stepping up.

    The best meal I had was on a sat night w/ another couple where we shared a variety of appetizers, entrees and desserts and were impressed w/ almost all the fare. We found the wait staff extremely knowledgeable and helpful, taking the time to explain every ingredient and every dish, including how it was prepared. As a previous reviewer stated, the desserts were especially well done and worth a visit.

    On another occasion I picked up lunch to go and the food just doesn’t lend itself as “to go fare,” or at least that was my take. Other times I have stopped by for smoothies, and these are enough for a meal and easily portable.

    I’m not sure how the restaurant will do here, but OKC definitely needs more places like this and less chains, so we will do our part. At least take the time to try it, and keep an open mind.

  • Ryan S. says:
    December 21st, 2009 at 3:14 pm   

    Do they have steak? Because I only eat steak…

  • Kevin says:
    December 28th, 2009 at 4:00 pm   

    No Ryan, no steak, but I’ve been told you can get eggplant that pretends to be bacon .. but being veggie bacon it is minus the bacon fat texture and flavor of course.

    I think this place is interesting to those who hold this type of dining preference. for myself, I may have to find Ryan’s number and go share a steak.

  • Cult of Nobody says:
    December 28th, 2009 at 6:08 pm   

    Went to Mahogany Prime Steakhouse last week and had the Cowboy Ribeye… Don’t get much better steaks than that in Oklahoma.

  • Lisa says:
    January 15th, 2010 at 3:45 pm   

    I can’t wait to try 105 Degrees. They’ve really managed to stir up a lot of talk! Everything I’ve heard is great!

  • Tobin says:
    January 18th, 2010 at 7:33 pm   

    Living cuisine ….REALLY!! I love how vegetables and Fruits are called “LIVING CUISINE” but BIG Steaks,Succulent Pork Chops, Roasted Chicken, Salmon are NOT!!! Though I love eating Vegetables this is a complete Joke. Add some Wonderful Meat Dishes with those Veggies!!!!!

  • matt says:
    January 21st, 2010 at 1:45 pm   

    Why don’t you just go to another restaurant if you want to eat meat?

    !!!!

  • CJ says:
    January 26th, 2010 at 9:26 am   

    I had dinner here last night; the food was great and the service was fantastic. We had the kimchi dumplings and mezze for appetizers. Both were good, but the eggplant chips on the mezze plate were especially interesting. Cannelloni and coconut curry for dinner, and banana cacao tart and the gianduja tasting for desert. The tomato sauce on the canneloni was amazing, but if you’re not a big tomato fan it might be overwhelming by the end. The curry had a nice amount of spice and flavor. The “noodles” in the curry were crunchy, which could be odd to some. Both deserts were wonderful as well; I would definitely recommend the gianduja tasting for a good sampling of 6 hazelnut deserts.

    I think as long as they are a semi-adventurous eater, people not intersted in raw food could have a great dining experience here.

  • Frank P says:
    February 1st, 2010 at 10:11 pm   

    God made animals so we can eat them. If I wanted to eat something cooked at 105 degrees I would swipe my daughters Easy Bake Oven…..have you tried the brownies that thing makes????? HOLY COW.

  • SSSSSNAKES says:
    February 3rd, 2010 at 10:28 pm   

    Correction: they do serve legumes, this is stated on the website.

    http://105degrees.com/livingcuisine/

  • Tim says:
    February 5th, 2010 at 6:49 am   

    SSSSSNAKES, thanks for the update. I could have sworn our server told us they did not use legumes and I don’t remember any legumes in the dishes we saw on the menu. But you’re right, it is on their website. I am asked them for clarification before I edit the review so I will see what they say. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Hannah says:
    May 18th, 2010 at 3:50 pm   

    That trainer Bob from Biggest Loser “tweeted” about this place…he said it’s one of the best vegan restaurants in the country. I’ve never been, but I’d love to give it a shot!

  • JuJu Beans says:
    June 15th, 2010 at 12:08 am   

    I’ve eaten here a couple times now, and each time has gotten better. The food, service, and not to mention my favourite is their strawberry basil mojito made with sake, real fresh strawberries, fresh basil, and agave nectar. I love the atmosphere, and even my carnivore meat only eating friends loved the food here also. Much kudos to Chef Matthew Kenney and his delicious, clean, healthy, beautiful, and eclectic menu!

  • Kevin says:
    May 30th, 2011 at 10:32 pm   

    Just an FYI to all –
    105 Degrees is, as of May 15, 2011, Matthew Kenny OKC.
    http://www.kenneycuisine.com/restaurant/

  • Tim says:
    May 31st, 2011 at 6:28 am   

    Kevin, thanks for that update. I’ve got it on my list to change some things on the review to reflect that name change. From what I understand, everything is the same food and experience-wise, but it is a complete and extensive branding overhaul.

  • Edward says:
    June 11th, 2011 at 5:24 pm   

    I’ve been to Matthew Kenney 3 times and overall has been a positive experience. However, like many “health food” stores and restaurants, there is an element of dysfunction that has affected my overall experience. Most of this has been the way they make smoothies. They seem to be very popular but take several minutes for he blender to go through the cycle and only have one “bartender” and 2 machines. Therefore, you may want to call ahead to get them started as I have waited for 10-15 minutes after ordering to receive a smoothie to go. The prices are also very high.

  • Alicia S. says:
    March 7th, 2012 at 4:40 pm   

    If your idea of a great dining experience is paying lot’s of money for very little weird tasting food and bad service than this is the place for you.

  • swisschick says:
    March 30th, 2013 at 9:04 am   

    we where there in 2010 (maybe just after opening up??) and unfortunately it was not a very nice experience and pretty disapointing. We had to wait for 40 minutes,no kidding…(lunchtime during the week, one other guest around, and at least four people in the *kitchen”) then the waitress forgot our starter(we didn’t ask again and never got it) was rude when my omni friend asked if they had beer…(sorry for asking) and the best;the main course was two slices of tomato, two slices of some other veggie and some sauce drizzled on top of it, price: over 10$……

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