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Bread and Butter: A New Café and Wine Bar by the Owner of Shokudo

Bread and Butter is a café by day and a wine bar by night.


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Breakfast dashimaki tamago (left) and taro and banana pancakes

 

I judge a lot of places by the quality of their salads. It’s one of those deceptively simple things, the equivalent of a friend who applies her makeup for an hour to emerge dewy and fresh, and as if she weren’t wearing any makeup at all.

 

It can take hours to prep all the ingredients in a salad, but the difference between salads and makeup: You can’t hide the flaws. Sad produce gets sadder and poor technique in the kitchen will show in overdressed greens and under-seasoned veggies. There’s a reason why, for my first test in Alan Wong’s kitchen, he asked me to make a salad.

 

Bread and Butter interior

 

Bread and Butter passes the salad test. The sparely dressed beet and peach salad plays perky, peppery arugula against sweet, just barely soft peaches—someone in the kitchen knows how to pick a peach.

 

Bread and Butter is Hide Sakurai’s third venture. He’s the man behind the ever-popular Shokudo, and the not-so-popular upscale Mexican restaurant Búho. Like the latter, Bread and Butter is still trying to find its audience. When we go on a weekend evening and weekday morning, the place is almost empty. It’s a café by day and wine bar by night, with order-at-the-counter service all day, which feels kind of weird for dinner. No place with an average check higher than $10 a person has successfully pulled off the self-service thing, except for Olive Tree Café.

 

carbonara (left) and fig prosciutto pizza

 

On the menu: soup, salad, pizza, sandwiches, pasta and tapas in the evening. Flavors range from Italy, Spain, Japan and Hawai‘i, sometimes served on the same plate, such as the pipikaula and jamon small plate, or the red bean and brie breakfast sandwich, which is like a savory an pan. For breakfast, try the dashimaki, prepared like a Japanese-flavored frittata—dashi and eggs baked with rice and draped with ham. Skip the token açaí bowl, which at 10 dollars, is too run-of-the-mill to be worth the price. I wish the carbonara was prepared more traditionally, without the cream and onions, but we still ate it all (OK, almost all—we left the onions behind).

 

Bread and Butter might have been called Bread and Pinot. Because of Sakurai’s personal love of pinot, the wine menu offers more than a dozen bottles each of pinot grigio and pinot noir, from California to Slovenia. This would be my perfect experience at Bread and Butter: a glass of pinot and a salad. Bread and Butter, for all the directness of its name, feels disjointed. To get the most out of Bread and Butter, simplify.

 

1585 Kapi‘olani Blvd., 949-3430

 

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Hale ‘Aina restaurants!

 

Read More stories by martha cheng

 

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