Elephant Cafe: new name, new improvements in downtown Bethany [closed]

by | October 30, 2008 | 24 Comments

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Elephant Cafe is located at 3917 College Avenue in Bethany (map). Hours are 11am-9pm Monday through Saturday and 12pm-8pm on Sunday.  Lunch items are available until 3pm. Dinner items are available all day. Call them at 405.440.2811.

PLEASE NOTE: Elephant Cafe has closed and a new restaurant with new ownership has opened up in its place. This review does not cover the new restaurant.

When I really need a break from work at lunchtime, I know I can get a quiet, relaxing meal and a variety of tastes at the Elephant Cafe, which just opened in September in downtown Bethany.  It was formerly known as Big! Rice and Noodle (read our review here), and that owner’s niece has taken over and given it a new name.  Lein Wu is half Thai and half Chinese, and the largely expanded menu provides many Thai, Japanese and other Asian choices.  She and her employees have the gift of hospitality that so many of my Asian friends possess.

My work girlfriends and I recently ate here during a working lunch, and everyone really enjoyed their entree choices.  Susan chose safely with the cashew chicken ($6.25).  She said it was good, but for her taste, just a tad too many onions and spices.  I went with a lunch combo ($6.25), which included my choice of a veggie roll (3) or a Bangkok roll (3); a choice of miso soup or clear soup (or hot and sour soup for $1 more); and a choice of lunch entree.  I chose the Bangkok rolls, the hot and sour soup and the spicy basil fried rice, which included chicken, onion, basil and bell pepper.  It also included a spicy Thai chili sauce, but I found myself needing to add extra red chili sauce from the side.  This dish did have a good flavor, but it just wasn’t quite spicy enough for me.  Beth, being a sushi lover, went with the orange chicken ($6.25) and a salmon roll ($4.25).

Side note to whoever dines with Beth — last time we ate here, I decided to venture out and try a bite of her sushi, as she promised me there would be nothing raw or “icky” on it.  She ordered a California roll, and when it arrived, I pointed out how cute the little shaved carrots on top were.  After I had consumed my portion, she said, “oh, by the way, the ‘carrots’ may have been roe.”

“MAY have been roe?  And just exactly what is roe?” I shrieked.  I was a first time sushi eater.

“Well … like … maybe salmon eggs,” she hedged.

I had been tricked and hoped I would live to see my next meal.  Which I did.  But not before she heard another thing or two about it.

Anyway, back to lunch, friend Ali had the “best decorated” lunch by choosing the steak teriyaki lunch box ($7.95), which included the steak, rice, salad and vegetable tempura.  It probably also tasted the best.

The previous time I dined here and had my first sushi experience, I tried the elephant combo appetizer ($7.95), which included crab rangoon, Bangkok rolls, chicken satay and vegetable rolls.  It was accompanied by a variety of dipping sauces, which were all tasty.  The chicken satay was especially nice smeared with the peanut sauce.

Dinner entrees run between $8.25 and $11.95, which isn’t bad, considering the amount of food you get.  I could have easily taken home half of my lunch for dinner again that evening.  And another nice thing is that they accept credit cards whereas Big! Rice and Noodle did not.  Miss Wu has done a nice job in creating a pleasant atmosphere.  We were the only patrons when we first arrived, but several others arrived during our meal.  She sent out two dessert entrees for us to try — the fried ice cream and the fried bananas.  The fried bananas won hands down!

I’ve said before that if one works in the Bethany area, one will be challenged for lunch and dinner choices.  That’s why I’m always excited to see somebody new giving it a “go” in this part of town.  So, try the Elephant Cafe and let me know what you think in the comments.  I hope Lien will be able to stick around for a long time.

Elephant Cafe on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Sarah Sutton on Thursday, October 30th, 2008. It is filed under:

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  • Beth D says:
    October 30th, 2008 at 10:09 am   

    The roe issue was an honest mistake…I didn’t have on my glasses at the time. The food here is always good and the hospitality is great.

