Your downtown dining destination

Digest Now Plating

June 14, 2015

Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Missy Romero

Like the aging barrels after which it is named, Square Barrels brings a unique take to the food and beverage realm in the heart of downtown Honolulu.

Square barrels are rare, yet perfect for aging everything from beer and wine to whisky — all of which can be coupled with the thoughtfully crafted cuisine served for breakfast, lunch and dinner at Square Barrels.

The husband-and-wife ownership team of Hideo and Grace Simon opened the doors to Square Barrels three months ago at 1001 Bishop St. The restaurant offers an open, inviting dining area with a Northern California surf-town vibe coupled with a beautiful wood-accented bar crafted by Blue Star Hawaii. With all the hustle and bustle created by the businesses and traffic on adjacent Bishop and Alakea streets, Square Barrels serves as a welcoming oasis with 25 craft beers on tap alongside an extensive wine list.

“We’re not doing anything too crazy, but we make sure to incorporate fresh, local products, including our beef that we grind fresh daily,” says Noah Blair, executive chef at Square Barrels. “We incorporate hormone-free Molokai beef as well as fresh produce from Molokai, so I’m able to build specials based on what’s readily available.”

Diners discover Square Barrels’ freshly-ground beef in the Drive-Thru Burger ($9, add additional patties for $2.50 each) as the grass-fed burger is dressed with fried caper mayo on a toasted sesame bun. CB Burger ($14) features Mr. Au’s smoked pork house-ground patty between two layers of fresh ground beef, all dressed with wine-braised sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and house-made McGrath sauce. All burgers are served with shoestring fries (fried in pig fat or rice bran oil) and may be customized with premium cheeses, and of course bacon, for a small charge.

Blair notes that the Drive-Thru Burger pairs well with Anchor Steam Beer ($6 for 14-ounce glass), while the CB Burger is accompanied perfectly with Classique ($10 for 12 ounces), a farmhouse ale crafted in Baltimore, Maryland.

Square Barrels offers a diverse menu that also includes pastas the likes of Ala Minute Alfredo ($15, add $5 for chicken or shrimp). The dish features butter, shallots, garlic and nutmeg deglazed with white wine reduced with cream and finished with grated Grana Padano cheese tossed with fettuccini. Blair recommends Fettuccini Funghi ($16) as well, a composition including a duxelle of butter, garlic, onions, port, button and Portobello mushrooms topped with sauteed crimini caps and shaved Parmesan cheese.

“Simple and fresh is the way to go — it’s hard to mess up simple, tasty ingredients,” Bair says.

Square Barrels

1001 Bishop St., Downtown
Monday through Saturday, Breakfast (8-11 a.m.), Lunch and Dinner (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.), closed Sunday.
Note: Happy hour specials are available daily from 3-5:30 p.m. and late night happy hour deals can be enjoyed from 8 p.m. to closing.

Honolulu, HI 96813

Ilima Awards
Hawaii's Best