Guernsey Park: Sophisticated Asian with a Modern Twist
Everything about Guernsey Park screams sophistication — from its modern decor to its simple-looking yet surprisingly complex Asian-inspired food. There is something so refreshing about a restaurant (and chef) that seems to just be doing what they love and not over thinking it. The decor is clean and modern, giving the restaurant an edge in the otherwise slightly funky Uptown 23rd area. But it just works.
Chef Vuong Nguyen, who grew up in Oklahoma City’s Asian District and was classically trained at the well-known The Coach House Apprenticeship Program, walks around the restaurant getting feedback and thanking people for coming in. Not enough restaurants make that effort in the early days. He is genuine about it — he actually cares if you had a good meal. And that love is shown in his food.
We started with the chicken lollipops appetizer ($7 – see a pic), which are little drumsticks served up like candy. Much of the Asian fusion side of the food is seen in the sauces, and this Thai chili gastrique didn’t disappoint. There are unique offerings on the menu — like stuffed chicken wings and a scotch egg — but when trying a new restaurant in its early days I like to go simple. If they can get chicken right, the likelihood of other more complex dishes being good exponentially increases. Except now I don’t think I will ever get anything but the Gingered Chicken ($13 – see a pic) again. It might be one of the best chicken dishes I have had in OKC. The skin was crispy and the meat was tender and juicy. The dish had an Asian flavor punch with simple but perfectly cooked jasmine rice layered on fresh Moroccan green beans and a ginger jus. The portion was small but filling without being too much. The dish was on the lower end of the dinner menu price-wise and was well worth the money.
My husband had the duck breast ($16 – see a pic), which he thought was seasoned well and cooked perfectly, but was less excited about the smaller portion size. It was served on a bed of arugula-quinoa salad, but the dish could really use a side or something to make it a little more substantial.
The most amazing part of the meal was the dessert. This unique twist on carrot cake ($8) put the cream cheese “icing” flavor into the ice cream on top of the carrot cake piece. It tasted just like the original, but the texture differences were stark and made it unlike any dessert I had ever had. These unique touches are what you can expect at Guernsey Park and from chef Nguyen.
Lunch is a little more casual with sushi, sandwich and salad options, but the ingredients are just as fresh and unique. It is definitely a more expensive place overall with lunch running in the $7-$14 range and dinner $11-$20 or so. But I felt like the price for the quality of food was fair and I will be back soon (especially once they get their liquor license and I can get a glass of wine with the incredible food). I respect a restaurant and chef that creates a true experience for its diners and I am willing to pay a little more for it.
I have heard amazing things about the oxtail ravioli and the Korean cowboy — a grilled ribeye with kimchi slaw and bulgogi ketchup — Oklahoma with an Asian twist through and through. What have you had at Guernsey Park and what else do you recommend?
More Photos from Guernsey Park
Photos courtesy Nicole McDaniel Photography