Opening Valentine’s Day: Sweet and Savory Fight It Out in New Restaurant OTW Craft
Chefs bring Off The Wall concept to King Street.
Chef Ed Morita presents both sweet and savory cream puffs; cocktail-flavored honeys; bacon-pecan sticky bun with Manhattan-cocktail-flavored honey.
Photos: Robbie Dingeman
There’s a friendly food fight going on at the aptly named Off The Wall Craft Desserts and Kitchen on King Street. It’s a showdown between chefs who favor savory—#FoodFirst—and those who crave sweet—#DessertFirst.
Take, for example, a plate of cream puffs, half of them filled with goat cheese, bacon and chives and the other half with the creamy-coffee sweet of traditional tiramisu with a porter edge—a “beeramisu,” if you will. At the new restaurant’s media preview on Jan. 21, both sweet and savory puffs held their own.
Innovative chef Ed Morita, previously of Highway Inn Kaka‘ako, has teamed up with Kyle Matsumoto of Off the Wall Restaurant and Catering in Pearl Kai and chef de cuisine Andrew Mitani in the old Tsunami Night Club space. Matsumoto brings his “local-style comfort food with a twist.” They’ve been in a soft opening phase since Jan. 29.
Morita says he’s always wanted to highlight desserts as a main event instead of an afterthought, and now he’s got the chance. So far, savory is well represented, too, including an ‘ahi poke cupcake “frosted” with sesame ginger, bubu arare and yuzu tobiko. The chefs are also making their own condiments, including house-made ketchup and a curried, roasted pepper hummus served with house-made flatbread.
House-made hummus and flatbread; kabocha malassadas.
The menu is still evolving. Morita says to expect small individual bites along with larger shareable plates such as pork chops, oxtail poutine, chicken wings and lū‘au dip. The only composed plates (starch, vegetable and protein) planned will be daily specials.
They’ve also been collaborating on infused honey, which will show up in drinks, as well as in sweet and savory concoctions. A Manhattan-cocktail-flavored honey already sweetens a bacon-pecan sticky bun. Other honey flavors include Moscow Mule, Sazerac and Falernum, which offer some intriguing possibilities.
One simple crowd pleaser was a small malassada made with kabocha that stayed light and tasty despite the pumpkin and the deep frying.
The official grand opening of OTW Craft is Saturday, Feb. 14, a Valentine’s Day Chocolate Lover's Spat grazing event at $50 a ticket in advance or $65 at the door.
As prep for a plan to serve Sunday brunch, Morita says the restaurant will open Sunday evenings starting Feb. 22 with a "Breakfast for Dinner" menu to test breakfast items.
OTW Craft is located at 1272 S. King St., 486-9255. A sign, still on order, will help prospective diners. Parking is in a small lot and on the street.