  • Chelsea says:
    October 30th, 2008 at 11:06 am   

    I really don’t think this review does Elephant Cafe justice. In the past week, I have been there three times and loved everything I ate there. I went with a group of friends last weekend. We all ordered different things to share. I had the Mango Chicken Curry and I have been craving it ever since. The Teriyaki Steak box is excellent as is the Ginger Sherry Beef. A friend of mine had the Stir Fried Mango Chicken which was very good as well. For a vegetarian meal (there is a whole section on the menu of vegetarian options) the Paradise Madness is fantastic. I also had the fried bananas, but my favorite of their desserts is the Mango Sticky Rice.

    Whatever you get at Elephant Cafe, you cannot go wrong. It is definitely a new addiction of mine.

  • susanto says:
    October 31st, 2008 at 12:52 am   

    The best place to eat in Bethany! Everything I have had is fantastic. The menu is huge and diverse. Try mango iced tea was very awesome . The thai tea is my second fav. I am trying to work my way through the whole menu but with over 40 diverse selections it is going to take me some time even tho I eat there once a week. If you like it hot or not let them know. Large portions priced very reasonably. it fair enough.

  • lauren says:
    November 3rd, 2008 at 8:30 am   

    I am so excited about trying this place for lunch!

  • Katie says:
    November 11th, 2008 at 12:15 pm   

    I was really excited to try this place. I work in the Bethany area and there isn’t much to eat around there…we went for lunch last week and thought it was pretty good. We both dined on our favorite – Pad Thai. It was pretty good – I prefer it with a little more spice and less sweet. I am anxious to try the sushi and some of the curries (mango!).

  • weldon starkey says:
    November 14th, 2008 at 11:25 pm   

    My wife and I have eaten at the Elephant Cafe at least once a week since it opened and give them our highest recommendation for the variety and quality of menu items as well as their friendly atmosphere. My wife is Thai and we live in Thailand for 3 to 4 months each year and had not found any place in Oklahoma which quite measures up until we discoved this fantastic cafe in Bethany. My likes her food very spicy while I prefer mildly spicy items and they are able to accomodate our individual tastes exceptionally well. If they can keep this up we will be lifetime patrons. Thank you, Elephant Cafe!!!

  • Kim says:
    November 17th, 2008 at 3:37 pm   

    I first experienced the Elephant Cafe about a month ago. Since then I’ve been craving it. I use any excuse I can to go there for lunch. I love the Mango iced tea and the gyoza appetizer. The House Fried Rice is my husband’s favorite. He likes the little spicy kick it has.

  • Jim S. says:
    November 18th, 2008 at 8:59 am   

    i have been there onece a week. I really love this place. I had not found any good thai food in OK. I am the real thai food fan. the coconut Fried rice is the best one.Mango Iced tea was awesome.

  • Joyce P. says:
    November 18th, 2008 at 9:19 am   

    The steak teriyaki combination box here is the best and reasonable price , get salad and crispy veggies tempura , match with their homemade sauces , i love the cucumber mint sauce , I’m also a fan of the mango iced tea and the coconut fried rice.

  • Joyce Ayers says:
    December 3rd, 2008 at 10:30 am   

    I have been to this little cafe more times than I can count. It is one of the best addition to Bethany that anyone could want. The food is wonderful and the owners are so friendly to the customers. I have tried several of the dishes and have not found anything that I did not like.
    Help support this cafe so we can have a good place in Bethany to go for lunch to relax and eat good food.

    Try it!!! I promise you will like it!!

  • Katie says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 11:45 am   

    We went back yesterday to this place. I tried the red curry. It was a little disappointing. Very little chicken, green beans and shredded bamboo shoots. The sauce was good but most red curries are the same. I’m still hooked on Tana Thai and now Sweet Basil in Norman. Compared to those, it disappoints. Still I work very close so when I get a craving for Thai, it satisfies.

  • Lee says:
    December 25th, 2008 at 1:08 am   

    i went to Thailand last Summer, I really love Thaifood.It good for healthy. After coming to OK ,I feel like eating Thai food again. After search from intenet. I got The Elephant cafe Thai Restaurant. Here I found the same food which I eat in Thailand. Nice Atmosphere, owner so nice. I am very very happy as if, I feel like I’m eating food in Thailand. Mango curry was amazing, potion and price are resonabe( 6.95)Help support them so we can have healthy food in Bethany with us!

