Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Scratch Kitchen and Meatery

Restaurant Insider

March 24, 2019

Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

Scratch Kitchen and Meatery chef and owner Brian Chan, left, Anne Lee and DJ Jimmy Taco get ready to dig in to Jimmy Taco’s Carnitas & Waffle ($14) and Marsala Roasted Shrooms ($14).

ANNE LEE Speaks with chef and owner BRIAN CHAN

Immerse yourself in the comforts of Scratch Kitchen and Meatery where founder and head chef Brian Chan offers a unique concept in Honolulu’s dining scene. Presenting soul food with Asian flair, Chan is proud to be the only restaurant to offer this type of eating experience.

The restaurant’s original location opened in Chinatown in the winter of 2014 but has since found a new home at South Shore Market in Kakaako. With its new location, Scratch has gained a slew of fans with dishes that are tasty, filling and surely Instagram-worthy.

Check it out for “brekky, lunchy and dinner” and dig in to dishes like Cuban Eggs Benny for breakfast, featuring pork belly, smoked bacon, house pickles, Swiss cheese, soft eggs, French bread, hollandaise and taters. Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with chickpeas, chipotle crema, queso fresco and greens are great for lunch, while Chicken N’ Waffles make for a satisfying dinner.

Jimmy Taco’s Carnitas & Waffle

Speaking of waffles, don your bibs on Monday, March 25, for National Waffle Day. To honor this glorious “holiday,” Chan shares the story behind his waffle special and the restaurant.

AL: What would you say Scratch brings to the Hawaii food scene?

BC: Scratch offers food that diners cannot find anywhere in Hawaii; it is not traditional Hawaii cuisine. We guarantee everyone will have a great time with our innovative cocktails and unique food.

AL: What are some of the restaurant’s specialties or customer favorites?

BC: ‘Milk N’ Cereal’ Pancakes, Haupia Creme Brulee French Toast and Shrimp N’ Grits.

AL: Where did you learn how to cook?

BC: I learned how to cook primarily from my mother — she is the owner of Little Village Noodle House. I learned the basics from culinary school, at Culinary Institute of the Pacific. All of my instructors were amazing, especially Alan Tsuchiyama.

AL: How did you and DJ Jimmy Taco collaborate and create Jimmy Taco’s Carnitas & Waffle special?

BC: Jimmy and I were having drinks after work after Taco Tuesday, and there were extra carnitas left over and waffles were being made in front of us. We had a great idea of putting the carnitas on the waffles and we wanted to test to see which salsa would be better, the red or the green.

The waffle batter is made with jalapenos and cheddar cheese. We add the carnitas on top of the waffles, then add maple syrup, green salsa, garnish with avocados, red onion and cilantro. If customers want to add an egg on top, we can do that for an additional charge.

AL: If you had to choose one thing to eat every day for an entire year, what would it be and why?

BC: Hands down, burritos — carnitas, of course, to be specific.

Marsala Roasted Shrooms

Marsala Roasted Shrooms

Marsala mushroom grits:

• 1T olive oil
• 1/4c yellow onions, sliced
• 1c mixed mushrooms (we use crimini, hon shimeji and Alii)
• 1T garlic, minced
• 2T Marsala, sweet
• 1/4c vegetable stock, low sodium
• 1T butter, unsalted
• 1T heavy cream
• Salt and pepper, to taste

Additional components:

• Cheddar grits (palmetto farms)
• Baby arugula
• Parmesan
• White truffle oil


• Heat oil in skillet.
• Add onions, cook until translucent.
• Add mushrooms, cook until slightly tender.
• Add garlic, cook until golden and fragrant.
• Deglaze pan with Marsala. Vigorously shake the skillet and scrape everything off the bottom.
• Add vegetable stock and reduce by half.
• Add heavy cream and reduce by half.
• Add butter and stir until incorporated.
• Season to taste.

Honolulu, HI 96814

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best