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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The Park House, the much-awaited contemporary American cuisine restaurant on the eastern edge of the Myriad Botanical Gardens, opened in mid-December. Foodies and families out for fun haven’t been the same since.
The restaurant has an elegant exterior with imported SWISSPEARL siding. Curved glass windows provide a 180-degree view of the gardens and its exterior wooden deck.
Owned by Peter and Sheree Holloway, the upscale eatery’s sleek, circular interior draws diners’ eyes toward a large wooden disk in the center of the ceiling. Well-known for its other popular restaurants in Edmond and Oklahoma City, including Boulevard Steakhouse, two Café 501 restaurants and Martini Lounges, the Holloway Restaurant Group also owns the nearby Ice House burgers, fries and shakes stand.
Park House’s location makes it ideal for a long lunch, an afternoon snack with kids or a pre-Thunder game celebration for adults.
Snack on Executive Chef Jonathan Krell’s whimsical-yet-divine flight of deviled eggs. Each egg is filled with different delights, including a house-cured bacon with Danish blue cheese and a special-recipe pesto and mascarpone (complete with a tangy zip).
Additional appetizers include the tempting chicken and waffle fry nachos, Park House lump crab cakes, housemade ham and cheese tots with charred green onion and grilled artichoke and spinach dip served with pita chips.
Krell is a Philadelphia native who says it’s his mission to make “really tasty food” with passion, creativity and integrity. His menu features rotisserie chicken soup and salads, including a baby iceberg wedge, a wild arugula salad and others topped with either rotisserie chicken, seared tuna or shrimp. A large glass rotisserie near the front door provides a hunger-inducing waft of prebrined chicken and pork.
“We have food for the family and for the foodie,” Krell said. “We also make our own bacon and pork belly. Everything is handcrafted.”I picked the pasta carbonara with smoke-infused pork belly, boiled egg, roasted garlic and herbed Parmesan cheese. While delicious, it was the rotisserie chicken and crushed potatoes — flash-fried Yukon potatoes covered with an intoxicating mix of sour cream, green onion and garlic — that stole my heart. Roasted Brussels sprouts complemented both selections.
The Park House offers a host of flavorful sandwiches and a classic bacon cheeseburger, each served with homemade kettle chips. The restaurant’s meals are designed to tempt the taste buds, whether you try its mustard seedcrusted pork tenderloin, filet mignon, halibut fish and chips, chicken and waffle fries or the pan-seared Scottish salmon. Side dishes don’t take second place here; options include wild mushroom bread pudding, roasted vegetables and more.