Chef Andrew Black Brings a New Level of Culinary Curiosity and Play to OKC
What’s in a name? In the case of Grey Sweater, everything.
“Grey has no allegiance and neither does the food here,” Chef Andrew Black said about the concept’s name. “And the ‘sweater’ is the service and warmth of the experience.”
In fact, a visit to Grey Sweater feels more like you’re attending a private dinner party at Chef Black’s house than it feels like going out to dinner at a restaurant.
One of Oklahoma City’s newest and most unique restaurant concepts, Grey Sweater has no menu. When you call to request a reservation, you simply choose how many courses you would like to experience.
When you arrive, you’ll be greeted at the door with a warm welcome as though you’ve just stepped into a friend’s home. If you arrive earlier than your seating time, you may want to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail as you choose your seat.
That’s right. Nobody tells you where to sit at Grey Sweater. You can choose to sit at any of the 18 seats at the dinner bar, which wraps around the open kitchen like a culinary amphitheater, or at a semi-private table with a view of the kitchen.
The space is private and cozy, despite its ability to very comfortably seat 52 people. And the design is low-key luxury at its finest.
The first thing that came to mind for me, was that the space felt elegant but relaxed, like somewhere the ladies from “Sex and the City” would be spotted.
As the diners arrived and found their seats, the culinary team got to work, and it wasn’t long before the delicious scents began to fill the room.
This is where food becomes a form of creative expression. There is no menu and the ingredients change weekly.
“Our thing is this, let’s get lost in food culture,” Chef Black said. “As cooks, chefs, dishwashers, front of the house, we truly get together and ask ourselves about food. We question ourselves all the time about what we’re doing. Whatever the answer, the guests happen to be a part of it. When you come in this room, you’re in my house for two or three-hours and I’m taking you on this journey. It’s this journey where you’re going through different emotions.”
When Chef Black says he’s going to take you on a culinary journey, he doesn’t disappoint.
Ingredients are sourced from around the globe and vary based on what is available or in season. All of the seafood is wild caught, fresh and flown in daily. Vinegars are made in-house and spices are collected from around the world and stored on-site, while vinegars are made and fermentation takes place in-house.
Each course is paired with a complementary wine. The elements of your journey are presented to you over the course of the meal and explained in terms of flavor, ingredients, and even the artistic choices that are behind the creation of the dish.
My experience was one of the autumn varieties. Each dish was creamy and rich, which flavors and textures that surprise you and expand your perception, but also make you feel invited and cozy. There were everyday favorites that had been turned into works of edible art, and dishes that included unique flavors, textures and ingredients.
Each dish was decidedly different from its predecessor, yet somehow, they all worked in concert to create a journey of the senses.
My favorite part of the evening, however, was in the details between courses.
One stood out in particular. I was presented with a small round dish containing a small, thick white disk, which I soon discovered was a dehydrated towelette as it expanded when my host poured a mixture of warm water and a blend of essential oils on it.
Despite the scent’s official name being “wood and spices, essential oil number 7,” the oils seemed to me to smell more of lavender and lemon than woods and spices. Either way, the scent was both surprising and light. I was instantly relaxed and my experience went to an entirely different level.
“It’s also a place where people conversate. What is happening now is exactly what we dreamt about,” Chef Black said, motioning to the other conversations going on despite the meal having ended nearly 20 minutes earlier. “People finish eating and just sharing good food and good memories, it’s catching up with people.”
Then, as guests began to leave, Chef Black stopped and took the time to personally thank and say goodbye to guests as though each was an old friend.
Grey Sweater’s waitlist had grown to some 1,800 reservations within weeks of opening, and they are currently working their way through reservations.
What You Need to Know: Grey Sweater is a reservation-only culinary experience. Reservations can be made by calling 445.6274. The restaurant is located at 100 NE 4th St., OKC. Parking on 425 Oklahoma Ave., inside the Maywood Building.