Why Café Cuvée? French Comfort Food Comes to OKC

two chef headshots split side by side

Why did we decide to convert the highly popular Viceroy Grille into Café Cuvée? What can we expect from this new French restaurant near Bricktown? And what is Cuvée anyway? You ask the questions, oui provide the answers.

French Comfort Food Comes to OKC


Not more than just a few days ago, the 1st floor space at the Ambassador Hotel Oklahoma City housed a highly popular restaurant: Viceroy Grille.

Since the hotel’s opening in 2014, Viceroy Grille had a proven track record of being more than just a restaurant hotel.

In fact, it became a destination in its own right for local diners, hotel guests, and other visitors to Oklahoma City.

So why change?

a dimly lit place of french fare

Why go against the grain and substitute a successful model for one that will need to prove itself all over again?

For that answer, we consulted Paul Coury, CEO of Coury Hospitality, the hospitality management company that owns and operates the Ambassador Hotel.

“Sometimes you have to break the mold and redo something to make it even better and more successful than it already is,” explains the Tulsa-born real estate developer and avid golfer.

“We loved the success of Viceroy Grille, but we felt it was time to step up our game by bringing something new and exciting to the Oklahoma City market.”

What happened next will likely go down in the annals of Oklahoma City restaurant history.

Together with Coury Hospitality’s Culinary Director and legend of the OKC restaurant scene, Kurt Fleischfresser, Paul Coury and team felt a strong desire to bring an approachable and fun French restaurant concept to the growing Oklahoma City market.

Following some lengthy discussions, and copious amounts of French wine, the two agreed to replace Viceroy Grille with a friendly, neighborhood-style French bistro.

And so be it written, Café Cuvée was born.

But Why Café Cuvée?

CHAMPAGNE Krug, Grande Cuvée, France, NV

Out of all the French names they could have chosen, why Café Cuvée?

And what does cuvée mean anyway?

Enter Jeffrey Cole, Beverage Manager and wine connoisseur par excellence.

“In winemaking, Cuvée refers to the best wine a vigneron (the French term for grape grower) can create or blend with the fruit the land gave him,” he explains.
“In other words,” continues Monsieur Cole, “cuvée represents the best of the best, which is what we strive to be both in terms of our wine selection as well as our cuisine and our tableside service.”

Approachable French Fare

When it comes to French food, however, there are as many misconceptions as there are mispronunciations.

Pourquoi?

“Many people think French cuisine is pretentious and inaccessible,” says Chef Taylor Desjarlais, the man empowered with the keys to the kitchen and the spatulas at Café Cuvée.

For this Oklahoma City native of French heritage, however, it’s simply not true.

“It reminds me a lot of southern food at its roots,” explains Chef Desjarlais.

“Good portions, simple ingredients, and rich sauces. It can be very humble all the way to the most high-end meal.”

Moreover, both Chef Desjarlais and Culinary Director Kurt Fleischfresser are adamant:

“Our menus will be accessible and fun.”

What to Expect at Café Cuvée

a chef folding arms smiling to camera

Beyond a fantastic meal and spectacular French wines, what else can diners expect to find at what is surely going to be the #1 French restaurant in Oklahoma City?

Fun, creative, inviting, and friendly are just some of the words that come to mind.

Many on the team see it as developing into an important gathering place for Midtown residents, extending even to downtown locals as well as other parts of Oklahoma City such as Bricktown. Thanks to the new Oklahoma City Streetcar, Cafe Cuvée will be assessable by many important districts in the area.

Kurt Fleischfresser, who has years of experience developing menus and a deep-rooted passion
for French cuisine, has expertly crafted this project to be inviting and unique to Oklahoma City.

“It’s going to feel like a small café in Paris with truly authentic dishes.”

Add to that the interactive tableside experience as well as roving carts of cheese from around the world and pastries made from scratch, and it seems that all will be missing are a mime and a poodle.

What to Eat at Café Cuvée

As you will see by the mouthwatering, hunger-inducing menus at Café Cuvée, it will be hard to pick what to eat from so many spectacular choices.

So, in order to make it easier for you, we’ve gone straight to the source. In this case, Chefs Kurt Fleischfesser and Taylor Desjarlais.

“I’d go all classic the first time and pair escargot with a nice Côtes du Rhône Blanc, then follow it with a Frissee aux Lardons salad,” suggests Chef Fleischfresser.

“For the main course, I’d recommend the roasted chicken with garlic cloves paired with a Burgundy wine. To top it off, nothing less than a Grand Marnier Soufflé and a glass of Champagne.”

Chef Taylor Desjarlais takes a slightly different approach.

“I’d start with steak tartare paired with an Alsatian Riesling, then a tomato basil soup and Beaujolais,” says Chef Desjarlais. “Then I’d go with a pan-seared salmon in a tomato beurre blanc sauce and pair it with a Pinot Noir from the Côtes de Nuits.”

Both, however, agree on the soon-to-be-famous Grand Marnier Soufflé for dessert.

Hungry for more?

Stay tuned for more tips and tidbits a la Café Cuvée prior to our grand opening on September 1st!


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