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Goodbye, Mixed Plate Sandwich; Hello, Meatball Sub

Artizen by MW reopens this week with a new menu of lunch options and desserts.


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From left, a plate with pork chops and a ramped up avocado toast with tomato jam, new on the menu at Artizen by MW. It launches this week.
Photos: Catherine Toth Fox

 

When Artizen by MW opened in the same building as the Hawai‘i State Art Museum in December 2015, it quickly became our office’s go-to lunch spot.

 

SEE ALSO: First Look: Artizen by MW

 

We were obsessed with the grab-and-go bentos, barbecue fries, daily ‘ahi poke bowls and something called the Mixed Plate sandwich stuffed with kalbi, fried chicken and spicy Korean pork. We ate here several times a month, easily.

 

Then, about a month ago, Artizen closed while the lānai above the restaurant was being renovated. In the meantime, chef Samantha Cervonayco and pastry chef (and co-owner) Michelle Karr-Ueoka worked on creating new breakfast and lunch items for its reopening, scheduled for June 5.

 

I’m not going to lie: I was a bit devastated to find out the Mixed Plate sandwich, which I have referred to as “eating the best parts of a Korean plate lunch with your hands,” is no longer on the menu.

 

In its place, however, is a very worthy challenger (for my affection): a meatball sub ($12) using pork from Mountain View Farms in Wai‘anae and cooked in a house-made tomato sauce and topped with melted Provolone cheese in a buttered and toasted potato hoagie roll. (The recipe is from MW’s sous chef Jared Murakawa, who loves his meatballs and gravy, we’re told.) It’s not as heavy or greasy as the Mixed Plate sandwich; it’s something you can eat every week and not get tired of. The flavors are mellow, the meatballs are tasty. Paired with fries, this is one comforting plate of food.

 

The pork carnitas tacos are replaced with kālua pork tacos (two for $10) topped with lomi salmon, guacamole, sour cream, chipotle sauce and fresh cilantro and onions. The juicy pork has just the right amount of smoke, and the portion makes this enough for a meal—and then some.

 

The scrumptious meatball sub, a new item on the lunch menu at Artizen by MW.

 

Replacing the pork carnitas tacos are these filled with kālua pork, lomi salmon, guacamole and sour cream.

 

Two great options for lunch for those who are looking for something more than just a sandwich or bento—which, thankfully, is still on the menu—are the fried chicken and eggplant ($13) and the fried pork chop ($14).

 

The former is a hefty serving of fried chicken pieces tossed in a sweet-sour sauce, with crispy shallots, roasted peanuts and fried basil leaves. The juicy chicken is served on rice with a mixed green salad with a tangy (and slightly spicy) yuzu-miso dressing that’s new to the menu, too.

 

The latter is one of my favorites: a fried pork chop—a take on salt-and-pepper pork chops—seasoned with Chinese five-spice powder and topped with sautéed onions and peppers and served with rice and a mixed green salad. The pork, which hails from Mountain View Farms in Wai‘anae, is incredibly tender and the hint of five-spice seasoning isn’t overwhelming.

 

“We really wanted to highlight the pork from this farm,” Cervonayco explains.

 

New for lunch is this plate of five-spice pork chops, which comes with rice and a mixed green salad.

 

A furikake-crusted seared ‘ahi plate with a ponzu sauce is also new for lunch.

 

For lunch, there’s also a seared ‘ahi plate ($14) cooked medium-rare with ponzu sauce and a miso salmon plate ($15) served with various banchan. For the faithful, the bento box, Artizen burger, mochi-crusted opah and chili bowl remain on the menu.

 

There are a few new items for breakfast, too, which is served from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. The trendy avocado toast gets an upgrade with this version ($11) featuring avocado mash, Ho Farms tomato jam, grilled kale and a sunny egg from OK Poultry in Waimānalo, on a thick slice of Karr-Ueoka’s white bread. It tastes just as amazing as it looks. Inspired by Karr-Ueoka’s recent trips to Japan, the pancake bread pudding ($11) blends pancakes—Cervonayco’s personal recipe—with tokachi kinako, Tolentino Farms’ honey and banana whipped cream.

 

An upgraded avocado toast with Ho Farms tomato jam and topped with a sunny egg from OK Poultry is on the new breakfast menu.

 

The showcase at Artizen by MW will feature several new desserts, too, including a Black Forest cake (foreground), a mango cheesecake with a yuzu curd and a Japanese honey roll cake filled with fresh whipped cream.

 

And for dessert, Karr-Ueoka’s pastry team at MW has created a slew of new sweet bites, ranging from a mango cheesecake with a yuzu curd to a Japanese honey roll cake filled with fresh whipped cream to a strawberry goat cheese tart nestled in puff pastry.

 

There. Reasons to go back this week. Not that we ever needed any.

 

Hawai‘i State Art Museum, 250 S. Hotel St. Breakfast, 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.; lunch, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, (808) 524-0499, artizenbymw.com.

 

Bring the family down to the Best of Honolulu Festival July 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Honolulu Hale civic grounds. Eat at ‘ono food booths, shop local designers in the marketplace, bring the family to the keiki zone for face painting, balloon animals, rides, games and more. For more information, visit honolulumagazine.com/bestofhonolulu.

 

READ MORE STORIES BY CATHERINE TOTH FOX

 

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