Aug 4, 2023 - Food and Drink

Soft Opening: Slurp and Emerald Lounge in Church Hill

Ramen and frozen cocktails, anyone? Photos: Ned Oliver/Axios

👋 Ned here, eating ramen and drinking frozen cocktails.

What's happening: The unlikely pairing comes courtesy of Church Hill's newest restaurants, Slurp Ramen and The Emerald Lounge.

  • The two concepts, both spearheaded by the team behind Jasper in Carytown, are in the same building and share a kitchen, though they have separate dining areas and very different vibes.

I started at Slurp for dinner, where I ordered at the counter before being handed a number and seating myself. Food started coming out almost instantly.

  • It was very hot outside, so I opted for two cold appetizers, tofu skins ($7) and a sesame cucumber salad ($4). They were both delightful: The tofu skins had a nice crunch owing to the chili crisp topping, and the cucumber had a great herbal flavor.
Tofu skin and cucumber salad. Photo: Ned Oliver/Axios

The ramen itself was pretty standard. I went with the Shoyu bowl ($14) at the suggestion of my server, who reasoned that its clean, soy sauce-forward broth was a good option given the weather.

  • The lighter flavor was indeed perfect, but the best part of the bowl was easily the perfectly jammy soy-marinated egg.

I closed out the night with frozen drinks at Emerald Lounge.

  • The restaurants are so different that moving directly from one to the other feels like a culture shock.
  • In contrast to the sparser, geometric aesthetic of Slurp, Emerald Lounge has a lush decor, the staff is all clad in Hawaiian shirts, and the bar is packed with tiki kitsch and crazy straws.
Inside Emerald Lounge. Photo: Ned Oliver/Axios

I went straight for the frozen cocktails ($11) served out of a slushy machine behind the bar (because I'm a sucker for that kind of thing).

  • The piña colada was sweet, creamy and strong, while the strawberry daiquiri was a little on the sour side for my taste.

Of note: You can order a half and half, which, after tasting both separately, strikes me as a great option.

Also of note: The menu is limited, but I can vouch for the Spam Cubano Sliders ($8) as a tasty snack.

The bottom line: I'd happily go back to both places.

  • But I'm especially interested in delving beyond the frozen cocktails at Emerald after watching a lot of neat looking drinks coming out of the bar.

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