Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Artizen by MWRestaurant Insider
January 30, 2022
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
ANNE LEE speaks with Artizen by MW owners WADE UEOKA AND MICHELLE KARR-UEOKA
There are new items at Artizen by MW! (Not brand new creations, but making its debut on the Artizen menu from MW Restaurant’s tried-and-true favorites.) It will be one year this Valentine’s Day that chefs Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka relocated to Velocity Honolulu during the pandemic, and they are still going strong. The sweet and savory dynamic duo prepared some dishes for me to sample as we talked about what’s new and what guests can look forward to. And if you want to order your valentine a cake, Michelle is taking preorders. Happy anniversary to MW Restaurant and Artizen!
AL: This was the first time that I can remember that the restaurant was closed for a week, what was the reason behind that?
WU: Our staff has been working nonstop and the holidays were even busier. We wanted to give our team time to rest, and it gave Michelle and I a chance to reflect and refresh our menu. It’s a new year, so we wanted a new menu. Our goal is to support local farmers and local food cultures here in Hawaii, and with accessibility to new farmers that are growing new products, we wanted to incorporate fun and creative options for our guests to enjoy and bringing back some of our old MW favorites to add to the Artizen menu.
AL: What are the new menu items that you have prepared?
WU: One of the popular items we brought back is our Pipikaula Burger ($18), which is a beef burger patty with cheese, shredded pipikaula on top, pickled onions, spicy mayo, lettuce and tomato. For the first time, we are offering French fries on the side. We also brought back the Twice Cooked Pork Tonkatsu ($14). I make this into roast pork first, then we slice it and then broil it, and make it into tonkatsu. We also prepared the Kabayaki Unagi Don ($25) glazed with kabayaki sauce with local pickled vegetables and white or brown rice. There are a few salads we added: Asian Slaw ($10) has crispy won ton, roasted peanuts and soy wasabi vinaigrette; Grilled Vegetable Salad ($12) has as combination of produce from Ho Farms, MAO Farms and Mountain View Farm, and we adjust the salad based on what produce that they have. This one has eggplant, tomato, heart of palm, zucchini, onion and Parmesan cheese in a garlic balsamic dressing.
AL: What types of desserts did you add to the menu?
MKU: We decided to feature a different array of options each month. This gives our guests a chance to try all of the options. This month’s five options will be available until Valentine’s Day: Yuzu Lemon Meringue Cheesecake ($6.50) with homemade graham crackers, yuzu curd and meringue; MW Buttermilk Chocolate Cake ($6) with chocolate dobash and chocolate crunch; Old Fashioned Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake ($6) with Laie cream cheese frosting and white chocolate crunch; Banoffee Opera Cake ($6) with peanut butter butterscotch ganache, coffee buttercream and almond cake chocolate crunch; and Valrhona Chocolate Cream Pie ($6.50) made with chocolate pudding, Hawaiian salt chocolate whip cream and cacao nibs.
This month, we will also offer chewy chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, sweet and salty party mix, banana bread and our staple MW Chocolate Cake.
AL: Artizen was and continues to be a big resource for take out for many people during the pandemic, now with more requests for dine in, what can guests expect?
WU: We are working on redesigning the layout of the dining space, and we offer outside dining. We also have our happy hour for dine-in only. All wines by the glass are $8, and we have beer on tap (right now it’s Orion). The menu is extensive. We have a Spinach & Mushroom Dip ($6) served with wonton chips, Chicken Wings with Fried Mochi ($6), Okonomiyaki Tater Tots ($6), Togorashi Popcorn ($6), Fried Baby Tako ($9), Mountain View Farm Kalua Pork Bao Buns ($9) and Spicy Ahi Meatballs ($9).
AL: Your mission is to really support local farms and farmers. What about the local meats?
WU: We get two whole animals every week from David Wong at MountainView Farm, and we use every part of the pig. The meat is so moist and flavorful.
AL: Will you be able to offer cakes for purchase for customers?
MKU:Yes, we are offering whole cake options in standard or premium cake flavors. Six inches (feeds 6-8), 8 inches (8-16 people) and 10-inch rounds (16-24 people).
Standard cake flavors are Valrhona Buttermilk Chocolate Cake, Lemon Yuzu Crunch, Lilikoi Chiffon or Coconut Chiffon ($55, 6 inches; $65; 8 inches; $80; 10 inches).
Premium cake flavors are Strawberry Shortcake, Carrot Cake or Rainbow Cake ($80, 6 inches; $100, 8 inches; $130, 10 inches). We ask that guests preorder 48 hours in advance from pickup date.
AL: Anything else you want to share?
WU: We have a retail concept where people can order full bottles of spirits and wines. One benefit to this is the availability. After we close, there isn’t a store near by within walking distance, so we wanted to make it accessible. We are discussing bringing back our high tea and we are looking at offering it at both MW and Artizen.