Hungry hoards seeking house-made comfort food visit Paul's Poppers for chicken katsu with house-made gravy, Portuguese sausage breakfast plates, and, on Aunty Lani's Fresh Bread Mondays, oven-fresh loaves. Diners also swarm the restaurant for?you guessed it?poppers. They're wontonlike fried dumplings whose crispy, flaky exterior hides a host of ingredients. The Original bursts with pork, jalapeno, and melted cheddar, while the Caprese clasps tomato, basil, and mozzarella. Poppers come as single-serving combos?say, eight with a side of kimchi fried rice?or in quantities of up to 75 to feed a party or a friend who only eats things in quantities of 75.
The selection of Japanese-infused dishes at Violet's Grill is expansive. Chefs can stir-fry veggies and meats, and their creative endeavors include pig?s-feet soup and a plateful of string beans and Spam. Ahi katsu, shrimp tempura, and chicken teriyaki also stand out on the menu.
According to psychologists, the color red makes people hungry. So it's no wonder that Rakuen Lounge?s combination of vibrant, crimson tabletops and artistically plated sushi consistently incites stomach rumbles. Here, the chefs design their specialty rolls with organic ingredients and a whimsical touch: their Mr. Miyagi roll arrives with soy-sauce footprints drawn beside it, a presentation style that was oohed and ahhed over by Non Stop Honolulu?s Tracy Chan. The chefs also fold fresh fish, including sashimi-grade ahi, into don-don rice bowls.
Rakuen's bartenders congregate in the center of the dining room at a square-shaped bar where they shake up signature martinis with sake and yuzu, fresh fruit juices, and other seasonal ingredients procured from local vendors, rather than intergalactic grocery stores. They also fill glasses with sake or send full bottles of it or shochu out to tables.
Glenn Chu’s earliest memories of cooking are of watching his Chinese grandmother pluck veggies from her garden in Manoa, fire up a wood-burning stove, and stir-fry the pickings in an oversized wok. While studying and working on the mainland, he learned Western cooking methods, honing his skills to a level that earned one of his recipes publication in Bon Appétit. He draws together this experience to influence his work as Executive Chef of INDIGO, where the blend of Asian, French, and Mediterranean styles is evident in the goat cheese won ton appetizer, the wasabi soy and sun-dried tomatoes on ahi steak, and the sautéed eggplant and pineapple chutney on spicy shrimp. The dining room presents accents of crimson red and high ceilings, while outdoor spaces welcome vacationing demigods.
Umeke Market combines a deli teeming with toothsome reinterpretations of local dishes with a natural market supplying organic greens, health supplements, and eco-friendly household items. Championing locally sourced ingredients with their menu of eats, deli masters hoist Mother Earth's fist in the air as they dispense dishes such as the Umeke market burger, which blankets local grass-fed beef, all-natural turkey, buffalo, or portabella mushroom in accoutrements including maui onion, sprouts, and organic ketchup ($8.95). Alternatively, smoothie selections such as the kale blend namesake leaves, banana, and honey into waves of quaffable nourishment ($3.95). The grocery lines shelves with organic greens, natural foods, and premium supplements that may boost energy, alleviate stress, and activate latent telekinetic powers.