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The Street for Kahai and Mighty Eats

Columns What's for Lunch?

April 13, 2014

Story By: Rachel Breit | Photos by: Rachel Breit

Don’t let Kahai Street Kitchen’s humble interior fool you. One look at the menu and it’s obvious there’s a gem here. The six-year-old eatery (also known as KSK) specializes in catering and also gives lunch-goers a new spin on their familiar favorites.

“We change the menu every so often to keep customers interested,” says chef David Yamamoto, who describes KSK’s cuisine as local comfort food with a twist. Yamamoto draws inspiration from around the globe, blending exotic (but not too far-fetched) flavors with old classics.

If you’re hungry for a taste from afar, grab hold of the Charbroiled Breast of Chicken Greek Wrap ($9.50). The jam-packed wrap serves up a variety of Mediterranean flavors. Marinated chicken breast, green leaf lettuce, raw shredded carrots, chopped romaine lettuce, cucumbers, red onions, tangy kalamata olives, feta cheese and oven-roasted tomatoes are drizzled with herb and olive oil vinaigrette, and packed up in a tomato tortilla. Dip the hearty handful into yogurt and cucumber-based tzatziki sauce served on the side. The charbroiled chicken and garlic, and olive oil-roasted tomatoes (roasting brings out their sweetness) add depth and contrast to the crunchy raw veggies. Call it a wrap with tossed greens or mac salad on the side.

Seafoodies will rejoice for KSK’s Ahi Cake and Crab Stuffed Soft Shell Crab Combo ($13.50), a perfect example of Yamamoto’s signature twist on things. The combo features a housemade ahi cake (deep-fried shredded ahi mixed with breadcrumbs) served on a bed of Asian ratatouille and topped with a lattice of wasabi aioli. Japanese eggplants, shiitake mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, tomato and hoisin sauce come together to create the east-meets-west ratatouille. Wait, there’s more: the ahi cake is accompanied with furikake-crusted soft shell crab that’s stuffed with even more crab, wrapped in nori and deep fried. “It’s two degrees of crab,” says the chef. Since it’s a soft shell, pop the whole thing in your mouth for an exquisite crunch. Rice, tossed greens or mac salad complete the meal.

Breakfast Club members — those who just can’t get enough breakfast even past noon — you’re in good company at KSK. Get your fix with Monte Cristo Benedict ($9.25) for lunch. Half ham and cheese sandwich, half Benedict, the dish takes stuffed French toast to the next level. A thick slice of country ham, prosciutto, Havarti and pepper jack cheese meet in the middle of white bread, which then receives a dunk in egg-batter before its cooked French-toast style. Poached eggs and a drenching of Champagne tarragon cream reduction add the finishing touch.

Look for the aforementioned specials to grace the menu in the next coming weeks. Pull up a chair and dig in, or take your gourmet plate lunch to go. If you can’t get enough of what KSK is dishing out, go big with a catering order. Just make sure to place the order four days in advance.

Kahai Street Kitchen

237 Kalihi St., Honolulu
845-0320 (Fax orders for 10 people or more to 842-4273)
Tuesday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

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