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.
Das Boot Camp
229 E. Main, Norman
What works: German food in a sports bar atmosphere
What needs work: The restaurant echoes and can get pretty loud.
Tips: Go after 9 p.m. to take advantage of the happy hour.
Das Boot Camp is like the little brother of Royal Bavaria who moved to Norman for college and just parties a lot. In a good way.
It’s a restaurant where you can hang out with friends and watch a basketball game while enjoying some beers and sausage.
Das is decorated with German artifacts and blue curtains. Flat-screen TVs line the walls, each airing a different sports channel. The hardest part about ordering will be selecting which beer you want next.
Das serves a lot of German mainstays such as the Jäger schnitzel ($9.99) and the Oktoberfest pretzel ($6.99). But it also has a few new and interesting dishes, modified from traditional fare to fit Norman’s Main Street crowd.
We started our meal with the German shrimp cocktail ($6.99), assuming that having a nice, light appetizer would be the way to go before gorging ourselves on sausages. Like any shrimp cocktail, it was served with lemon and a cocktail sauce. While that was great, the menu indicated that the shrimp were tossed in a dill vinaigrette, which we couldn’t really taste at all.
Something that everyone should try here is the sausage sandwich ($6.99). It’s plated with your choice of any of the third-pound sausages served with sauerkraut and mustard on a pretzel hoagie and your choice of french fries or German potato salad.
Now, this sandwich is delicious, filling and contains the three essentials you want from a German restaurant: soft pretzels, sausage and sauerkraut.I ordered mine with the garlic sausage and enjoyed every last bite.
Fair warning: There is nothing ladylike about eating this sandwich, and I would not suggest ordering it on a first date.
The cheese noodles ($8.99) were far more delicious than I thought they would be. My brain had lumped them into the category of macaroni and cheese before they hit the table. Once they arrived, however, I couldn’t stop shoving them in my mouth. These homemade noodles are sautéed in a Swiss cheese sauce and topped with fried onions. They put all other cheese and noodle dishes to shame.Another item that surprised me, the rotisserie chicken ($8.99), had a crispy, fried layer of skin on the outside. It’s served with your choice of french fries or German potato salad.
For those in the mood for a burger, Das Boot Camp has your back. There is the Boot Camp burger ($6.99), with a grilled bratwurst patty in place of your typical beef. This can be served Bavarian style — with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and German mustard or mayonnaise; or classic — with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, German pickles, onion or German mustard or mayonnaise.
And the most delicious part of the meal — the dessert — was the perfect ending to top it off. We had the cream strudel ($3.99) and licked the plate clean. There is also an apple strudel, as well as a cheesecake.
Perhaps the best part of a visit to Das Boot Camp is enjoying all your favorite Royal Bavaria beers. And, in true Norman fashion, there’s a happy hour every evening after 9 p.m., and the liter boots are just $4 each.