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Grilling Oke-Asian

Asian flavors were featured at the second Open Flame event of 2014 at American Propane, hosted by The Oklahoman’s the Food Dude.
by Dave Cathey Modified: June 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm •  Published: June 18, 2014

photo - 
Karen James samples bulgogi grilled by Dave Cathey, left, during June’s Open Flame at American Propane.
Karen James samples bulgogi grilled by Dave Cathey, left, during June’s Open Flame at American Propane. STEVE SISNEY - THE OKLAHOMAN

Cooking out is so popular in United States, it’s easy to believe the practice might’ve been invented when George Washington stood over a fallen cherry tree thinking of explanations to give his father as to why he’d taken an ax to it.

Well, the Fourth of July is coming up, so if you want to go with that notion a little longer, be my guest. But a moment of lucid reflection will surely reveal outdoor cooking isn’t only a global practice, but probably the first example of cooking at all. For the second Open Flame event of 2014 at American Propane, 7401 N Broadway Extension, we decided to celebrate global flavors.

Thanks to our burgeoning Vietnamese population in Oklahoma City and the popularity of the restaurants and markets of our local Asian District, Asian fare has become integral to our evolving Oklahoma cuisine.

With that in mind, I invited chef Vuong Nguyen of Guernsey Park along with chefs Andon Whitehorn and Colin Stringer of the new supper club concept Nani to join me in the Cabana at American Propane.

Nguyen’s Guernsey Park, 2418 N Guernsey Ave., continues to wow crowds with its Asian fusion menu, while he and his partners commence plans to open a pair of new concepts within the next 12 months.

For last week’s affair, Nguyen prepared Grilled Duck with Vermicelli Salad, using fowl in a dish usually reserved for pork. As a surprise, he shared his signature carrot cake with house-made cream-cheese ice cream.

Whitehorn and Stringer are mixing old and new with their Nani concept, a classic supper club in the Plaza District. Nani applies Japanese and Choctaw Indian techniques and practices to local ingredients for an adventurous result.

For Open Flame, the chefs prepared miso-infused pork ribs with aromatics foraged that morning.

They used a pressure cooker to have the ribs ready for service, but said they could be cooked low and slow in a smoker or slow cooker as well. This dish was lovely to look at but aggressively delicious on the palate. Flavors were comforting and complex, a rare feat.

The night began with a tasty, simple Asian-style salad conceived by Homeland’s resident registered dietitian Alyson Dyktra and executed by Homeland’s culinary team. The simple tiny gondola of romaine boarded by a heaping spoonful of seasoned ground turkey was just right for waking up the palate.

My contribution was a cookout-friendly interpretation of the uber-popular Korean barbecue dish bulgogi. Bulgogi is traditionally served sizzling and with steamed rice and a pile of kimchee. I decided to put a deep marinade on wafer-thin rib-eye, throw it on the grill, finish it in cherry smoke and serve it over sweet Hawaiian buns with ginger-caramelized onions and kimchee ranch. Use the sweet-spicy marinade once, and you’ll never buy teriyaki in a bottle again.

Next up: Our next “Open Flame” event will be Aug. 21. Chefs Chris McCabe of A Good Egg Dining Group and Kurt Fleischfresser of Western Concepts and The Coach House will join me to take on Surf and Turf. Call 843-6868 for reservations.

Grilled Duck with Vermicelli Salad

Grilled Duck

4 duck breasts


3 thai chilies

3 cloves garlic, peeled

1 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce, (I use Flying Lion)

Wrap duck breasts tightly and allow to marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Over a hot grill, barbecue the breasts to medium, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Vermicelli Salad with sauce


1 cup water

1 clove garlic, minced

1 thai chile, minced

3/8 cup sugar

1 cup fish sauce

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup distilled vinegar

Heat the first four ingredients until sugar is dissolved. Chill. Add remaining ingredients.

Allow to sit overnight.


1 small package vermicelli noodles, prepared according to directions, strained and chilled with cold water

1/2 head of Romaine lettuce, cut chiffonade style

1 bunch fresh mint, cut chiffonade style

1 bunch green onions, julienned lengthwise

1 bunch cilantro, washed and picked

1 cup arugula

16 Wonton wrappers, julienned and fried in hot peanut oil at 325 degrees

Mix sauce with vermicelli to desired taste, add as much green as desired, slice duck breast thinly, garnish with wontons, and enjoy.

SOURCE: Chef Vuong Nguyen, Guernsey Park

Bulgogi Sliders With Ginger-Caramelized Onions and Kimchee Ranch

2 pounds ribeye steak, sliced deli-style across the grain

21/2 cups cola

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons fresh peeled and minced ginger

1 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 mirin

1 tablespoon granulated garlic powder

11/2 teaspoons granulated onion powder

1/4 toasted sesame oil

Salt and pepper

16 Hawaiian sweet rolls, split across in half

1/4 cup melted butter

Smoked gouda sliced into bun-sized squares, optional

GInger-caramelized onions

Kimchee ranch dressing

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by Dave Cathey
Food Editor
The Oklahoman's food editor, Dave Cathey, keeps his eye on culinary arts and serves up news and reviews from Oklahoma’s booming food scene.
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New concepts ahead

Chef Vuong Nguyen’s Guernsey Park, 2418 N Guernsey Ave., continues to wow crowds, while he and his partners commence plans to open a pair of new concepts within the next 12 months.

Covell Park, in Edmond, will be a sister restaurant to Guernsey Park. Nguyen said all signs point to a September opening in a space adjacent to Uptown Grocery Co. on Covell Road near Santa Fe Avenue. Nguyen said the menu will be mostly the same as the remarkable Asian fusion menu he features at Guernsey Park. He said he wanted to offer a few dishes exclusive to the new location.

When that concept is up and running, Nguyen will turn his attention to a Korean barbecue concept called Daepak K. The bilevel space in Oklahoma City has only been dedicated to blueprints at this point. It will be built in a now-vacant lot next door to Tucker’s and across the street from Backdoor BBQ on NW 23 Street.

Meanwhile, Andon Whitehorn and Colin Stringer recently signed a lease on a new space in the Plaza District. The new space isn’t open yet, but their Nani supper club concept is offering raffle dinners in the meantime. When Nani opens in its new space, guests can choose from two communal seatings per night on the open evenings.

For more information about Nani or to book a private event, go to or call 420-7569.


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