Holy Guacamole!Cover Story
April 4, 2021
Story By: Nicole Monton |
Since August 2014, Waikiki’s Búho Cocina y Cantina has been serving up an elevated take on traditional Mexican cuisine, well, from an elevated location. On the rooftop at 2250 Kalakaua Ave., the open-air establishment was the first of its kind in the state back in 2013, and continues to be a popular destination for anyone seeking a modern and sophisticated locale to dine at.
“If you travel anywhere in the U.S. or in the world for that matter, there are always amazing rooftop bars and restaurants, and they are always so much fun,” says the restaurant’s Justin Mizufuka. “We live in arguably one of the most beautiful places on Earth with some of the best weather, and we needed an open-air rooftop cantina where people can enjoy fresh Hawaiian air and great company, while sipping on craft cocktails, cold beers and eating elevated Mexican cuisine.”
Even the name has positioned the restaurant as a space where two cultures can meet and thrive in harmony. Búho translates to “owl” in Spanish, and the animal also has a place of sacrality in Hawaiian culture, as well, as a protector belonging to both heaven and earth.
It’s no wonder, then, that there’s a little bit of both cultures in each dish on the menu.
“Over the years, we have slowly transitioned to incorporate more local flare, but still have a strong emphasis on traditional Mexican cuisine,” Mizufuka adds.
This is most evident in the famous Mexican Loco Moco ($18), which is a tasty rendition on a quintessential local dish.
“This dish is a melting pot of flavors and influences, much like Hawaii’s culinary cuisine today,” he adds.
In Búho Cantina’s version, expect a 100% ground beef patty that’s seasoned with Mexican spices, as well as hayashi demiglace instead of brown gravy, and pickled red cabbage for added flavor. The acidity from the pickling helps cut the richness of the dish, while the cabbage adds a fresh crunch for a tantalizing texture in each bite. A staple at any Hawaii restaurant, a loco moco has to come with an egg on top, and this dish is no different. Look forward to a beautiful sunny side-up local egg as the crowning glory.
Other favorites include table-sharing items like chips ($6 with salsa; $9 with guac) and fresh oysters ($20), as well as Ribeye Steak ($38), Garlic Shrimp Ajillo ($18) and Taco Salad ($15).