First Look: 7 Things We Like about Foodland’s First Eatery including Fresh Poke, Cocktails and Hot Food with a Local Twist

Redfish Poke Bar in Kaka‘ako offers a hipster take on grabbing a meal, an adult beverage and even a poke bowl to take home.


redfish poke shop in kakaako

Video: Katie Kenny



Foodland opened its first bar and eatery at trendy Salt at Kaka‘ako this week and a media preview gave us a chance to try a few early bites and beverages just before it opened on Thursday.


Anticipating a first-day crush, Redfish manager Tony Hollinrake, a veteran of the local food scene (Flour & Barley, Bao Boys, Sam Choy’s Kapahulu), scheduled fresh fish to be delivered every three hours on opening day. Their shirts sum up the vibe: Warm rice, cold beer and raw fish.


Redfish Poke Bar by Foodland honors its roots by placing the poke counter right up front. Proceed down the hall to a compact windowless back room with a bar, counters and tables that seat 36. The whole place holds 80 people including employees and people ordering poke. It’s tucked between a coffee bar and a boutique across from Village Bottle Shop. Since Redfish doesn’t take reservations—and does anticipate residents and tourists stopping by on the way to or from work and play—Hollinrake expects people to roam among the businesses, maybe grabbing a beer at Village while waiting for a seat at Redfish.


Here are seven things we liked at first glance:


SEE ALSO: After 71 Years in Business, Hawai‘i’s Family-Run Foodland is Swinging for the Fences



Photos: Katie Kenny



1. Beyond the basic bowl options

In addition to the usual white or brown rice or greens, diners can opt to pay $2 more for cauliflower rice (yes to low-carb/veggie choice), ginger scallion, yukari or hijiki rice; or $3 more for poi.


SEE ALSO: We Tried 5 Cauliflower Pizza Crusts From O‘ahu Stores and Restaurants


2. Top this


Photos: Katie Kenny



The poke bowls start at $11 for one type of poke, one side (including bean sprouts, edamame, kim chee, ocean salad, choy sum) and as many toppings as you want; and go to $14 for two kinds of poke. Some standout first-week flavors include: Dynamite salmon, ginger-scallion hamachi, spicy ‘ahi, limu ‘ahi and tako, and a tasty beet poke that offers a “meaty” vegetarian option. Maybe order by the pound and customize it into your own sampler?



3. Crack-seed cocktails


Photo: Katie Kenny



There’s something addictive about adding crack-seed flavor to a drink and that’s what mixologist Matt Rosskopf has done. Must-try cocktail: Lemon Peel Pisco Sour ($14). Adding housemade white li hing syrup and Galliano to the traditional pisco sour took it to another level. And Rock Salt Plum ($14), another salty-sweet combo, is a fresh take on a drink.



4. All-local beer

On draft, $8 beers from Honolulu Beerworks, Beerlab, Maui Brewing Co. and Paradise Ciders. Bottles included all local beer companies.


SEE ALSO: Best of the Brews: The Ultimate Kaka‘ako Brewery and Beer Bar Crawl


5. Sweet Surprise


Photo: Katie Kenny



Malasada Bites ($8) turned out to be warm, crunchy light mini malassadas nestled against horchata ice cream, sprinkled with crunchy bits of dry ramen broken up and glazed with honey.


SEE ALSO: The Traditional Filipino Feast at Dana’s Restaurant in Waipahu Leaves No Room for Dessert


6. Hot stuff

Early favorites at the preview dinner included short ribs topped with a bright chimichurri sauce, and pork belly crisped into lechon kawali.



Video: Katie Kenny



7. Still need to try these

One drink: the Momotaro, which features melted Tomoe Ame candy and includes yuzu and St. Germain. Food: house greens salad that looked like a garden in a bowl; and the bruschetta, the house take on avocado toast topped with MA‘O Farms’ sassy mix and a miso tahini dressing.


The Foodland team includes chef Keoni Chang, vice president and chief food officer of the Sullivan Family of Companies; and chef de cuisine Reid Matsumura, who was part of the team at the much-loved Home Bar & Grill.


SEE ALSO: Taste Test: I Tried Every Dish on the Menu at Taqueria El Gallo Rosa in Kailua


Redfish Poke Bar by Foodland, 685 Auahi St., (808) 532-6420, Poke counter: 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily; restaurant and lounge: 10:30 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday and 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.