Simple Dishes With Epic FlavorsFeatures Order of the Day
March 31, 2013
Story By: Michelle Lee | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo
“I love to cook what I like to eat,” says Brian Chan, regarding what inspires the menu at his eatery, Restaurant Epic. As the chef and owner, Chan takes pride in meticulously hand-picking each menu item. Interestingly, however, what diners find on the menu one day may vary the next time they visit.
Unlike most restaurants, Restaurant Epic typically changes its menu every four months.
“I have something I like to call ‘food ADD,'” says Chan. “My tastes and culinary interests are all over the board and are constantly evolving, so I like my menu to reflect that trend as well.”
Such versatility and adventurism are what make up Restaurant Epic’s core identity.
“There is no real one genre of food here,” explains Chan. “It is pretty much whatever I feel like my customers will enjoy and appreciate.”
That being said, in recent years, the cuisine at Restaurant Epic has incorporated many Southern-style types of cooking. “I like the flavors of Southern comfort food,” says Chan. “Its big flavors, long cooking processes and the simplicity of the cuisine are what draw me.”
While Restaurant Epic’s menu does include some Asian dishes, such as Miso Glazed Wild Salmon ($20) and Mongolian Grilled Pork ($16), much of the dishes are Southern-influenced, oftentimes with a slight unique twist.
“I don’t like to burden my plate with 20 different ingredients,” says Chan. “My goal is to have the food be simple, but tasty.”
Rather than have its diners stick to one main course the entire meal, Restaurant Epic encourages a sharing dining experience. The menu is divided into two sections: small tapas and large entree dishes.
“What we are seeing lately is a lot more sharing between diners,” says Chan. “To get the full Restaurant Epic experience, it’s ideal to order your own dish and share a few small plates or just order a variety of small plates.”
One such popular item is Escargot Poppers ($8), a small plate of sauteed escargot in garlic butter, chopped mushrooms, red wine and fresh herbs inside a baked puff pastry.
Another noteworthy dish is Berkshire Pork Belly Confit ($9), cured pork belly, which is cooked in pork fat for 12 hours and served on a bed of apple cider and bacon braised collard greens with a bourbon maple syrup drizzle.
Those with a sweet tooth will appreciate the restaurant’s many unique dessert items. One of the most popular desserts is Baked Stuffed French Toast ($8), which combines Hawaiian sweet bread with mascarpone cheese, Nutella spread, strawberries and toasted macadamia nuts.
Diners also may choose to indulge in any one of Restaurant Epic’s signature cocktails.
“We do a lot of infusions in house with unique ingredients like basil or bacon,” says Chan. Favorite drinks include Bacon Bloody Mary ($9), Sparkling Sangria ($11) and “Epic Mojito” ($7), a refreshing mix of mango rum, lime juice, muddled mint and club soda.
The restaurant also features an impressive happy hour menu, which includes a plethora of shareable items such as Kalua Pork Spring Rolls ($4), Crispy Short Rib Ravioli ($5) and Lemongrass Steamed Clams ($7).
1131 Nuuanu Ave, Honolulu
Open for lunch Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and dinner Monday – Thursday, 4:30 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 4:30 to 10 p.m.; Saturday 5 to 10 p.m.