Hunan Slurp

Hunan SlurpGenerally you like your restaurants to have appetizing names. You know, names that evoke velvety richness, or hominess. Something nourishing or refreshing. Or even filling. You generally want to stay away from monikers that remind you of things like revenge porn and The Human Centipede. So, why, you ask would the owners of this establishment give it the supremely awful name, Hunan Slurp. Especially because, at first glance (and second glance), it reads as “Human Slurp.”

The thing is, once you get past not being able to say the word “slurp” out loud to anyone, you may notice how the small, modern space wraps you in the warmth of a Scandinavian showroom. Minimalism done right, in light flooring and light wood that really makes the colorful food pop. Speaking of pop, that’s all you’ll be able to drink at this joint. That’s right, this is the only restaurant in all of Manhattan that doesn’t serve alcohol. No wine. No beer. No nothing. My buddy and I kept turning the menu over and over somehow expecting the booze to suddenly appear. But, alas, it was not to be. I suppose, upon our horrifying discovery, we could have run down the block to a bodega to pick up a six-pack, but we powered through and just focused on the grub. [edit: it looks like they may have added booze to the menu since.]

And, let me tell, you, it was pretty damn tasty. The menu actually feels pretty traditional — with things like frog’s legs, chicken innards and duck tongue — though done with a modern twist. We did stay away from the random animal parts section of the menu (mainly because of my delicate sensibilities) and went more conservative, but it feels like you’d be good with anything on the list. And while it’s certainly not the huge menu you’d typically see at your average Chinese buffet restaurant, there is enough variation to satisfy fans of pigs, cows, and fowl. Even someone like me who definitely has shied away from swine was sucked into the garlic and ribs dish. Which were basically fried spare ribs and were f’ing delicious.

I think the other couple of dishes we ordered were like mounds of stir-fried beef and possibly piles of chicken. Some of it was pretty spicy. Some not as much. Either way, it was satisfying and gave me that thing I love: flavor. That’s right, it tasted of stuff. Chili paste. Garlic. Peppers. Soy. Things that make your tastebuds pop. And what else could I ask for from a dining experience? Well, beers, maybe. But we certainly got out of there cheap without having to pony up for that alcohol markup. Anyhow,  loved the food. Liked the space. But still hate the stupid-ass name.

112 1st Avenue (bet. 1st Ave. and Ave. A)