Bold flavors and playful plates restore a Windward foodie’s confidence in the open-air eatery.
It’s Takeout Only (For Now) at The Curb’s Bigger, Shinier New Spot in Kaimukī
The new coffee spot is next door to the old location, with an automated pour-over system and curbside pickup, too.
After starting out as a humble truck slinging coffee at Eat the Street food truck rallies, The Curb has taken its brand of java to various sites on O‘ahu including University of Hawai‘i campuses and even, for a time, a pop-up at Ala Moana Center. In recent years it has occupied spaces along Wai‘alae Avenue in Kaimukī, where it has now reinvented itself yet again.
The Curb’s third spot on Wai‘alae, on 8th Avenue, used to be an AT&T store and is just a few yards over from its previous location. It’s the second incarnation for owners Devin Uehara-Tilton and husband Ross Uehara-Tilton. Designed by District Architects, the firm behind the look of We Are Iconic at Anaha in Kaka‘ako, the new space is much larger than the previous ones and is a beautiful and well-lit setting. For now it’s takeout only, with curbside pickup service. I’m here for the coffee, so that’s fine with me.
As a bean-to-brew coffee drinker for more than 30 years, I am a big fan of slow-brew processes like the pour-over, in which water is heated to a precise temperature to extract the flavors of the bean without burning its essential oils, then poured slowly over fresh grounds in a paper filter. The Curb’s new espresso-based Poursteady system delivers an automated pour-over that I have yet to try.
I order the Barista’s Choice—on this day an Ecuadorian bean, $5.25 for a 12-ounce black coffee—and am delighted at how easy it is to drink from the first sip, without having to let it cool down. Notes of chocolate, earth and cherries with a slight acidic finish dance on my palate. As the bean will change daily, Barista’s Choice will favor the more adventurous coffeeholic.
The menu includes espresso drinks including a cortada, drip and pour-over coffees, a nitro cold brew and matcha and chai lattes. While my mornings are usually reserved for a cup of unadulterated black coffee, I also try the latte, my standard choice for early afternoon. This is also made impeccably, a nicely drawn espresso topped with steamed milk ($4.25 to $4.50 hot, $4.75 to $5.15 iced). I appreciate that the milk is heated but not scalded, as seems to be common at some coffee chains. The result is a slightly sweet concoction that embraces its bitter espresso notes like a warm weighted blanket.
Iced coffee fans will find that The Curb also does a fantastic job of balancing components including flavored syrups such as the house-made lavender syrup on its list.
The hope is that, especially when pandemic restrictions and fears ease and The Curb can open its new larger interior to the public, this will prove to be a location where it can dig in as a permanent fixture in ever-evolving Kaimukī. From where I sit, the future looks as optimistic as a Saturday morning cup of java.