Appetizers Make Their Mark at M NightclubColumns Pupu Picks
December 2, 2012
Story By: Steve Murray | Photos by: Nathalie Walker
Dan Punch, general manager at M Nightlclub, wants people to know that the bright and modern night spot serves food as good as its martinis. If diners don’t know it yet, they will. The food, produced by executive chef Kawika Cahill, head chef Cary Bostick and chef Phil Cater, is worthy of any white tablecloth eatery, and the pupus are an extension of that careful food preparation.
As a proud carnivore — OK, technically an omnivore — I felt compelled to stalk and devour Grilled Sliced Garlic Ribeye Steak (market price). Good choice. The tender ribeye is served on a sizzling platter of sauteed onions and is topped with garlic butter and a kabiyaki sauce. The result is a succulent serving of beef that is made to order and crazy juicy. It’s even slightly sweet, a benefit from the kabiyaki sauce and onion.
The second stop on the meat lover’s tour through the appetizer menu is Char Broiled Kalbi Short Ribs (market price). Immediately unfriend anyone who says there is no need to double up on the protein. The short ribs are as different from the ribeye as you can imagine. They share similarities in that both are tender, juicy and will have you licking your fingers like a child, but the ribs are tangy and smoky. Much of the flavor comes from the two-day marinade that each piece goes through before being grilled. Served with balls of white rice and kimchee, you don’t need anything else — except for maybe Seared Togarashi Ahi Tacos ($10, $5 happy hour). Carnivores are fish lovers, too.
Sashimi-grade ahi is grilled quick to maintain its buttery interior, sliced thin and served in a fried wonton shell. Topped with a wasabi aioli, white sesame seeds, a drizzle of sweet shoyu and sprouts, the mini tacos are crunchy, sweet, minty, spicy and just plain delicious.
One final dish worth ordering four or five times is Blue Crabcakes ($12). The fresh crab is rolled in panko, deep fried and served with every crab’s best friend, a lobster sauce made from tomato, white wine, ginger, black sesame seeds and coconut milk. Topped with tiny, thin curls of daikon and carrots, and the dish looks as good as it tastes. Just as any crabcake should be, the golden brown patties are crispy and juicy without being oily. And the sauce? Well, that’s just another layer of goodness that has to be tried to be appreciated.
500 Ala Moana Blvd.
Tuesday-Friday, 4:30-8 p.m. (happy hour)
Tuesday-Thursday, 4:30 p.m.-midnight
Fridays, 4:30 p.m.-4 a.m.
Saturdays, 8 p.m.-4 a.m.
Closed Sundays and Mondays for private events.