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OMG, a New Place for Burritos

O‘ahu Mexican Grill opens on King Street.


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Photos: Gus Downes 

 

“Every day is busier than the last,” says Scott Plater, owner of O‘ahu Mexican Grill. The restaurant, which abbreviates to OMG, opened this past month on the makai side of King Street. The “fast casual burrito joint” concept should be familiar to those who’ve ever been to Chipotle or Qdoba on the Mainland. Fortunately for Plater and OMG, fast casual eateries are still relatively new to Hawai‘i. Compared to fast-food restaurants, fast casual use better ingredients, serve more food and charge more, while serving meals just as quickly. Fast is key at OMG. It’ll only validate parking in the University Square lot for up to 30 minutes, and the burritos are huge. Eat quickly and limit your chit-chat.

 

You can choose a burrito, two tacos or forgo the tortilla entirely and get a bowl. Pick either Spanish or cilantro lime rice, both made with basmati, because Plater says it’s the only kind that doesn’t clump. The cilantro lime rice is the better choice, as the bright herbal citrus notes are a welcome counterpoint to an otherwise rich meal. Beans are a choice between black and pinto. If you order cheese, it’s melted onto your tortilla in a quick steamer that also makes the tortilla pliable.

 

Plater takes pride in ensuring all the meats are free of antibiotics and hormones. The kālua carnitas are made with pork from Niman ranch. The meat is juicy and smoky. The steak is Big Island beef, hearty and flavorful, if a bit chewy. The barbacoa is mushy, with a deep, dark flavor that almost tastes burnt at first. It’s initially off-putting, but grows on you as the aftertaste mellows. The chicken is likely to be the most crowd pleasing, with the perfect light texture to showcase a rich chipotle sauce made in house. Plant lovers can get roasted veggies. The burritos are huge, dense and rich. Fans of Chipotle may be left unsatisfied, but at least they’ll be full.

 

Guacamole is two dollars extra, and worth it. It’s made in house multiple times daily. The chips are organic, and will eventually be made in house, too. For now, Plater says, they “don’t have a fryer (that works) … yet.”

 

O‘ahu Mexican Grill, 2633 S. King St., Suite 105, omg.menu, 724-6683

 

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