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