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New restaurant Scratch draws brunch, lunch crowd

By Elizabeth Kieszkowski

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 12:18 p.m. HST, Jul 16, 2014


When you think of Honolulu's Chinatown, you don't necessarily think brunch -- unless you're heading for dim sum. But Scratch, a new restaurant on Smith Street, is looking to expand the trendy vibe that's emanating from the district.

Scratch celebrated its grand opening on Tuesday and will offer all-day brunch and lunch with Creole-inspired and other tasty fusion plates from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Dinner will be offered from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.

The restaurant had its soft opening Thursday and drew enough of a crowd to run out of food. Customers are still discovering the menu during mid-morning hours, though.

Chef and owner Brian Chan, who formerly manned the kitchen at Restaurant Epic, is behind the new restaurant. He's making a bet that menu items such as Creole Shrimp 'n' Grits ($14) -- with "grits" that can also be described as "smoked cheddar polenta," andouille sausage, fried egg and gravy -- and Tiramisu Pancakes ($10 and sold out on Tuesday) will draw diners to a daytime spot.

More breakfast options include The Sylvie ($11), with griddled banana bread, praline-coated bacon, salted peanut gelato and caramelized banana, and Calentado ($14), with house-rubbed beef short rib, sofrito rice, fried eggs, jalapeno "chips" and salsa verde.

The dinner menu wasn't available during our visit, but lunchtime menu offerings include Pulled Pork Won Ton Posole ($7), a Summer Salad ($12) with watermelon, cucumber, tomato, arugula, feta, pine nuts, golden raisins and sherry vinaigrette, and Moroccan Chicken "Caesar" Salad ($12) made with baby kale, burgers ($12) made with Big Island beef and "kalbi" meatloaf ($14).

The airy, contemporary room, with a counter allowing diners to watch as prep cooks make pasta and plate dishes, seats about 30.

The restaurant is close to other trendy sites, including Lucky Belly (and Lucky Belly owner Dusty Grable's soon-to-open Livestock, the former Amy's Place) at the intersection of Smith and Hotel, and Pig & the Lady at 83 N. King St. It's also near Grondin French-Latin Kitchen, opened by New York City transplants Jenny Grondin and David Segarra on March 31, at 62 N. Hotel St.

Scratch is also makai from thriving Chinese restaurant Little Village on Smith Street, founded by Brian Chan's parents, Kenneth and the late Jennifer Chan.

Find Scratch at 1030 Smith St. Call (808) 536-1669.

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Elizabeth Kieszkowski is editor of TGIF, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's weekly arts and entertainment section. Reach her via email at ekieszkowski@staradvertiser.com or follow her on Twitter.






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