Hawai‘i Family Restaurant Review: The Cutlery
A chic Kaimukī barbershop, bar and restaurant caters to kids with haircuts and cheddar grilled cheese.
We will begin every review with our “Family-Friendly Checklist,” six things parents want to know before deciding if the restaurant is a good fit for their little ones. Then, you’ll read reviews from the dining teams at HONOLULU Family and HONOLULU.
Our Dining Checklist:
Ambience: The atmosphere in the barbershop and bar is like a Vegas bachelor party, with a modern black-and-white aesthetic and “oontz oontz” music. Families are more comfortable on the casual outdoor lānai, which reflects the neighborhood charm of Kaimukī.
Parking: Free parking is available in an open-air lot behind the restaurant. Enter from Ninth Avenue and look for The Cutlery parking sign. We had no problem nabbing a stall.
Bathrooms: The bathrooms are shared with other commercial businesses in the building and are located around the side of the restaurant. You’ll need to escort your kids to the small space and know there is no room for a diaper changing table. Heads-up: The only way to dry your hands is with the “scary-for-kids” high-powered electric hand dryer.
High Chairs/Stroller-Friendly: Yes, they have high chairs and booster seats. There is plenty of space on the lānai to park a stroller alongside your table.
Keiki Menu/Takeout Option: The keiki menu offers kid-friendly modifications of the dishes on the regular menu. Think fried chicken with fries, bacon jam sliders and cheddar grilled cheese with tomato bisque. Takeout is easy to order online.
What to Know: High-top tables in the bar are the only indoor seating option, so families should plan to eat outside on the lānai, which is also pet-friendly. Vegans and vegetarians will be happy to see several unique pūpū on the menu: tofu and kim chee bao buns, kim chee spring rolls and vegan oysters (mushrooms).
Our Foodie Profiles:
- Duke, 5, loves granola bars and buttered pasta. Hesitant to try new foods, he sticks to what he knows. He would rather play than eat.
- Adam, Dad, a foodie who values quality. Part Italian, he’d eat pasta every night if his wife would let him. The wine selection is just as important as the food menu.
- Laura, Mom, lives for ice cream and Chardonnay. Fits the stereotype of a serial salad eater but goes for the beef every time.
As longtime fans of Town restaurant (now closed, tear!), Adam and I were excited to check out the establishment that moved into its former space. As fate would have it, Duke was in desperate need of a haircut with his locks tickling the tops of his ears. I easily made a reservation for dinner and a haircut, which costs $40, online and felt productive by checking off two to-do items in a jiffy.
You’re probably wondering, hair and food in the same place? I know it seems odd, but the barbershop is completely sectioned off from the restaurant by floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors, so there are no unsanitary scenarios. First up: haircut. Manager Hunter Wilson helped Duke climb into a barber chair with a booster seat. Duke seemed more excited than nervous at this “fancy” experience, rather than us cutting his hair at home.
SEE ALSO: How To Give Your Keiki a Haircut at Home During The Coronavirus Pandemic
Wilson was a pro and made quick work of cutting Duke’s hair using electric clippers and scissors. Amazingly, Duke sat still the whole time with his eyes on the big-screen TV. Adam and I sat at a high-top table nearby and ordered pre-dinner cocktails while we waited (score!). I appreciated the extra time Wilson took to explain to me how I could comb and style Duke’s hair to manage his unruly cowlick. Adam commented, “Duke has a trendier haircut than I do.”
Looking sharp and handsome, Duke got all cleaned up and we walked across the restaurant to the outdoor lānai for dinner. Adam was impressed at the upscale, if pricey, wine selection and ordered a bottle to celebrate a successful family outing. Duke opted for whole milk, as usual. Wilson had recommended the Honey Macnut Shrimp appetizer ($16) which was crunchy and a little spicy. Duke wouldn’t get near it.
For our main courses, Duke ordered the fried chicken and fries ($14) off the kids menu. (We did have to convince him it was the same as chicken nuggets.) He tried the fried chicken thigh pieces but mainly filled up on fries. The keiki portion was large, so we packed up the rest to take home.
Adam and I ordered the garlic shrimp pasta ($22) and the soy-braised short ribs ($28) to share. The house made fettuccine had a delicate and luscious texture paired with a creamy, silky sauce. I appreciated the tenderness of the melt-in-your-mouth short ribs, but the layered potatoes gratin served alongside were the true standout.
Our whole experience was rich and indulgent—from the food to the pampering haircut. Based on our final tab, I don’t think we’ll be making this a monthly routine but will definitely stop by next time we want to treat ourselves. And while we still miss Town, we are happy to welcome this unique concept to the neighborhood.
The Cutlery is open for dinner nightly (except Wednesdays) from 5–10 p.m. The Barbershop is open Tuesdays–Sundays from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Keiki haircuts, for kids 3–11, cost $40. 3435 Wai‘alae Ave., (808) 260-1322, thecutleryhnl.com, @thecutleryhnl