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Packard's bridges Oklahoma City downtown districts with flavor and flair

Packard's New American Kitchen lends a hand to the growing Oklahoma City food scene while bridging two of its primary entertainment districts.
by Dave Cathey Published: July 17, 2013

/articleid/3862884/1/pictures/2159993">Photo - The warm olives appetizer includes Castelvetrano olives, lemon and rosemary with fresh bread, almonds and tapenade. <strong>David McDaniel - The Oklahoman</strong>
The warm olives appetizer includes Castelvetrano olives, lemon and rosemary with fresh bread, almonds and tapenade. David McDaniel - The Oklahoman

My favorite appetizer thus far is the mussels, which are served in white wine, garlic, shallots and lemon with French bread made in house.

A close second is the warm olives, which is a combination of Castelvetrano olives with lemon, rosemary and garlic served on a board with almonds and tapenade. I also enjoyed the campechana, a ceviche-like preparation of shrimp, crab, avocado, cilantro, lime and tomato.

The menus vary a touch between lunch and dinner. Lunch service is casual with a menu that includes a well-planned succession of sandwiches inspired by cuisines from around the world.

I've tried the fresh grouper sandwich, served on a sesame bun, with caper aioli. It's a refreshing and light lunch choice. For something heartier, consider the roasted tenderloin on house focaccia with Swiss cheese, caramelized shallots and sweet Dijon.

For something a little more exotic, the Kahlua pork sandwich is calling. Served on a sesame bun is a healthy portion of pork smoked in banana leaf topped with Korean barbecue sauce and ginger slaw.

The Packard's rib-eye burger is a presidential representation of the American classic served with ground mustard and spicy tomato jam.

Dinner trims back on the sandwiches and expands on the entrees, which include pasta tinged in Italian, Asian and Cajun flavors. Steaks include a simple filet served with asparagus, fingerling potatoes, cipollini onions and caramelized shallots in a cabernet sauvignon reduction or the more adventurous sirloin wrapped in caul fat with Brussels sprouts, house-smoked bacon and crispy fingerlings served with Maytag blue cheese demiglace.

Desserts are handcrafted affairs with names like cracked caramel sundae, blackstrap apple pie, sticky toffee pudding and classic panna cotta with berry bourbon sauce.

Setting the bar high

Perhaps Packard's most shiny object is its bar. The one the dining room is wrapped around is well-appointed and expertly stocked, but the one you have to take an elevator to get to is destined to hold 80 or so of the most sought-after seats in the city on temperate spring and fall afternoons and summer evenings.

The rooftop view is aimed directly on Oklahoma City's blossoming downtown cityscape and offers plenty of umbrella coverage of the often-unforgiving Oklahoma sun as you enjoy a local beer from COOP Aleworks, Roughtail or Mustang.

If you go

Packard's now offers brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Lunch hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Dinner is served 5 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday extending to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The rooftop bar is open 5 to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 3 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday.

The restaurant and bar are closed Mondays.

by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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