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Order of the Day

It’s Always Better Made From Scratch

By Michelle Lee Photos By Anthony Consillio
August 3, 2014

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As one of the area’s go-to destinations for lunch and dinner, Honolulu’s Chinatown became an even bigger food mecca last month with the opening of Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop, a Southern-inspired brunch bistro.

“Since I love to cook and eat breakfast foods, opening a brunch spot felt very natural to me,” says Brian Chan, the restaurant’s owner and executive chef, who also co-owns Restaurant Epic a couple blocks down. “I am a big fan of simple, rustic cuisine, so that theme is very strong throughout my menu.”

To support the local farms that source the restaurant’s ingredients, Scratch Kitchen’s menu rotates quarterly, depending on what ingredients are in season. “Having this kind of flexibility allows our food to be as fresh as possible,” explains Chan. “It also empowers me as a chef to be creative and cook what I truly want to cook.”

This season, diners can expect to enjoy the simple but layered flavors of classic, Southern-inspired cuisine elevated with hints of Mexican and Latin influences. The bistro already has received much praise for its BLT Benny ($12), an English muffin version of the famous BLT sandwich enhanced with crispy bacon, local tomatoes, arugula and poached eggs underneath a peppered Hollandaise sauce.

For a meatier option, Chan recommends Calentado ($14), a generous portion of house-rubbed beef short rib over sofrito rice, fried eggs, jalapeno tempura and Chimichurri sauce. “This is our take on a loco moco,” says Chan. “We slow-cook the short rib for about 12 hours in a special house seasoning with beer to get the beef just right.”

In addition to savory comfort food, the restaurant also specializes in unique baked goods, which rotate daily and include treats such as chocolate chip bacon cookies, brown sugar and cinnamon peach scones, and strawberry jelly donuts. Customers also can order sweet favorites directly from the menu, including The Sivle (Elvis spelled backward, $10), a banana-bread French toast served with praline bacon, salted peanut gelato and caramelized bananas.

With a couple months left of summer, Chan looks forward to satisfying his craving for high-quality, Southern comfort food. “At the end of the day, I cook for me and the ones I love. There is nothing more gratifying than that.”

Scratch Kitchen currently is BYOB and will remain so until the restaurant receives its liquor license in early September.

Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop

1030 Smith St., Honolulu
536-1669
Open for brunch Tuesday-Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner Thursday–Saturday, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
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