(Aug. 2, 2013) A new sushi, noodle and Asian food joint opened at 45th Street on July 17, bringing new variety to Ocean City dining.
The Drunken Noodle offers sushi, Vietnamese food, flavored sakes and of course, its signature drunken noodle dish.
“We try to stick to a little bit of everything” on the menu, said General Manager Jeff Burton.
The 60-seat restaurant was once an overflow area for outdoor dining at the 45th Street Taphouse Bar & Grille. Burton wanted to make better use of the room without having to install a massive kitchen in the intimate space, he said. He also wanted to offer something different from what diners can find at Taphouse and OC Steamers, all part of the 45th Street complex.
“I had a gentleman from New York who said, ‘What this place really needs is a great sake bar,’” Burton said, and from there, the concept for the Drunken Noodle was born.
Early this year, Burton spent much time at sake dinners and ate what he can only describe as “a lot of sushi” piecing together the restaurant. He brainstormed the layout with the owners of the 45th Street Sunsations and 45th Street complex, the Sibony family.
“They have the great retail experience, and I have the restaurant experience,” Burton said. He’s spent 25 years as an executive chef and 10 years as a restaurant consultant.
With a concept and a layout in mind, all that was left was to find a sushi chef. He called in Brook Lamar, a local with 27 years of kitchen experience and a stellar reputation in Ocean City.
“Brook finally put the rest of the pieces together for me,” Burton said. “I didn’t have the sushi experience that he has.”
The idea was to keep the menu small, but to offer dishes unique among Ocean City dining.
Some of the Drunken Noodle’s signature dishes are its Saltwater Cowboy sushi — a jumbo lump crab roll wrapped in seared beef — sliders with nori, and its namesake noodle dish.
Drunken noodles don’t actually contain alcohol, Lamar explained, but are meant to be so spicy they get the diner drunk by the end of the dish.
“We’re the only noodle house around,” he said.
The Drunken Noodle also features more than 20 sakes, including flavored sakes, and plans to expand its drink menu to include sake-ritas and sake sangria.
The most expensive dish on the menu is $12 and carryout is available.
In about a week, the Drunken Noodle will expand into its upstairs lounge, offering views of the bay. The lounge will feature low-lying couches and drinks made right at diners’ tables.
The restaurant plans to add to its staff of seven once it moves into the upstairs space.
“It’s been great so far,” Burton said.
“I’ve already got some people who are here almost every day,” Lamar said.
The Drunken Noodle is located in the complex on 45th Street bayside that includes Sunsations, Taphouse Bar & Grille and OC Steamers. The signage isn’t complete yet, so look for it tucked in the back right corner by Taphouse.
The Drunken Noodle is open Tuesday through Thursday, 4-10 p.m. and Friday through Sunday, 4-11 p.m.