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Kicking Off the Summer at Kakaako Kitchen

Columns Order of the Day

June 9, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Summer is often symbolized by family outings, picnics and barbecues … but at Kakaako Kitchen, these summer-like celebrations can be found in one location.

Since April 2009, Kakaako Kitchen started “Picnic on the Lanai,” a family-style, picnic-like dinner on the restaurant’s patio in which the food comes out in big platters and conversations are not interrupted by buffet lines. “Picnic on the Lanai” is usually held on the last Sunday of the month, and reservations are taken in-person at the restaurant or by phone or e-mail (kakaakokitchen@gmail.com). The “Picnic on the Lanai” event for June, however, will be taking place on Father’s Day, June 17, as executive chef and restaurant owner Russell Siu prepares a special “Man’s Menu” that includes all of Dad’s favorites.

“The Father’s Day ‘Picnic on the Lanai’ is more like a barbecue for Dad,” Siu says of the menu, which features dishes such as Char Siu Baby Back Ribs and Slow Roasted Furikake Salmon with Edamame Salad. “We have a different theme for every ‘Picnic on the Lanai.’ If I do mushrooms, everything has mushrooms; last time it was Hawaiian-themed, so we had an upscale, Hawaiian-style menu.”

“Picnic on the Lanai” features a picnic-like type of atmosphere, including long tables covered with tablecloths, paper plates and cutlery. The price for the event is $35 a person, free for keiki ages 5 and under, and $17.50 for keiki ages 6 to 12. At every “Picnic on the Lanai” event, BYOB beer and wine are welcome with no corkage fee. The Father’s Day “Picnic on the Lanai” starts at 6:30 p.m., but patrons usually start arriving earlier to uncork their bottles and get the party started.

Kakaako Kitchen — which opened in 1995 on Waimanu Street and moved to its current location in Ward Centre in March 2000 — features upscale cuisine at moderate prices, using local, fresh ingredients, according to Siu. With the beginning of the summer and graduation season, he emphasizes the popularity of the eatery’s catering menu.

“Our catering menu covers pretty much everything,” Siu states. “We also do a lot of buffets. Our prices are very reasonable and I think the amount of food you get for the price is good.”

Popular items on the restaurant’s catering menu include Sauteed Mahi with Lomi Tomato and Ginger Butter Sauce, Furikake Mahi with Soy Ginger Aioli, Sweet Chili Chicken with Sweet Chili Sauce, Shichimi Seared Chicken Breast with Soy-Citrus Sauce and Kalbi Ribs, or bone-in short ribs marinated with a house-made kalbi sauce. The eatery also receives numerous orders for its vast variety of bentos. Examples of these bentos are Myna Bird Bento ($8.75 per bento), comprising Five-Spice Shoyu Chicken, Mahi Dore with Tartar Sauce, Spam, Steamed White Rice with Furikake and Kakaako Chow Mein; and the Pueo Bento ($9.50 per bento), featuring Garlic Chicken, Furikake Mahi with Soy Ginger Mayo, Teri Grilled Spam, Steamed White Rice with Furikake and Kakaako Chow Mein.

Kakaako Kitchen’s catering menu is often sought for weddings, first birthday parties, business events and home parties, according to restaurant manager Billy Bal. He encourages those planning to host parties or festivities — especially during this graduation season — to check out Kakaako Kitchen’s extensive catering menu. He notes that the eatery can be found on Facebook — if customers “like” Kakaako Kitchen’s Facebook page and show this, they can get a free treat at the restaurant.

“Summertime is always big for events like graduations and birthday parties,” Bal says. “We have a busy time coming up and we’re posting a lot more than before (on our Facebook page) because social media is a huge thing now.”

Kakaako Kitchen

  • Where
    • Ward Center, Ground Floor
    • 1200 Ala Moana Blvd.
    • Honolulu, HI 96814
  • Call
    • (808) 596-7488
  • Hours
    • Sundays
    • 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Monday – Thursday
    • 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Friday – Saturday
    • 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Website