Today might well end up being one of the most important days in Oklahoma City's climb to the culinary mountaintop as Guernsey Park officially opens its doors in fast-surging Uptown.
Guernsey Park, 2418 N Guernsey Ave., won't be real easy to find but it'll be worth the extra frustration of figuring out that it's behind Cuppies & Joe on NW 23 St. Yes, there is retail space in that little cluster behind the aforementioned Cuppies and Bubba's Barbecue.
The reason this is such an important opening is because it will be the first attempt by a local chef to bridge the outstanding cuisine in our local Asian District to the mainstream diner. As fantastic as the pho, vermicelli bowls, and banh mi are in Oklahoma City, it'll take another half generation to get over its fear of the unknown and become a staple in the weekly diet of all Oklahomans.
After all, it took Italian food a good 40 years to find widespread acceptance in this country, and authentic Mexican food is still behind Tex-Mex in line for the hearts of diners north of the border.
Chef Vuong Nguyen, born and raised in the Asian District, is the chef at Guernsey Park, which is a multilevel space with huge windows, kitschy fixtures, wood floors and wall art on the basement-level sushi bar. It also has a patio with plenty of growth potential.
Vuong's menu is exactly what I hoped for: plenty of authentic Asian influence but interpreted through the chef's deft hands, which are guided by classic French techniques learned at The Coach House Apprenticeship Program.
Guernsey just finished a two-week soft opening in which chef Nguyen trotted out portions of his menu. Wednesday, after two days to prepare, the full menu will be available. What I've tried so far has been delicious and well appointed. I will have more complete coverage this summer once the restaurant hits its stride.
For now, check them out and be sure to give honest, polite feedback. Vuong needs your input as he builds this exciting new concept.
Lovera's Throwing a Party
If you happen to be out at Lake Eufaula or Hugo Lake during the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, you'll no doubt be thinking about tripping into Krebs/McAlester for some Italian food and lamb fries. From noon to dark on May 25, Lovera's Italian Market is having a shindig to celebrate the opening of its new cheese-drying room, which will allow cheesemonger Shawn Duffy more space to hang and age his creations. There will be a ribbon cutting at 3 p.m. and a pairings course about 4:30 p.m.
The party will include live music, Lovera's Italian sausage sandwiches, Hickory Smoked Caciocavera Cheese and Choc Beer on tap. If for no other reason, it's a good opportunity to give that sunburn a breather and get some fantastic cheese and sausage in the meantime. For more information, go online to loverasmarket.com
Pie on the Plaza
Pie Junkie opened a retail shop at 1711 NW 16 St. in the Plaza District on Friday. Cooking together for more than three years, Pie Junkie owners Darcy Schein and Leslie Coale-Mossman opened the store after establishing a strong wholesale presence in several of Oklahoma City's restaurants, including S&B Burger Joint, Pizza 23 and Coffee Slingers.
Pie Junkie specializes in Macadamia Key Lime, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Turtle Pie, Coconut Cream, Almond Joy, Kentucky Derby Pie, S'more, Tart Cherry, Apple Crumble, and BlackBerry Whiskey Buttermilk (aka Bird Dog Pie).
Store hours are 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The shop will be closed on Sundays and Mondays, but open late for special events in the Plaza District like Live on the Plaza.
Can pie happy hour be far behind? Let's hope not.