Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Eating local at Sushi ii
Nadine Kam photos
Coconut-crusted mahimahi was beautifully crispy on the outside, flaky and tender on the inside, drizzled with mango sauce and served with kalua pork on fried paiai, a thick, near waterless pounded taro, with barbecue sauce. You can see I was so anxious to bite into the pork and paiai that I ruined it before snapping this photo.
Kanu Hawai'i’s third annual Eat Local Challenge is underway, asking island residents to join together in helping to build a more sustainable, secure and healthy local food system. Part of their mission is to raise awareness of eating local every September. It's definitely something easier said than done for those of us who have trouble simply planning what to eat from day to day, much less contemplating how to keep it all local.
Restaurateurs on four islands are helping to make it easier by offering Eat Local specials through the end of the month. You can find the complete list of restaurants and meal offers at http://www.kanuhawaii.org/challenge/partners/?id=16.
In addition, during Yelp Eats Local week through Sept. 25, 11 restaurants will donate a portion of the proceeds from their special, locally sourced menu items to Kanu Hawaii. The participating restaurants are: Brasserie Du Vin, Chai's Island Bistro, He‘eia Kea Pier, Hula Grill Waikiki, J.J. Dolan's, Pah Ke's Chinese Restaurant, SOUL, Stage Restaurant, Sushi ii, Thirtyninehotel, and Tiki's Grill & Bar.
A $10 donation is made to Kanu Hawaii for every Yelper that spends at least $30 when they visit during the week. (Let servers know you are participating and drop your receipts in a ballot box provided.)
To get a taste of what eating local can be, about a dozen Yelp Elites and media descended on Sushi ii Sept. 19 for a remarkable and memorable meal. The tiny gem of a restaurant is deep within Samsung Plaza on Ke'eaumoku Street, and was chosen for what Yelp community manager describes as its "Yelp-y qualities."
That is, she said is something "so amazing and unexpected, off the beaten track" and of course, that possesses necessary "wow factor."I went in expecting sushi, but what the Sushi ii is offering for the challenge is a prix fixe menu for about $45, featuring a 100 percent locally grown entree, salad, appetizer and/or dessert.
Sushi chef/owner Garrett Wong and Sabrina Saiki-Mita did a great job with a three-course menu that surprised and delighted with every course, something all the restaurants must do to help Kanu Hawai'i succeed.
Founded in 2007, the nonprofit's mission is to encourage and support environmental and social change. Its 14,000 members make individual commitments as simple as I will take shorter showers or I will buy local. To make a commitment, go to www.kanuhawaii.org.