developing: Coronavirus in Oklahoma: State driver's license offices to closelive: Watch live: White House addresses coronavirus outbreakLive updates: Oklahoma coronavirus cases now 879; 34 dead

NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Cafe Condesa, Anchor Down open downtown

Downtown dining took a big step forward with two recent openings.

Last week, Cafe Condesa, 300 Park Ave., opened in the vacant space adjacent to the east side of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library. Owned by the Del Cid family, who have the city's best breakfast stop in Cafe Kacao in the Asian district, the fast-casual concept features tortas (Latin American sandwiches), burritos, doughnuts and gourmet coffee.

No, Huevos Motulenos isn't on the menu, but I was happy to try a Cubano, if for no other reason than to bask in the irony of having the national sandwich of Cuba in a space once called Hemingway's. Big Ernie would've been fine with the sandwich but the absence of a liquor license to allow the serving of Cuba Libres, I'm afraid, would've been a deal-killer -- close proximity to literary house of worship be damned.

Cafe Condesa's Cubano had all the right stuff: toasted bread, mustard, pickles, cheese and pork plus a little mayonnaise, which was welcome. The ham wasn't spiral-cut and the pork wasn't slow-roasted over night in a box topped with hot coals, but for a quick, affordable bite it was plenty satiating. Look forward to many happy returns.

This afternoon at 4 p.m., Anchor Down, 30 NE 2 St., opens in the OK Sea development. You can't miss OK Sea, it looks like a jungle gym for adults. The idea is for Oklahoma City's most discretionary funded to frolic in and out of the primary-colored, oversized shipping containers that make up OK Sea and leave behind a wake of signed credit card receipts. Based on my first experience, the fellows who opened The Mule and triggered runaway interest in the Plaza District will have no problem fulfilling any part of that scenario.

Chef Beth Ann Lyon joined Cody Rowan, Joey Morris, and John Harris at The Mule to spruce up the weekly specials and write the menu for Anchor Down. As she did at Kitchen No. 324, Lyon has knocked it out of the park. Trained at The Coach House Apprenticeship Program, Lyon is grinding and casing her own franks and using a house-made cornmeal batter. We tried the cheese dog and the wild dog, which both were terrific. The cheese dog consists of a hunk of Tillamook, battered, fried and served with tomato gravy that you could eat with a spoon and call it tomato soup with few arguments. The result is a whimsical play on the grilled cheese. Said my cheese-worshipping, vegetarian wife, "I've eaten a lot of grilled cheese in my life, but that's the best one." The wild dog was equally delicious and served with a dressing hot enough to convince me it might be laced with ghost chile. We dipped the house-made chips in the dressing, which only made our beer and Moscow Mule more satisfying.

I can't wait to see where this group's amicable assault on our inner five-year-old takes them next. Cinnamon toast? Hot Pockets? Jello? Let me know, I'll be there.

Related Photos
<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure>
Dave Cathey

The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma‚Äôs booming food scene. Read more ›