Wade Ueoka, former Alan Wong Chef, revamps Tsunami's menu
Left: Twice-cooked tonkatsu; right: uni, ahi and hamachi poke
Wade Ueoka has been with Alan Wong's since opening day, 17 years ago. At the beginning of this year, he left that restaurant, where he started working as a dishwasher and rose to chef de cuisine, to revamp the menu at Tsunami, a sports bar and lounge just a few blocks down from Alan Wong's.
Tsunami's food just got serious.
Ueoka isn't the first Alan Wong chef to drop his chef whites and work at a bar: Neil Nakasone, also a former Alan Wong chef de cuisine, left in 2006 to run the kitchen at Slammers, then Kanpai and now, Home Bar and Grill, where I keep returning for comfort food like Wafu steak dressed with shredded daikon and ponzu, crispy, salty sweet garlic fried chicken, and tater tot nachos.
On Tsunami's new menu, though, the Alan Wong training is unmistakable: a hot roast duck sandwich on garbanzo bean mash, covered in gravy; a tonkatsu that takes slow-cooked pork, covers it with panko and fries it; and braised pork belly bao that tastes like oxtail soup, with its boiled peanut, ginger and green onion relish. (Which sparked something in my brain: can someone make an oxtail soup dumpling? Please?)
Left: roast duck sandwich, right: pork belly bao
I don't know how many people come to a sports bar and order salads, but you should. The MA‘O Farms salad in a soy yuzu kosho dressing is stellar, and there's a Ho Farms vegetable salad with okra, long bean, eggplant, tomato, long squash and cucumbers, the dressing itself made with okra, um, slime. It takes an excellent chef to pull this off. Fortunately, Ueoka is.
Among the specials the night we went: pork chop adobo and an uni poke with crunchy rice crackers and ahi that I was very, very unhappy to have to share.
What to drink with all this? Tsunami offers Hawaiian Islands Brewing Co. on tap.
Tsunami, 1272 S King St., 596-0700