24 Perfect Pupu

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For many people, pupu are the best part of the meal. To find stellar pupu for you, we taste-tested them statewide—here are the yummiest.

 

Start your meal off with the summery flavors of Brasserie Du Vin's grilled tiger shrimp salad.

Photo by Monte Costa

OAHU

 

1. VEGETABLE SAMOSA

Bombay Indian Restaurant, 1776 Ala Moana Blvd., Discovery Bay Center, 942-3990.

Like getting an egg roll at a Chinese restaurant, ordering a vegetable samosa at an Indian restaurant is a given. At Bombay, the samosa ($6.95) has a crispy, thick crust folded and crimped into a perfect pyramid that encloses the filling. After cracking through the flaky crust, you’ll find a tasty, curry-spiced mixture of mashed potatoes and peas. The dense filling is moist and tender, making it soft on your palate while also jolting you with a  distinct, slightly spicy flavor. Drizzle a little dipping sauce, such as the cilantro-mint or sweet tamarind options, and you’ll find your samosa is flawless. Lunch served Monday through Friday, 12 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday buffet from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; dinner daily, 5 to 10 p.m. www.bombayhawaii.com
 

2. TEMPURA AHI ROLLS

Brew Moon Restaurant & Microbrewery, Ward Centre, second level, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd., 593-0088.

With a pupu menu about as long as its dinner menu, there have to be great appetizers at Brew Moon. After sampling a few, the Tempura Ahi Rolls ($9.95) stand out above the rest, and are served with tempura sauce, wasabi and ginger. These bite-size sushi rolls are lightly tempura fried, and are topped with a sliver of ahi that is perfectly proportioned and tasty. All of the flavors seem to fuse together and melt in your mouth, making you want to keep grabbing for more—and we did. It was the only appetizer plate we cleaned.   Lunch daily, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; dinner Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. [Now Closed]

 


You haven't really tasted hamachi until you've had it as a confit at Chef Mavro.

Photo courtesy of Chev Mavro

3. CONFIT HAMACHI

Chef Mavro, 1969 South King St., 944-4714.

Island gourmands know and love hamachi best in its raw form, as a staple of sushi. But render it into a confit—that most decadent of old-world preservation techniques—and you’ve got something entirely more buttery and sensuous. Instead of using the traditional duck fat, Chef Mavro brushes the hamachi with extra virgin olive oil from Provence, and slowly cooks it between two sheets of parchment paper in a 200-degree oven, before finishing it off with a glaze of yuzu (an East Asian citrus fruit) and olive oil/leek emulsion. A side of pickled spring vegetables, bright in both color and flavor, balances the fattiness of the fish, and the wine that’s paired with the dish, a creamy 2006 Viognier-Marsanne from the Treana Winery, puts the whole thing over the top. 6 to 9:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, www.chefmavro.com.

4. GRILLED SHRIMP SALAD

Brasserie Du Vin, 1115 Bethel St., 545-1115.

A hearty portion of grilled tiger shrimp tops this salad ($14) of mixed greens, poached pears, smoky bacon and roasted shallots. The blue cheese vinaigrette takes it up a notch. Another noteworthy option here is the escargot, a legendary pupu if ever there were one. The escargot dish arrived at the table brimming with the little critters, bathed in butter, shallots, parsley and garlic ($10). With the help of a crispy baguette, we mopped the plate clean. Monday through Saturday lunch 11:30 to 4 p.m.; happy hour 4 to 6 p.m.; dinner from 4 “to late.” Closed Sunday. www.brasserieduvin.com