Stepping into Ohana Kitchen, even when there’s snow on the ground outside, is a tiny bit like instantly transporting to Hawaii. There’s no over-the-top tropical decoration or theme-party like schtick. Just a light soundtrack of island music, and decor that was a tasteful nod to the aesthetic of Oahu or Maui. “Your aloha for the day” is scripted over the ordering/food assembly area and there are family-style picnic tables to sit around.
Not for nothing, but I lived in Hawaii for 4 years (I might have mentioned that before if we’ve ever met for more than 5 minutes — wouldn’t you?). Poke bowls were not a thing I indulged in because the whole point of poke is that it’s raw fish marinated in strong sauce/brine/stuff and I was never a huge of raw fish (and later discovered I was allergic to shellfish, mystery solved!). I’m not sure that I ever came across a bowl version with rice and other veggies, which sounds way more appetizing. Anyhoo, my point is that I was excited to check this spot out, not just because of the stellar reputation of the owners (the Krecklows of Flatbread fame) but the aloha atmosphere. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t find an option I could enjoy that didn’t have shellfish, or even raw fish, in it — but there were multiple such options to choose from, including two veggie signature bowls and even a chicken signature bowl, which surprised me.
I opted for the vegetarian dish, the Aloha Vegi. It contained sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, broccoli, macadamia nuts (crushed throughout, adding a really nice mild crunch), and edamame (soy beans), and Maine seaweed salad over sushi rice (you can also opt for brown rice or quinoa, and/or get it as a burrito).
This signature bowl — there are also endless build-your-own options — came with their edamame wasabi sauce, which was the MVP of the dish. There was JUST the right amount of wasabi so that it was potent and sliiiiightly sinus-opening, but not enough to make it too spicy for me (and I do not have a very high threshhold for spice). The other thing that blew me away about the sauce was the absolutely perfect even distribution of it. They must have some genius tossing method or something, but every single bite was perfectly seasoned and delightful. Yum yum yum.
This under $10 “regular” sized bowl seemed plenty big, but there’s a “large” size too, which must be pretty ginormous. And all ingredients were very fresh and their food sources are thoughtful, sustainable and local. I definitely have a new fave spot!
They also have Hawaiian ice, or shave ice, which is a cool addition. Now, if only they added spam musubi to their offerings… wow, dreams would come true!