Uahi Island Grill has some of the best plate lunches in Kailua, a city in northeast Oahu that I was lucky enough to stay in for week with family. Nani Nikcevich and chef-partner Nick “Bear” Yamada opened in September 2007. They’ve been in the current location since 2010, which features bamboo and lime green walls lined with push pin and thread art that depicts iconic Hawaiian images like sea turtles and pineapples. Uahi now operates two food trucks as well.
Since Uahi’s located in downtown Kailua, of course they don’t have the bandwidth (or space) to cook kalua pig using the traditional, labor-intensive, luau-style method, in an imu (underground oven) with kiawe (mesquite) coals and pork swaddled in banana leaves. However, I did enjoy my father’s plate lunch of juicy Kalua Pork with Kale ($9), which was oven-braised, sautéed with enlightening kale, and plated with brown rice and mac salad. [Korean slaw, kimchi and vegetables are also options.] The shredded pork shoulder had a griddled consistency on the outside and somehow still exhibited smoky flavor, which probably shouldn’t come as too big a surprise, since Uahi translates from Hawaiian as “smoke.”
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.