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Pupu Picks
Pupu Picks

Gyu-Kaku Goes Big on Appetizers

By Steve Murray Photos By Nathalie Walker
November 25, 2012

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Crispy Smoked Pork Tacos ($4.25, $3.75 happy hour)

Locating a good place for pupus is a mission worth taking part. How you decide which to patron is up to you and recommendations can come from anywhere. Even here, of all places. One sure way to eliminate some of the guess work is to follow the crowds. It’s not scientific, but it works. One such popular place is Gyu-Kaku at Windward Mall, which has seen a rise of 25 percent in customers from last year. The Japanese restaurant with a local flair offers up a myriad of appetizers, or main entrees used as appetizers, to keep the first-time diner or experienced eater satisfied.

A good way to start is with Crispy Smoked Pork Tacos ($4.25, $3.75 happy hour). The pork is slow smoked daily and placd into fried won ton skins. The mini Asian taco is then layered with a yuzu pico de gallo and topped with a misoyaki reduction sauce.

If you’re not very familiar with Japanese cuisine, but still need something tasty and quick, Garlic Chicken Wings ($8.95) may be just want you want. Tender wings are lightly dusted in flour and deep-fried till crispy. The bird is then tossed with a Korean/Thai sauce that has a tangy, garlic flavor with just a hint of heat.

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake ($8.95)

There is not likely four better words in the world of pupus than Kobe Trip Tip Steak ($13.95, $11.95 happy hour). Four ounces of hand-sliced Kobe beef is served ready to grill. A quick minute on both sides results in the soft, tender appetizer that just drips with flavor. Add the coarse Japanese sea salt and enjoy.

With a nod to the holidays and the recognition that pupus can easily be found on the dessert menu, Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake ($8.95) is a good way to literally get your cake and eat it too. The shareable bundt cake is topped with ginger spiced whipped cream and served with a caramel swirl ice cream created by Tropolicious just for the occassion. Since it is the holiday season, treat yourself — begin with the cake.

Gyu-Kaku

46-056 Kamehameha Hwy. #F1, Kaneohe
744.2157
Open daily at 11 a.m., last dinner seating at 11 p.m.
Monday through Thursday and midnight Friday and Saturday