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FOOD REVIEW: One River Restaurant

Louis Fowler / Red Dirt Report
The Black Hawk Chicken Fried Steak Feast from One River Restaurant.
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When it comes to gambling, I learned very early on that I don’t know when to hold them, have no idea how to fold them, can’t discern when to walk away and got a physical inability to run. That being said, I tend to spend a lot of time in casino diners, my initial investment of $20 long lost, waiting on friends and family who are on proverbial “hot streaks.”

Per usual, on a recent trip to the Black Hawk Casino in Shawnee, 42008 Westech Rd., I went bust faster than usual playing the Michael Jackson slots, losing a gifted $20 in a record 30 seconds, promptly beating it before I could lose anything else. While my mother continued to rack up the dollar signs over on some supremely patriotic machine with American flags and bald eagles as signifiers of fortune, I sauntered into their One River Restaurant for some much-needed self-esteem in the form of a cheap lunch.

The one thing I’ve learned about most casino diners and restaurants is that, especially in Oklahoma, you’re always guaranteed a jackpot of culinary values, even if the food itself ain’t all that. Lady Luck was definitely smiling down upon me at Black Hawk, however, as the food was remarkably edible and cost-cuttingly priced, a win-win for all parties involved.

Serving mostly bar and diner fare with a touch of Vegas class, the One River is located in the back of the casino and is actually a nice, quiet repose from the ring-a-ding-dings and squeals of victory that echo throughout the gambling hall. It was obvious looking over the menu the one place I wasn’t going to lose my shirt was right here, so I decided to double-down and order a few items to get a nice sampling of what the eatery truly has to offer.

From the first pull of the lever, I hit paydirt with a small order of the Loaded Nachos ($3.00), which were piled high like a stack of cheesy poker chips, only these ones were homemade and fresh out the fryer, crispy to a fault. Topped with aromatic seasoned ground beef, zesty pintos and a pico de gallo that was startlingly fresh, most major restaurant chains could actually take a page from One River’s menu when it comes to these apps, in both prep and price.

I didn’t exactly come up aces with the signature single-patty Black Hawk Burger ($4.50), however. While it is supremely better than most fast-food meal deals, it still has a definitely unexciting cafeteria feel to it, with a bland patty taking up most of the slack between the dry, toasty buns. While the lettuce, onions, pickles and tomatoes are very crisp and ultimately welcomed, unless you want to pay extra for a slice of cheese and some bacon, be prepared to come up snake eyes and just drench the sucker in ketchup leftover from the adequate enough fries.

All things considered, I really felt like I broke even and made my money back with the Black Hawk Chicken Fried Steak Feast ($6.50). At the most nominal of price points, I was dealt a winning hand in the form of a perfectly seasoned and defiantly tender hand-breaded chicken fried steak covered with a decent dollop of peppery cream gravy. While it may not be the best chicken fried steak you’ll ever have, it’s definitely a full house of flavor, especially when paired with creamy mashed potatoes, sturdy corn niblets and buttery Texas toast.

As I sat back in my chair, satisfied, I smiled and wiped my mouth as various chain-smoking betters made their way back from the gambling tables to the dining tables, forlorn and possibly facing foreclosure. As they dug through their pockets to find enough change to buy a cup of coffee, I knowingly patted my stomach, the biggest winner of the night at the Black Hawk. ¡Cómpralo ya!

One River Restaurant
42008 Westech Rd
Shawnee, OK 74804
Phone: 405-275-4700

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About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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