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Food & Dining // Table Talk
Jo McGarry

McCully Shopping Center A Dining Haven

A sampler from Kahai Street Kitchen | Jo McGarry photo

McCully Shopping Center always has had more than its fair share of excellent restaurants. Celebrating its diversity and dozens of different culinary styles, the center is holding its annual prize giveaway this month where customers are encourage to taste A World of Cuisines.

The promotion started seven years ago as a way to highlight the merchants at the center, and has turned into a popular annual promotion that has sent winners to China, New York, Japan, Las Vegas and Canada.

Among the restaurants located on two floors at the center, you’ll find some of the city’s best Pad Thai at Phuket Thai; warming, fragrant broths at Hot Pot Heaven; late-night lobster deals at famous Fook Yuen, and manapua, doughnuts and plate lunches at Regal Diner. Newest on the McCully dining scene are restaurants Yotekko Ya, a Japanese restaurant serving signature Paitan (try the Tabetko Paitan ramen if you’re a fan of kim chee in your creamy broth), and Neco Grill and Bar. Neco is so new, it’s barely made it onto the foodie radar screen, but I don’t think it will be long until reviewers are raving about this unpretentious little spot (formerly Bistro A Un). Jellyfish and tako wasabi are specialties of the house.

This year the winners of A World of Cuisines will fly to Lanai for a three-day, two-night getaway at the Four Seasons Resort (where the food is also pretty good).

One tip if you’re hungry and headed to the busy shopping center for lunch or dinner: Make extra time to find a parking spot.

More information on the restaurants and giveaway: mccullysc.com * If you’re a fan of plate lunch but also appreciate fine dining flair, there’s a gem of a restaurant in Kalihi that is already so busy it really doesn’t need any more publicity.

Kahai Street Kitchen is the little catering company that could. With a tiny kitchen and an even smaller space for customers to eat, the kitchen was literally forced to open its doors to the public because passing customers, intrigued by the smells coming from the kitchen, would knock on the door and ask if they could buy some food.

Today, seven years into a business that is thriving, Kahai Street Kitchen continues to be open for only two hours a day to the public, often selling out of daily specials as soon as it opens.

Those in the know fax or call their orders as soon as the daily menu appears online, but if you’re in the neighborhood Tuesday through Friday, it’s worth dropping in to see what’s cooking. I’ve seen the Friday menu go online and be completely sold out in minutes, so be early for lunch.

Among the most popular dishes is the Kahai Street Ultimate Burger, a mixture of a club sandwich and a gourmet burger with a half pound of freshly ground USDA chuck beef charbroiled and then served with crisp bacon slices, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Topped with deep fried crispy Maui onions and a house-made thousand island Dijon dressing, the burger is served with housemade sweet potato fries.

Garlic Chicken Mozzarella Bake, Boneless Pork Chop Katsu, Hibachi Chicken and Furikake Crusted Fresh Fish are just a few of the dozens of specialties. Tag team your pickups though – there’s limited parking in the neighborhood. You’ll find the daily menus and catering information at www.kahaistreet-kitchen.com

Happy eating!

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