Two New Eateries Complete the Mix at The Lānai
Get hefty sandwiches and Korean tacos now at Ala Moana Center.
Seoul Mix 2.0 is the last tenant to open in The Lānai at Ala Moana Center—and it’s a good one.
Photos: Catherine Toth Fox
As if Ala Moana Center, with more than 100 places to dine, needed any more eateries.
And then Ike’s Love & Sandwiches and Seoul Mix 2.0 opened in The Lānai in the old Shirokiya space, along with 10 others, and I thought, “Why not?”
Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, a beloved chain out of San Francisco, and locally owned Seoul Mix 2.0 are the latest tenants in the new food hall, offering hearty sandwiches (Ike’s) and Asian-fusion street food (Seoul) to hungry shoppers and people like me who actually drive to the mall to eat.
Ike’s Love & Sandwiches
Inside the Adam Richman sandwich at Ike’s Love & Sandwiches.
Finally, Honolulu has the kind of sandwich shop we’ve been clamoring for: an eclectic menu of both meaty and veggie sandwiches with add-ons including cream cheese, bacon, even stuffed jalapeño poppers on a special bread that’s both sweet and soft with a crunchy mottled crust.
Honestly, I ate there twice in a week and four times in a month since it opened in September. Three of those times were with the same sandwich-loving friend.
The San Franciso-based Ike’s Love & Sandwiches—Ike as in Tina Turner, not ee-kay—is known for its made-to-order ’wiches, fun extras and combinations exclusive to each of the chain’s more than 40 locations in California, Nevada, Arizona and now Hawai‘i. Unique to the Ala Moana menu are the Lord of the Flies (ham, pineapple, barbecue sauce and provolone), Laniākea (vegan fried chicken, pineapple, teriyaki, cucumbers and provolone), Joe vs. The Volcano (vegan fried chicken, pineapple, marinara sauce and provolone) and Golly-zilla (halal chicken, pineapple, teriyaki sauce, wasabi mayo and Swiss cheese).
My favorite of the Hawai‘i exlusives is the Alan Wong ($12), stuffed with roast beef, ham, turkey, pastrami and provolone with Ike’s popular Godfather sauce, a mild creamy horseradish Dijon mayo.
Of the standard fare, my go-to has been the Adam Richman ($12) on Dutch bread. I mean, how can you go wrong with the combination of fried chicken, ham, honey, pesto and Swiss cheese? A close second is the Jaymee Sirewich ($12) with fried chicken, Ike’s yellow barbecue sauce, ranch dressing and American cheese.
Sandwiches run from $9 to $12—unless you opt for the Kryptonite, which, at $40 and filled with just about everything you can think of, feeds up to four people. And if you don’t want the signature Dutch bread, which I’d highly recommend, you can choose from French, San Francisco-style sourdough, whole wheat or gluten-free at no extra charge.
Every sandwich is served hot unless otherwise specified and come with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles, jalapeño and the shop’s famous Dirty Sauce, a creamy garlic mayo. Or you can customize your sub with extras—more cheese, more meat, more veggies or a different sauce. Ike’s is as close as you’ll get to sandwich heaven.
Seoul Mix 2.0
The KFC (Korean fried chicken) sticks and bulgogi tacos at Seoul Mix 2.0.
The newest—and final—addition to the Lānai @ Ala Moana Center is Seoul Mix 2.0, a locally owned eatery with an Asian fusion menu inspired by classic Korean street food and infused with Mexican and local flavors.
Confused? Here’s what we mean: super cheesey tonkatsu smothered with curry and corn; kim chee Spam fried rice topped with a sunny egg; poutine topped with curry, kim chee, corn and queso fresco. Deliriously delicious stuff.
The Soul Fries comes with melted cheese, kim chee, corn, queso fresco, spicy aioli, onions and cilantro.
Seoul Mix 2.0 offers stacked bowls ($12.25) with rice, japchae (sweet pototo noodles) and your choice of wagyu bulgogi ($1.50 more and worth it), grilled honey chicken, gochujang chicken or gochujang pork. You also get six sides served in a separate tray.
The bibimbap differs in one way: It has everything in the stacked bowl but with an egg and no tray separating the banchan. You close the lid and shake. Ta-da.
A highlight, if not for Instagram, is the seaweed rice burger ($7), a Korean musubi of sorts. Two discs of white rice are filled, sandwich-style, with your choice of protein, lettuce, spicy cucumbers, cheese and mayo, then wrapped with a strip of nori. We preferred the tacos (two for $8), with your choice of meat, kim chee, cabbage, spicy aioli, queso fresco, black sesame seed, onion and cilantro in a soft tortilla. The bulgogi is, hands down, my favorite, but the other three options are great, too.
We highly recommend the KFC stick (two for $6), flavorful Korean fried chicken on skewers and dunked in your choice of a sweet soy-honey glaze (my favorite) or a spicy pepper sauce. And we found the Soul Fries ($8)—a bed of fries stacked with melted cheese, kim chee, corn, queso fresco, spicy aioli, onions and cilantro—incredibly addictive. We kept picking at the plate of fries long after everything else had been devoured.
On a savory note: Mama Pho, the locally owned Vietnamese shop in the ʻĀina Haina Shopping Center, is opening its second location at Ala Moana Center soon. It will be located in the Ho‘okipa Terrace. The menu will be similar to its ʻĀina Haina restaurant, with traditional Vietnamese noodle dishes, rice plates and its popular Volcano Sauce (now sold in 8-ounce jars).