New: Dash Gastropub

The chefs at Dash Gastropub are not given to restraint. The hamburger ($12) piles on onions caramelized in shoyu and other umami-rich (secret) ingredients, a sweet and tart tomato chutney, slices of brie, bacon, a parmesan crisp, lettuce and a half-pound beef patty. Really, though, you could put a block of tofu in there and you probably wouldn’t even be able to tell, so flavor-packed is this hamburger, messier than a sloppy joe. Intellectually, I may appreciate the philosophy of letting simple, perfect ingredients shine with minimal manipulation; viscerally, however, I like this burger. Sure, I think Dash could do away with the brie, maybe choose between the bacon and the parmesan, but nevertheless, it satisfies all my sweet, salty, crunchy, fatty cravings, everything I desire while drinking.

Our server defines a gastropub as high-end food and drink at bar prices. This could probably describe many of Honolulu’s beloved bars such as Side Street Inn and Home Bar and Grill. How Dash differs: it takes familiar comfort food, both local (such as poke and mochi) and American (grilled cheese, chicken and waffles) and applies its own spin. So an ahi tataki ($18) is dressed in a soy vinaigrette, yuzu and truffle oil, layered with pickled cucumbers and daikon, and topped with two varieties of tobikko. Grilled cheese melds with cheddar apple pie, the result: grilled cheese apple pie sandwich with bacon ($12).

The star, though, is the yukari fried chicken and matcha waffle ($12). If pastry chefs have co-opted bacon as a dessert, then Dash has kidnapped fried chicken and hauled it to the sweet side. Crispy nuggets of fried chicken, skin and all, are sprinkled with puckery yukari, piled onto a green tea-flavored waffle, so crunchy it’s almost as if it’s bruleed, and the whole thing drizzled with a yuzu butterscotch sauce. Every component is well-executed, and taken together, supremely, surprisingly addictive. Taken as a dessert, it’s great, my only problem is, every dish we tried leans a little sweet, so by the end of the night, I’m craving salt, aka some real bar food.

1018 McCully St., 943-0125

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