Scratch Kitchen & Meatery Now Serving Dinner

Favorites from the Chinatown menu join new hearty, Southern-inspired dishes for dinner.


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Scratch kitchen & Meatery opened for breakfast and lunch in South shore market in april and started serving dinner last week.
Photos: Catherine Toth Fox

 

In April, Scratch Kitchen & Meatery opened in South Shore Market at Ward Village with many of the brunch favorites—milk-and-cereal pancakes, and shrimp and grits—from its original location in Chinatown.

 

But, really, what we were all waiting for was dinner.

 

Chef and owner Brian Chan promised a more meat-centric menu with Southern-inspired fare. Cured meats, aged steaks, smoked everything. We were excited.

 

Last Friday, Scratch quietly opened for dinner. There wasn’t any media blitz or a long line outside. We walked in, got seated and feasted on plate after plate of tasty dishes.

 

“I decided to start dinner service ’cause I was bored,” Chan says. “But, even more so, I wanted to plate food nicely … We’re getting a lot of positive feedback on the food and cocktails.”

 

The menu is a full page of dishes big enough to share, and it reads like a trendy Southern-focused bistro. There’s smoked-salmon deviled eggs topped with crispy salmon skin ($8 for four), cast-iron roasted Pono Pork loin with a smoked green chili mac ’n’ cheese and braised collards ($22), an oyster roast with Spanish chorizo and a sherry cream sauce ($12), and a small pot of Creole-style red beans flavored with smoked ham hock, pickled peppers and cabbage ($8) that my husband couldn’t stop eating. (I didn’t even get to try it because he wolfed it down before I had a chance.)

 

The Creole red beans ($8) are cooked in smoked ham hock, pork ribs and pickled peppers and served with toasted crostini.

 

With Meatery in the name, I half-expected more meat-focused dishes on the menu, but it consisted mostly of lighter fare, including a honey-infused watermelon salad dressed in a Champagne vinaigrette ($10) and charred broccoli with a Spanish Romesco sauce and pecorino cheese ($8). But I can’t say I was totally surprised by the variety. This is how Scratch has managed to satisfy returning patrons to its Chinatown location. Chan is smart about offering a little of what people want, and adding something they never considered. He keeps it interesting.

 

Take the way he added a soft egg and finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to the been-there dish of crispy Brussels sprouts ($6), just to make it a little different. Or how he coated the boudin fritters ($8), stuffed with pork, rice, celery and onions, in panko and deep-fried them until golden brown.

 

The usual crispy Brussels sprouts ($6) are improved with a soft egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano and toasted almonds.

 

Panko-crusted boudin fritters ($8) nestle atop a creamy corn maque choux.

 

One of my favorite dishes was the patatas bravas ($9), a popular tapas dish in Spain, featuring cut potatoes fried in oil and served warm and topped with a sauce, maybe a spicy tomato sauce or a tangy aioli. Scratch’s version includes bits of Italian sausage—a nice touch of smoke, salt and heat—and tops it all with an anchovy aioli and queso fresco. It didn’t taste healthy, and that’s what we loved about it.

 

Another of the standouts—and Chan’s personal favorite—was the 12-hour sous vide beef short rib ($24), drizzled with a green chimichurri sauce and accompanied by horseradish-flavored whipped potatoes. The sliced beef was tender and slightly chewy, and the potatoes were buttery and piquant.

 

The beef short rib ($24) is cooked sous vide for 12 hours, then topped with chimichurri. The horseradish whipped potatoes taste exactly the way it sounds.

 

The Southern hot chicken ($20) is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. This is Chan’s Southern take on chicken and waffles, using buttermilk chicken stacked on thick-cut, maple-vanilla-flavored French toast (not waffles) and topped with hot sauce. You’ll definitely want to share this plate.

 

It’s always a bad idea to call something “perfect,” but Chan, whose family once owned the also bar-setting Restaurant Epic in Chinatown, did just that with the Perfect Crab Cake ($12). It’s a huge disc packed with crab and seared in a cast-iron skillet so it’s not crispy (though he’s thinking about adding some toasted panko for more crunch), served as an étouffée (literally means “smothering” in French), a dish common in Creole and Cajun cooking that uses shellfish served over rice. It was incredibly tasty, but I prefer my cakes crispy.

 

Scratch’s take on the popular chicken-and-waffles combo. This Southern hot chicken ($20) pairs buttermilk fried chicken with a vanilla-maple French toast. For kick, It’s topped with hot sauce.

 

The Perfect Crab Cake ($12) has a tough name to live up to, but the plating is gorgeous.

 

A nice meal-ender, this caramelized honey crème brûlée ($8) is smooth and finished with fresh berries.

 

The chocolate-chip-cookie bread pudding ($8) is served with a warm milk sauce.

 

Save room for dessert. The caramelized honey crème brûlée ($8) is smooth and creamy, served in a glass jar with fresh berries and vanilla whipped cream. And the dense chocolate-chip-cookie bread pudding ($8) is served with a milk sauce poured tableside.

 

Chan plans to keep adding to the menu. In the works are kiawe-smoked steak tartare, fois gras loco moco, crispy pig ears, beef tendon chips and a 60-day dry-aged rib-eye. The menu won’t be static, he adds, with plans to change it every few months.

 

“I love the [simple] yet complex flavors of Southern food,” Chan says. “It’s also super comforting.”

 

Scratch Kitchen & Meatery, 1170 Auahi St., #175. Dinner served from 5 to 9 p.m. daily except Sundays. (808) 589-1669, scratch-hawaii.com.

 

The 2018 Hale ‘Aina Awards ballot is now online! Vote for your favorite restaurants now through June 30 for a chance to win dining certificates from our Hale ‘Aina winners. Click here to vote now. Winners will be announced at the Hale ‘Aina Awards Ceremony on Sept. 17. Stay tuned to this page for updates.

 

READ MORE STORIES BY CATHERINE TOTH FOX

 

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