Popping up with Miso & Ale

There’s been a lot of buzz about the new pop-up gastropub, Miso & Ale, but I never got the chance to go until this past weekend. Now that I’ve had a taste, I can’t wait to go back.

The business is the brainchild of chefs Chris Okuhara and Chris Gee, who met when Okuhara was leaving the YWCA’s Laniakea dining room (which he opened), and interviewed Gee for his old position (which he got). They’re still young, but their backgrounds go way back in Hawaii’s foodie history: Okuhara’s family food roots include Okuhara fishcake and Likelike Drive In; Gee’s grandfathers were in the restaurant business and uncles own Legends Seafood Restaurant.

The mix of diners reflects this, too — while most of the crowd is in their late 20s and early 30s, Miso & Ale has a loyal following in some older customers who ignore the age difference so they can make it to the pop-up … every single one. Is the food that good? Check my photos and see for yourself. The menu makes use of local products and, although is very contemporary, gives a bit of a nod to the chefs’ Hawaii roots.

They’re currently popping up for dinner a few times a month at Moke’s Bread & Breakfast in Kailua, which is perfect, since the restaurant closes at 2 p.m. Their next two pop-ups will be on July 22 and 28, with reservations taken through their website only.

Miso & Ale

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Meet the guys behind Miso & Ale, from left: Chris Okuhara, Chris Gee, and Titus Nakagawa, their business development director with some mean bartending talent. Gee tends to be the more gregarious of the two, and refers to the quiet Okuhara as “The General,” saying he’s the one who really makes everything happen in the kitchen.

The dessert is always a good show, as they make their ice cream onsite with simple ingredients, a Kitchen-Aid, and, oh, some liquid nitrogen. Here’s the video: