In a landlocked prairie state, any restaurant with a focus on seafood faces the inevitable questions: Is it fresh enough? And does anyone in Oklahoma really know how to do seafood? Consequently, seafood lovers in the state have historically had few dining options.
With the opening of The Big Tuna Fish Joint at 3720 W. Robinson in Norman’s Brookhaven Village, a new and intriguing option presents itself and, overall, provides a positive dining experience in a casual atmosphere. It is the latest concept by the Hal Smith Restaurant Group, longtime innovators in the local dining scene.
The Big Tuna features bright décor and doesn’t go too overboard with nautical kitsch. The vibe is more hip and contemporary, with multiple flat-panel TVs and even a handful of video games on the upstairs level.
The appetizer menu features Crab Cakes ($8.49) that are served two to an order, one grilled with millionaire sauce and one blackened with Cajun brown butter sauce. Even though we are fond of Cajun spice, we most enjoyed the grilled cake.
The entrees comprise soups, salads, sandwiches, tacos, baskets and full meal plates, with choices ranging from tilapia to salmon to shrimp and the full range of po’ boys. The Asian Salmon ($13.99) is very nicely done, baked and topped with a soy hoisin glaze. It is feather-light and delicious over a bed of green chile rice. Add a side of grilled vegetables for variety. There is a Cajun section to the menu as well, and the Blackened Chicken ($9.99) is tasty without pretense.
Dessert options are somewhat limited but good, with Key Lime Pie and Bourbon Pecan Pie being the only choices. The latter ($3.99) is especially tasty.
The coastline isn’t getting any closer to Oklahoma, but The Big Tuna is helping to fill the gap; it is a welcome addition to the metro area’s choices for seafood.