Even though NE 23rd Street is one of the most historical streets in Oklahoma City, many locals tend to forget that it’s also home to some of the most grassroots and homegrown eateries in town, the best having a specific focus on soul food, barbecue and old-fashioned Southern cooking. NE 23rd Street restaurants are OKC’s culinary history all in a few blocks and really should be revered as such.
Winning big can be hungry, thirsty work. We scoured Oklahoma’s casinos for your best bets on sustenance whether you are on a winning streak, holding, folding, walking away, running, or just down to your last five bucks.
2701 N. Martin Luther King
What works: Oxtail, oxtail, dear lord the oxtail.
What needs work: A little more heat on the red snapper, but that's about it.
Tips: Ask about the Jamaican empanadas.
I mean, I wish them all the success in the world. I love the food. I love the atmosphere. It’s just … I don’t want to share with you.
Now, I can’t tell you how authentic the Caribbean (“cari-can,” get it?) food is, but I can tell you that I love it. I eat it and it makes me sad that I have taken this food away from the world, but happy that it will keep me alive long enough to return to Carican Flavors and eat more.
It’s a vicious, delicious cycle. The jerk chicken ($7.61) is good.
You should get it. And don’t worry if you’re not the type who likes spicy foods, because they do a flavorful, but mild version here.
The lamb stew is ($10.52) good.
You should get it. Big chunks of tender lamb in a broth good enough to drink from a glass and lots of fall-apart vegetables. It’s a feast for the senses, which is one of the many names I have for my stomach.
I was less taken with the stewed red snapper ($10.75), which was the first dish I wished had a bit more kick. If there are plenty of stewed peppers on top, you won’t have a problem. It’s pretty healthy, too, if you’re the sort who likes to live a long time.
And I do want to live. I want to live so that I can go back to Carican Flavors and get the dish that first made me fall in love: oxtail.
If you don’t like knowing where your food comes from, then the oxtail ($11.30) isn’t for you. And that’s OK, because the oxtail is for me! It’s mine. Leave it alone.
The oxtail comes on the bone, with a little fat, and it’s the absolute essence of beef distilled into meat and broth. I get it with an order of spinach rice so it can soak up all that broth.
Other sides include a baked macaroni and cheese ($3.75) that I’ve really come to adore and black-eyed peas ($3) or green beans ($3).
There’s also a sweet red drink called sorrel ($2) that is kind of like a tea brewed from a hibiscus that you should try while you’re in.
Carican Flavors is just one of my all-time favorite places. It’s impeccably clean. They are so friendly you will worry that it’s part of long con. And the food is just … c’mon. I cannot walk out of that place in a bad mood.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.