A bunch of breakfast/brunch places have been opening up on the island lately—bills Sidney, Koko Head Cafe, The Nook, and now Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop. Coty and I love to eat breakfast on the weekends, especially since that’s the only time when we really get to do so together due to our work schedules. While looking at Scratch’s menu on their website, I knew that I wanted to go there for breakfast. But more than breakfast, I wanted to check out their dinner offerings. We will just have to return for breakfast another day.
We went to Scratch a few weeks after it had its grand opening on July 15, 2014. They actually offer breakfast (which is served all day) and lunch most of the week, serving dinner only Thursday-Saturday.
We tried the fried oysters, which was one of their specials that night. Though fried, the oysters still melted in our mouths. The oysters were a good size as well. The batter was not overly thick or heavy, and it was seasoned well. The remoulade was the perfect accompaniment. If this was sandwiched between French bread, as in a po’ boy, I can only imagine how delicious it would be!
First off, the étouffée on the menu caught my eye. What is an étouffée? I first heard about it from watching the Food Network. An étouffée is a a typical Cajun and Creole dish where seafood is “smothered” over rice, like a thick gravy. Smothering, a cooking technique, involves cooking meat or seafood in a covered pan with very little liquid. This can be considered a form of stove-top braising.
I, of course, ordered the Nola Étouffée—Kauai shrimp (with the heads and tails on), seared scallops, and andouille sausage over “dirty” rice. Now, dirty rice is another typical Cajun dish in which the rice picks up its “dirty” color from being cooked with other ingredients such as chicken liver or giblets, green bell peppers, onions, cayenne, and black pepper. It was served with jalapeño cornbread, which had a little kick, but still subdued the heat from the étouffée.
The other dish I was eyeing out, which Coty ordered, was the steak gaucho. It was house rubbed beef tri-tip served with salsa verde, with crispy mashed taters and warm Brussels sprouts as its sides. The tri-tip, a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin, was tender and juicy. The Brussels sprouts will really make you question yourself as to why you may have not liked Brussels sprouts before.
We ordered the peach cobbler for dessert and were disappointed. The natural juices from the peaches created a pool in which the peaches were drowning. We also felt that the cobbler part of it seemed a bit underdone.
Scratch will be rotating their menu quarterly, helping to keep their menu fresh and to support the local farmers who supply the restaurant’s ingredients. This quarter, Chef Brian Chan (who was the chef at Restaurant Epic) is focusing on soul food.
Though the restaurant is called a bake shop as well, they do not offer a big selection of baked goods. It seems that they may have about 3 different offerings daily—for example, chocolate chip bacon cookies, jelly donut muffins, and peach scones.
On their website, they describe their food as simple, rustic, and approachable. I can tell you that they are not simple dishes to make. But it’s true, some things are simply better being made from scratch. Do take note that they do run out of dishes, so make sure you get there early enough to order what you want.
Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop
1030 Smith Street
Honolulu, HI 96817