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Chew On This

Here Comes the Summer

By Rachel Breit Photos By Rachel Breit
May 12, 2013

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Synonymous with summer and blushing with deep red, now is the time for strawberries. And Sean Santiago, general manager at Gyu-Kaku in Windward Mall, is excited to share them with you in the seasonal Homemade Strawberry Cream Pie ($6.50).

“I’ve been waiting all year to bring it back,” says Santiago.

The non-baked pie has a hand-pressed graham cracker crust filled with cream cheese, creme fraise and lemon juice and zest, and a topping of fresh strawberry slices. For the finishing touch: a homemade balsamic caramel. “We just do a little bit of a drizzle to balance out the tartness of the lemon and the strawberries,” explains Santiago. “I wish we could put it on everything.”

After grilling up and devouring perfect bites of marinated yakiniku-style meats and vegetables, finishing with the Strawberry Cream Pie will take you to cloud nine.

“It’s a nice, cool, clean compliment to the meal because it does use fresh fruit, and when you do taste it there’s a lot of lemon juice and lemon zest and it just comes right off the tongue,” says Santiago.

And you can take his word for it.

“Between myself and the ownership group, we’ve got about 45 years of restaurant experience all put together,” he adds. So Santiago knows how you’d like to end your meal. He and the other managers are the only staff who make the pies fresh. The recipe is a replication of (and improvement upon) a similar treat Gyu-Kaku’s owner delighted in while on vacation.

Leave room and experience the ying-yang balance achieved in this slice. It’s as nice as pie. The slight crunch of the crust holds up against the fluffy creaminess of the filling. Tangy lemon and creme fraise entice when paired with sweet cream cheese and strawberries. The balsamic vinegar, mellowed with caramel, adds complexity and spice to the whole.

“You’d have a hard time sharing it, because you’d probably want to eat most of it,” says Santiago. In fact, the pie is so well received, Gyu-Kaku customers have asked to purchase entire pans to take to parties.

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

46-056 Kamehameha Hwy. #F1, Kaneohe
744-2157
Open daily, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.