DB Grill in Kapolei Serves Familiar-Yet-Fresh Asian Fusion
(Sponsored) The sister restaurant of Café Duck Butt and Mad Bene adds its own twist to locally loved dishes.
Located in Kapolei Commons, just next door to its sister restaurant, Mad Bene, the locally owned DB Grill is the West Side’s answer to modern Asian fusion. With a sleek contemporary interior that feels a bit like an upscale sports bar—in a good way—familiar-yet-fresh spinoffs of classic bar dishes, and a drink list that includes soju (a menu must for Duck Butt’s little brother), beer, wine and craft cocktails, DB is a place you’ll find yourself at again and again. Here are a few of our favorite dishes to order right now.
Lup Cheong Fried Rice
Fried rice, for me, is like pizza: Even when it’s mediocre, I’ll still eat it. And probably go back for seconds. That being said, DB Grill’s version of the Chinese cuisine menu staple is one worth ordering. The lup cheong—a cured, dried pork sausage originating from the Canton region—adds a welcome sweet, chewy texture to an otherwise savory dish. Adding the sausage (both sliced and minced to add texture) to fried rice is a great choice, as rice absorbs some of the grease and flavor lup cheong releases when cooked without making the dish too heavy.
Until now, the idea of squid, breaded and fried Japanese style, was not a part of my reality. Now that I’ve tried it, though, I’m left wondering why that was. It may not be as ubiquitous as its chicken counterpart, but this calamari katsu is satisfying in its own way. The texture is tender, not rubbery, with a crisp, golden panko crust that’s made for the tonkatsu dip it comes with. A side of cabbage salad is a classic pairing to the deep-fried dish.
In Hawai‘i, no bar food menu is complete without pork chops. Order DB’s and you’ll be rewarded with two giant slabs of bone-in chops, sliced and topped with mushrooms and onions sautéed in a white wine butter sauce. It’s a big portion, so big that, even under the influence of your magic number of beers, you are unlikely to finish the whole thing. Not that you shouldn’t try anyway.
Kalua and Steak Tacos
My favorites of the bunch—especially the kalua ones—these tacos are filling and flavorful. With each order you get two tacos, each with their own Korean-Mexican-fusion twists. The kalua tacos feature soft kalua pork, Korean-style, topped with gochujang, miso and some cabbage at the bottom to give a nice crunch. All the flavors—sweet, salty, smoky and umami—blend together well when you dig in.
The steak tacos feature bulgogi-marinated beef with spicy chili mayo, shredded fresh cabbage and pickled red onion. I tend to judge tacos on the tenderness of the meat—the tougher it is, the messier it is, and the more likely I am to walk away with a stained shirt—and, thankfully, enjoyed my tacos without any unnecessary embarrassment.
For more information on DB Grill, visit dbgrillhi.com.