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Friday, October 10, 2014

Ramen and Noodles from All Over Asia at Slurp, Now Open in the Castro

Posted By on Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 9:36 AM

click to enlarge Slurp Ramen. - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • Slurp Ramen.

Sometimes when restaurants reformat, it’s bracingly abrupt, and sometimes, the transition is slow and gradual. Anyone who’d been to Fork Café in the Castro might be confused by the continuing presence of the giant fork, almost as large as the one Kermit and Fozzie drive by in The Muppet Movie, when sitting down at Slurp Noodle Bar. But it’s definitely changed. Burmese, Chinese, Filipino, Thai and Vietnamese are some to the cuisines Slurp’s menu touches upon, although that feels more like an honest accounting of Chef Daniel Sudar’s influences than an awkward exercise in fusion. (Slurp serves nothing like the unlamented “universal pasta” at Fuzio, which occupied the same location before Fork took over.)

See Also: Michael Mina's Ramen Bar is Genuinely Awe-Inspiring

click to enlarge Emerald fire noodles (spinach wheat noodles, tofu, sprouts, herbs and curry sauce). - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • Emerald fire noodles (spinach wheat noodles, tofu, sprouts, herbs and curry sauce).

In fact, Slurp is quite refreshing, a much-needed addition to the Castro, where far too many overpriced eateries are only average if you’re rounding up. If the onomatopoeia of the word slurp sounds a bit unappetizing to you, just keep the location in mind and the innuendo becomes clearer.

And there’s a lot to like here: complimentary banchan, tamarind chicken wings, papaya salad, a gluten-free jap chae (glass noodles) and mie goreng, an egg noodle dish served with egg, cabbage, chilies, sprouts, scallions and ginger garlic soy sauce. A dish of emerald fire noodles benefited from a bit more fire, but I’m hard pressed to think of a tastier, better textured pork belly dish in the neighborhood for only $7.95. Since ramen is obligatory these days, you’ll find it here (pho, too) and the umami-forward broth is easily the equal of nearby Wasabi Bistro’s. The liquor license is wine-and-beer only, but they’re open until at least 10 pm.

Slurp seems to have retained most of Fork’s décor, along with that neither-inside-nor-outside patio, but the best tables are the two out front, where you can ogle and be ogled. Once they’re finally done chopping up Castro Street, expect this place to draw some crowds.

Slurp Noodle Bar, 469 Castro, 553-6633.

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Pete Kane

Pete Kane

Pete Kane is a total gaylord who is trying to get to every national park before age 40

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