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.
1 Remington Place
What works: great view of the track and tasty appetizers
What needs work: better communication among staff
Tips: Make a reservation and plan to stay the entire evening. It’s all about the view.
The menu at Silks, Remington Park’s upscale dining option, is pretty much what you’d expect: steaks, seafood, pasta and a few sandwiches. The tablecloths are white. The servers are dressed up.
But it’s the view that makes it. Sitting there, overlooking the track, turns a normal night out into an event. The races are right there. A quick jaunt up the stairs and you’re at the betting windows, putting a few bucks on the trifecta. Back down and your waiter is dropping off your appetizers as the horses line up at the gate.
The aglio roasted mushrooms ($12 for a plate of five) are stuffed with sausage and cheese, topped with bread crumbs and roasted until tender — a tasty beginning.
The crab cake ($8) is very crabby, with lots of big pieces of crab with little touches of diced peppers and celery to enhance both the look and texture. Be sure to squeeze the lemon on top for the max amount of flavor.
Both appetizers come with a small pile of mixed greens with a bit of olive oil. It’s a simple touch, but one that adds to the experience.
A little less expensive and good for a crowd, the hot Parmesan Ranch potato chips ($5) is a guilty pleasure. These cannot be good for the body, but I am convinced that they enrich the soul. And probably harden the arteries. Look: There are trade-offs.
It is weirdly satisfying to eat part of a cow while watching horses race.
Something in your heart knows that this is what it means to have dominion over the beasts of the field. While the clubhouse steak ($24) is a value option — thick-cut top sirloin, topped with blue cheese and fried onions — you’ll be much happier with the 14-ounce rib- eye ($32), which has more beefy flavor and a more tender texture.
The stuffed pork chop ($24) is a nice, juicy bone-in chop, stuffed with spinach and cheese, and topped with a sherry reduction. If I had my druthers, they’d forget about the stuffing, which disappears against the flavor of the sauce, and just do a straight-up pork chop.
Cooked right, it’s a delight. Be sure to get a side of the mashed potatoes, too.
The boneless breast of chicken Chardonnay ($15) is light and sweet. With the honey and grapes, it’s not really my favorite, but a good choice for anyone looking for something not quite as heavy as the red meat.
The entree that stole my heart was the Szechuan bacon-wrapped shrimp ($24). I love all four of those words, and I’m pretty fond of the hyphen. Sweet, spicy, crunchy, chewy and tender all at once.
If you somehow have room left in your stomach, or are willing to make room through use of the dark arts, there are desserts. The peanut butter cheesecake ($8) is rich, smooth and decadent. Others will try to share this dessert with you.
Fight for it.
I wish the custard in the caramel coffee crème brûlée ($8) were a little more set, but that’s my only complaint about an otherwise great dessert. The custard was creamy, with no grainy sugar, and the top formed a perfect crunchy shell. There’s no eating this dessert halfway. You will start. You will finish. You might even lick the bowl.
Only open on race days, Silks really is an event restaurant. Even if you’re not seated right by the window, tables have TVs with a live broadcast of the races. And while there are little things that could improve, Silks has one thing with which others can’t compete: that view.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.