The room, which had been bustling with conversation and laughter, slowly fell silent. In the background, chefs worked feverishly on the next course, but at the long, community- style tables of Project Slurps first pop-up ramen shop, the diners were concentrating on steaming bowls of broth, noodles and pork belly.
Oh, wow. Sluuuuuurp.
The brainchild of Jeff Chanchaleune, former chef and co-owner of Kaiteki Ramen, and Empire Slice House owner Rachel Cope, Project Slurp aims to bring Japanese cuisine and new cocktail combinations to Oklahoma City.
On March 3, the combo (and a small army of cooks) debuted the first pop-up at Dunlap Codding with a menu featuring fresh tuna, beef skewer sandwiches and, of course, ramen.
The ramen scene has grown here. Not as fast as it should, said Chanchaleune. The truck did great business, but there were people who just didnt want to eat ramen out of a cup.
Ramen is best when its fresh from the kitchen, he said. The kotteri ramen served the first night was a great example. The sous vide pork belly was flavorful and fall-apart tender, while the delicate poached egg was subsumed by the rich chicken broth, creating a velvety texture and intoxicating taste.
Cope was interested in a different kind of intoxication with a series of easy-to-drink cocktails paired with each course.
Diners David and Richia Gregston from Edmond favored the For Sakes Sake Mule, which mixed Prairie Wolf vodka with Ty Ku Black sake, ginger syrup, Domain de Canton and a grilled lime. Served with a beef meatball skewer bao, it was a popular drink that night.
She capped the night off with a potent blend of Takara Shochu and five-day-aged Intelligentsia El Diablo Dark Roast coffee.
Project Slurp plans to do more pop-up shops over the next six months with a different dinner planned every few weeks, Chanchaleune said.
These dinners give us a chance to try out menu items and drinks and build interest in real Japanese ramen, he said.
The ultimate goal is to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant that can bring the full experience to Oklahoma City on a permanent basis.
Those interested in attending a Project Slurp event can sign up online at projectslurpokc.com.
Each ticket costs a minimum $45 donation per seat and features a five-course, ramen-focused meal with alcohol.
print headline: Noisy noodles, A ramen pop-up shop brings together Japanese cuisine and craft cocktails for OKC.