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.
Othello’s Italian Restaurant
1 South Broadway, Edmond
What works: lasagna topped with meat sauce
What doesn’t: house wine
Tips: Bring your appetite and save room for dessert.
You’ll quickly realize that Othello’s in Edmond is meant to be reminiscent of an Italian grandmother’s kitchen. The atmosphere is rustic, with faux-painted murals and dark wooden tables. A roaring fireplace greets you (on chilly nights, that is), and the full bar can be a great place to stop for a quick nightcap
We were warmly greeted by our server and offered a wine menu to review. There was a mix of average-priced bottles and higher-end choices.
The house wine, available by the half or full carafe, isn’t recommended. When we asked our server what the house wine was, she replied, “Franza?” (We’re pretty sure she was referring to Franzia.)
The main dining area has enough seating to accommodate parties of eight or more, and there is a balcony space for private parties like wedding rehearsal dinners. The evening we visited, it was a nice mix of families and couples. The noise level was a tad high, but overall, it made for an inviting experience.
Othello’s menu is extensive, including all the classics. There are also dishes with a different twist called “Customer Creations,” like Amber’s chicken pepperoni (grilled chicken with sliced pepperoni, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, baked until bubbly) and Angel’s balsamic chicken and spinach (grilled chicken with sautéed onions, mushrooms, garlic, spinach, balsamic and oil, topped with feta cheese and tossed with penne pasta), among others.
Entrees begin at $12.95 for Susan’s chopped salad with balsamic chicken and go up to $18.29 for Jack’s herb-crusted salmon with veggies.
We started with an appetizer of toasted meat ravioli (six raviolis for $6.29), served piping hot with a side of homemade marinara sauce.
The raviolis had excellent crunch, but I was hoping for a bit more spice.
There are several other appetizer choices such as stuffed mushrooms, fried calamari or the zuppa del girono (soup of the day) that I will probably order next time.
Othello’s also has a nice selection of salads. The antipasto platter ($10.95) is perfect for sharing.
For main dishes, we chose the lasagna topped with meat sauce ($11.24), chicken parmigiana ($9.95) and Karen’s pasta ($14.95), which is penne tossed with chicken and artichokes in a creamy tomato basil sauce. The lasagna was generously portioned, as was the chicken parmigiana — and I’m pretty sure Karen’s pasta could have fed Karen and two of her friends.
The lasagna was exactly what you would expect from a fine Italian eatery: layer upon layer of meat, pasta and cheeses perfectly cooked together. It comes in an individual serving dish and is topped with cheese that is bubbly and gooey.
The chicken parmigiana was just OK. The breading was disappointing and the chicken lacked any sort of crispiness. In fact, it was almost mushy. I would have preferred a nice, crispy coating to counter the texture of the pasta.
On the flip side, Karen’s pasta was quite wonderful. A generous amount of chicken was mixed in, and the serving size was so large that I was able to take home half for lunch the next day. (Unfortunately, I left it in the car overnight. Admit it: You’ve done it, too!) There is one thing I do not pass up:
dessert. We tried the coconut cream pie ($6.25) and Italian cream cake ($5.75), and I’m not sure which one was better. The crust on the coconut pie was just like mom makes, and the filling wasn’t a heavy pudding, but rather light and fluffy with flakes of coconut mixed in. The Italian cream cake was almond-flavored with creamy icing that melted in my mouth.
If you’re looking for an Italian restaurant with something for everyone, check out Othello’s. It’s family-friendly but perfect for date night, too.
And don’t forget: All pizzas are half-price on Sunday evenings.
Oklahoma Gazette’s restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when appropriate.