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.
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4104 N. Portland
What works: spicy, creamy, wonderful Pakistani cuisine for pretty cheap
What needs work: Its online ordering system is dodgy.
Tips: Remember to order rice, especially if you’re getting it to-go.
Look, I just eat the food.
Sorry. If you’re looking for an in-depth look at what makes Indian food and Pakistani food different or some kind of historical significance or really anything ... I don’t know.
I just like Kabob-n-Curry, which is the only Pakistani place I’m aware of in Oklahoma City.
I liked it when it was a hole-in-the-wall and you got funny looks if you didn’t get the food to-go. And I like it now that there are tables and lights and it seems like a real restaurant. I still kind of get funny looks, however. (Am I just funny-looking? Oh god, I am!) No matter what, I know when I go to Kabob-n-Curry that I will be getting daal channa ($4.50), because that is what my wife wants and god help you if you try to stop her. She is not a fan of spicy foods, in general, but this is so good she doesn’t care a little bit.
Made with yellow lentils, this creamy stew has a rich, buttery flavor and packs a real punch in your flavor gut. It comes topped with fried onions, which give the whole mess a sweet note that I find irresistible.
A quick note about rice: You will need to order some. At Kabob-n- Curry, rice is not included. But when you order it, you get enough to choke a small-throated donkey with a penchant for rice. It’s $2 well spent.
Similarly, if you want naan, order it.
This place is strictly à la carte. A big ol’ piece of tandoori naan is $1. I could eat a Lincoln’s worth, given the opportunity, so maybe just get a couple to start.OK, I lied about not knowing the difference between Pakistani and Indian cuisine. Pakistani cuisine includes beef. So if you’re hungry for kababs that are bovine in origin, this is a good place. For my money, the haandi kabab beef ($6.99) is a good bet. It uses seekh beef kabab (ground and spiced beef) and serves them with gravy. Spoon it over rice and let it sop up the flavor.
Back to things that are kind of basically the same, however, the channa masala ($4.99) is an amazing chickpea curry that has a heartier texture and a more assertive spice. This is good for vegetarians or people who enjoy eating food.
How do you feel about goats? Do you think they’re delicious? Did one of them murder your family and now you’re seeking revenge? Either way, I like the mutton achaari ($6.99), which combines tender stewed goat meat in a spicy gravy with green chilies. This is hot. If you save leftovers for the next day, it will be hotter. I’ve never known leftovers to last longer than that.
Food really is the great equalizer.
I’m sure someone who knows the rich history of Pakistan could tell you some awesome things about this food, but dummies like me can go in there and just eat it, and it tastes good, and why aren’t you already eating there?