Another Chinese restaurant with a focus on rice noodles is coming to the East Village in May, but this time with Hunan flavors.
Hunan Slurp Shop, at 112 First Ave., near East Seventh Street, comes from chef and artist Chao Wang, who has spent the past 25 years as an oil painter. Now, he’s opening a restaurant inspired by his hometown of Hengyang in the Hunan province of China.
Rice noodles are having a moment in NYC, a hot cheap eat trend that has people slurping all over town — including in the East Village with places like Little Tong and Yuan. A lot of the rice noodles found in the city are served Yunnan-style, but the flavors accompanying the noodles here goes over two provinces in China to Hunan.
Wang’s Hunan version of mifen (rice noodles) will not be as “aggressive” in its spicy-sour flavoring compared to Yunnan soup noodles, according to a statement, instead looking to the ingredients such as fish for umami or subtler flavors. Mifen variations on the menu include a bowl with bone marrow and a Tonkotsu-style broth and another stew with pig’s feet. Cold and hot small plates are also on the menu, like braised chicken feet tossed in spicy oil and stir-fried smoked pork and bean curd.
As can be expected from a restaurant owned by an artist, the space has a specific aesthetic. Thin slats of wood stripe the restaurant from floor to ceiling, arched over the space and slightly resembling the look of rice noodles. The 48-seat space is made up mostly of communal tables, but there is also banquette seating. Circular mirrors, marble tabletops, and exposed lightbulbs are also scattered in the restaurant.
Wang’s artist background comes out in the food as well. One dish on the menu will be called “The Palette,” made of a set of five colored dumplings, the dough dyed with other foods like beets, spinach, carrots, and squid ink.
Hunan Slurp will be open by reservation only from May 16th to May 22nd and then open to walk-ins starting on May 23rd.
Update: The restaurant has since changed its name to Hunan Slurp.