Wednesday, September 24, 2014

First course: Slurp popup brings ramen to Vino

Nadine Kam photos
Slurp’s tan tan ramen with chashu, Tokyo negi, chopped choi sum and 7-minute egg. This sesame-garlic-miso combo was my favorite of the day.

Since Vino opened, chef Keith Endo has been associated with the restaurant's Italian and Mediterranean bistro fare. Now he returns to his local roots with the introduction of Slurp, a lunch-time ramen popup within Vino at Waterfront Plaza (Restaurant Row).

The breadth of offerings rival that of a full-size ramen shop, with a range of classic to specialty bowls, that cater to multiple cravings, starting with basic shio, shoyu, tonkotsu, miso and tan tan versions at $8.95 per bowl. All include chashu, Tokyo negi and choi sum.

Chinatown duck ramen is one of the specialty bowls available at Slurp, more reminiscent of Chinese noodle shops than traditional ramen.

There are also some exciting specialty offerings including a kim chee miso stew ramen ($9.95); crab ramen ($16.95) that bears strong resemblance to Vino’s parent Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar’s Dungeness Crab Ramen with Asian Truffle Broth; and a couple of more Chinese- than Japanese-inspired options of Chinatown duck ramen ($14.95) with five-spice broth, and oxtail soup-inspired braised oxtail ramen ($12.95) with cilantro and mustard cabbage.

All feature thin Hakata-style noodles created for the popup by Sun Noodle.

Add-on toppings are a 7-minute egg ($1.25) and bamboo shoots ($2), and side accompaniments are chicken yakitori ($1.50 per stick), pork belly hoisin bun ($2.95 each), kim chee ($2) and gyoza at three for $2.95 or six for $5.45.

To go with your meal, consider liquid slurps of mango, lilikoi or lychee house sodas, ume seltzer, and lemongrass ice tea, or a full range of wines by the glass and bar offerings (it is the domain of Chuck Furuya, after all).
The popup, inside Vino at 500 Ala Moana Boulevard, is open from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Call (808) 524-8466.

Crab ramen in a truffle broth with Tokyo negi and spicy jalapeƱo.

Pork belly hoisin buns are a generously sized side offering, at $2.95 each.

Meaty gyoza, at three pieces for $2.95, or six for $5.45.

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