  • A.K. Swan says:
    January 14th, 2009 at 1:39 pm   

    our new favorite sit down asian restaurant.

    relaxed but attentive service. high quality ingredients mixed with an expert’s touch. thorough but not overwhelming menu. soft lighting and less-is-more decorating. very relaxing and gentle place for conversation and digestion.

    i had the chili salmon and my wife had the pad thai. both very good and very different from typical OKC thai food.

    we will be back.

  • Bryan says:
    February 19th, 2009 at 9:11 pm   

    Thanks for this site! I am glad to see someone took the time here in OKC to make a site like this. We ate there tonight and it was awesome!!!

  • KatieJ says:
    February 26th, 2009 at 11:53 am   

    Me and hubby are going here for lunch now often..it’s not the best (I love Thana Thai) but it’s nice to have somewhere close for Thai. New favorites..Red Chicken Curry, Drunken Noodles and Ginger Jasmine tea!

  • steph says:
    May 10th, 2009 at 11:07 am   

    ate lunch at the elephant cafe yesterday with 2 girlfriends and had our collective socks knocked off! it was amazing! the thai sweet cream tea was very, very good and a nice change from chai. we had gyoza (best i’ve had in okc, hands down), edamame, and the elephant trio (i think that’s the name of it) – all of it EXCELLENT then we proceeded to amaze the waitress with the amount of sushi we ordered. it took a bit of time for the sushi to come but when it did it was fantastic! the dancing roll was a favorite of all three of us and we had enough leftovers to feed my 9 year old till he was stuffed. elephant cafe is a favorite after 1 visit – can’t wait to go back!

  • Kevin says:
    May 14th, 2009 at 5:39 am   

    I don’t usually make it to this part of the metro, but this place is enough of a keeper it’s well worth going off the regular beaten path.

  • mike says:
    May 20th, 2009 at 8:16 pm   

    My wife and I ate there today. I had the Crunchy Pad Tai and it was very good. I would have preferred a little more spicy peanut action and I noticed there was no scallops and only one piece of shrimp. Its only a dollar more that than the original pad tai but felt I didnt get what I paid for.Very delicious either way. My wife and I shared a volcano roll similar to the baby gecko served at Okura’s, Again very delicious. We had the Bubble Tea. Ours where coffee flavored. The drink was okay, the tapioca was a little tuff.

    My wife and I will be back very soon!

  • Katie says:
    July 9th, 2009 at 10:11 am   

    My last few visits here weren’t the best. The Pad Thai got cloyingly sweet and the curry was beginning to get skimpy on veggies. I just read in the Gazette that it is now closed after only 10 months!

  • TMB says:
    July 13th, 2009 at 4:38 pm   

    It is closed! I went with a friend on Friday — anticipating a Bento Box. The new place is called Sweet Thai Basil Express.
    We each had the Tom Kha soup & shared pork potstickers. Good, but no Bento!

  • kim says:
    July 23rd, 2009 at 7:56 am   

    so sad , it the best thai food forever. i heard from the next door that their family working on the new name call the thai sweet basil express.
    Elephant moving somewhere else will more biger than. they will doing well , i’m so sure because their foods all very great,i would say it the best in OKC. i had never has any disappointed in any dishes , let us know when you’re been open new place again.

  • Lara says:
    August 7th, 2009 at 9:01 pm   

    Very much enjoyed Elephant Cafe and took several coworkers there on multiple occasions. Went in to the new place with a friend and the previous owner, Lien, assured us that it was the same people in the kitchen, but there is no way. My dining companion and I were both displeased with our meals. All of the meat in my curry was not hot as it should have been if coming straight out of the pan. It almost tasted as if the meat were cooked earlier and it was just (poorly) reheated when I ordered. Spied microwaves in the kitchen area. Avoid.

  • Vagn says:
    June 16th, 2010 at 10:15 pm   

    Will try for lunch!!!

  • sarah says:
    June 17th, 2010 at 6:47 am   

    Vagn – please note – the new name of the restaurant is Thai Sweet Basil, but it’s at the same address.

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