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Kit's Spice of Life
Pupu Picks

Kit’s Spice of Life

Story By Steve Murray Photos By Leah Friel
November 6 - 12, 2011

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Appetizers seem to confuse many chefs and restaurant owners. In the rush to be the first to pair exotic flavors with old standards, they forget that food is best when it’s simplest. Kit and May Yiu, owners of Kit n Kitchen, don’t have this problem. Their entire menu is simple, fresh and delicious. Even the pupus.

  • Szechuan Spicy Clams ($9.95)
  • Garlic Grilled Beef ($8.95)
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A perfect example of their less-is-more approach is the Exotic Sandy Wings ($5.95). The wings are fried and topped with roasted garlic. That’s it. No sauce, no dry rub, no greasy residue, just juicy chicken. The simple preparation and presentation has been enough to make the dish the most popular pupu item on the menu for 10 years.

“My customers would probably walk out if I took it off the menu,” says Kit with a laugh.

Another long-time customer favorite is the Garlic Grilled Beef ($8.95). The boneless short ribs are sliced and served medium rare and topped with a chimichurri sauce — an Argentinian salsa made with olive oil, parsley, garlic and mild peppers. The beef is tender and juicy, and the chimichurri sauce adds a perfect splash of freshness and seasoning to the dish.

The Grilled Beef Tongue ($8.95) is blanched and grilled to preserve tenderness and served with a garlic shoyu sauce. If you haven’t tried it, beef tongue is incredibly soft with a mild flavor that goes well with all manner of dipping sauce or simple salt and pepper.

Kit n Kitchen is offering two new menu items that are definitely worth trying. The Calamari Risotto Pocket ($9.95) is baked in wine and tomato sauce. The stuffing, a vegetable and tomato risotto with Parmesan cheese, is garden fresh and surprisingly light. For those looking for an appetizer with a kick, the Szechuan Spicy Clams ($9.95) may be just what you are looking for. As Kit says, “it’s not sweat pouring down your face hot, but it will make your lips tingle.” Wherever your individual heat-index is set, (mine is right around preschooler) you’ll enjoy the clean, spicy garlic flavor. Regular customers also have discovered that the sauce is great on pasta, so take home the extra if you haven’t already sopped it up with the garlic toast that comes with the dish.

If the clams haven’t satisfied your craving for dipping sauces, the garlic herb butter sauce that comes with the Escargot ($5.95) just might do the trick.

The escargot is soft, buttery and slightly salty. In other words, it’s delicious.

People don’t often think about having soup as an appetizer, and that would be a mistake at Kit n Kitchen. Diners have a choice of eight soups that run the gamut from Russian Ox Soup ($4.95) to Mediterranean Veggie Soup ($4.95). I had the Mushroom Soup ($3.50) with a French-Style Puff Pastry ($1.95 extra), and walked away satisfied yet ready for another bowl. Unlike a lot of cream-based soups, Kit’s is light, and the pastry just adds to the enjoyment of a simple food done right. But that’s what they do. Gourmet food without pretension. That’s true even with the Osso Bucco that takes a day to make. But we’ll leave that for another section. Osso Bucco, you know?

Kit n Kitchen

  • Where
    • 1010 University Ave., B3
  • Call
    • (808) 942-7622
  • Hours
    • Open daily
    • 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. (Breakfast)
    • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Lunch)
    • 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. (Dinner)
  • Website