New Hawaiian restaurant and bar opens in East Sacramento, California

Yellowfin tuna and seaweed salad from Sunh Fish. Macadamia nut waffles topped with chicken katsu and sriracha mango syrup. Homemade linguica, noodles and “Spam”, the last of which is also available in vegan form.

Hawaii’s home-cooked food and flavors will receive an elevated treat at Kau Kau, Amanda Bridger and Chris Tocchini’s new East Sacramento restaurant. It opens Wednesday and replaces Evan’s Kitchen & Catering at 855 57th St., Suite C in 57th Street Antique Mall.

Kau Kau, a pop-up that took up residence in Midtown Sacramento’s Cider House during the COVID-19 pandemic, now has more than 2,000 square feet and a full kitchen, allowing for an expanded menu with more frying and grilling.

Bridger will share the kitchen with Rocco Holding, a veteran chef from Philadelphia who cooked at The Waterboy and Brasserie Du Monde after moving to Sacramento in 2018. Tocchini will manage the restaurant’s front-of-house.

Bridger made Kau Kaus flagship dishes like poke and plate lunches. Holding will be at the forefront of offerings, homemade spice blends and slaughter of whole animals, making Kalua pork from a pork and saiminfond from its bones.

“We had to cut corners before out of necessity and use things that came out of a package, maybe. It’ll all be (with) homemade details,” Bridger said. then it grows only a little bit. “

That means things like furikake-covered baked tofu ($ 14), topped with a miso-ginger sauce and served with macaroni salad or pineapple slaw. Huli-huli chicken ($ 16), the islands’ offering of grilled chicken with a characteristic sweet icing, is another brick and mortar addition.

Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl is one of Kau Kau’s specialties. Cameron Clark

A Sacramento brunch place

Kau Kau hopes to absorb Evans’ brunch traffic with items like the tarokagen benedict ($ 16) topped with poached eggs and sesame miso “hollandaise”. A noodle soup called chicken long rice ($ 13) is intended as a hangover cure for students in Sacramento State, though those with a sweet tooth might prefer Punalu’u Bake Shop taro French toast with pineapple-ginger compote and rum whipped cream ($ 14).

“My ultimate goal is to remain committed to the soul of classic Hawaiian comfort food, while also having fun in the kitchen interpreting these tastes in creative ways,” Bridger wrote in an email.

Kau Kau’s décor spans comfort and modernity in the same way. Two-leafed fans lazily cut air over a mostly white dining room stained by potted plants, hanging nautical ropes and Bridger’s old family photos of Hawaii. An eight-seater round table sits in the center of the dining room, surrounded by cabins and a small bar.

Dismissed from his job as a cocktail waitress in San Francisco in March 2020, Bridger began cooking for neighbors and reassessing his career during the pandemic. She found that she had begun to move toward comfort food in Hawaii, where her great-grandfather immigrated from Scotland and many relatives still live.

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Homemade Spam Musubi is one of the many items on the Kau Kaus menu. Cameron Clark

Expands the bar menu

She and Tocchini, a San Francisco bartender and manager for 25 years, came to Sacramento to host a pop-up on The Golden Bear and eventually moved to the city to launch Kau Kau inside the Cider House.

As the menu has expanded with the East Sacramento launch, so has the beverage list.

Local beers from breweries like King Cong, Bike Dog and next door Porchlight across the street will flow from most of the bar’s taps, though Kau Kau will also carry Kona Brewing Co.’s Longboard Island Warehouse. Wine will be $ 8- $ 15 per glass and $ 25- $ 76 per bottle, with a few 300-milliliter bottles chilled sake for $ 20 or less.

Kau Kau will be open 13.00-21.00 the first day, then 11.30 to 21.00 Wednesday to Friday, 10.00 to 21.00 Saturday and 9.30 to 15.00 Sunday.

This story was originally published May 10, 2022 at 06.00.

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Benjy Egel covers local restaurants and bars for The Sacramento Bee as well as general news and exploration projects. He is a native of Sacramento and has previously covered business for the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas.

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