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The Weekly Eater

By Nadine Kam

Thursday, March 2, 2000

Daily ‘Grind’ a
boon for Kaimuki

CHOOSING a name for a new enterprise is an exercise fraught with peril. It's usually done in a moment of inspiration without consideration of what a change in business or a move might do.

The latter change can result in some unlikely place-name juxtapositions. For instance, the recently shuttered Aina Haina Garden Shop was situated in Kaimuki for years and Kaimuki Plumbing makes its home in Kaneohe. Then there's North Shore Grinds, which surfaced late last year in Kaimuki.

In naming his eatery, Wayne Takushi envisioned bringing produce of North Shore farmers to the table and to an in-house market. But before he could put his plan into action, a small grocery opened next door.


Food   StarStarStar
Atmosphere  StarStar1/2
Service  StarStar1/2
Value  StarStarStarStar

Bullet Address: 1429 10th Ave. (street parking)

Bullet Hours: Open Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., except closed 2:30-4:30 p.m. on Wednesday

Bullet Prices: About $6 per person

Bullet Call: 732-7775

There's always Plan B.

Plan B was to bring simple take-out plate lunches to Kaimuki commuters on the way home from their 9-to-5 jobs. North Shore Grinds' motto is "After a hard day of work, let us do the cooking!" Just so this formula wouldn't get boring, he planned to offer marinated salads and vegetarian items daily.

There's always Plan C. The restaurant has kept him too busy to fuss over salads, what with his commute and all. Oh, didn't I tell you? Takushi lives in Kahuku.

Of his daily grind of a drive, he said, "At first I thought it was pretty easy, but do it four or five times a week and it takes a lot out of you."

He had been a chef at the Turtle Bay Hilton for 19 years before deciding it was time to try something new. He searched closer to home for a space, but his parents still live in the Hardesty Street house he grew up in, and visiting them one day, he found his location.

Readers have let me know they have fallen in love with North Shore's small storefront ambience -- why, the line of traffic on 10th Avenue even looks like Haleiwa on a weekend -- giant Teri Burgers ($3.40) and homestyle cooking.

Laulau ($6.10 with chicken long rice and lomi salmon/$6.35 with kalua pig) is also a passion. Where modern laulau attempts to be "healthy," big on luau and filled with chicken, sweet potato or taro, North Shore's version is unapologetically evil, complete with lump of fat and juicy pork that simply melts in one's mouth. It's gone before you know it.

Takushi's Fresh Island Fish with a mild Cilantro Pesto (market price) seems to have made its way from a special to menu fixture.

Other specials change daily. Ginger Chicken ($4.90) updates a local classic. Tender chicken thighs are braised in a sauce of garlic, ginger, cilantro and green onion with a light touch of soy sauce. I especially liked the Garlic Calamari Steak, lightly dusted with flour and pan-fried. It's served with a refreshing salsa of pineapple, basil and onions ($5.80).

On the other hand, there was little Cajun about the Cajun Chicken ($4.95), which was not much different from the home-style broiled chicken.

For dessert, Ted's Bakery pies are available.

The restaurant continues to evolve. Takushi recently picked up more hands to help him on the broiler. Plan B may soon be back on the table.

See a listing of past restaurants reviewed in the
Do It Electric!

section online. Click the logo to go!

Nadine Kam's restaurant reviews run on Thursdays. Reviews are conducted anonymously and paid for by the Star-Bulletin. Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants:

-- excellent;
-- very good, exceeds expectations;
-- average;
-- below average.

To recommend a restaurant, write: The Weekly Eater, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802. Or send e-mail to

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