When Bread + Butter first opened in the former Angelo Pietro spot (next to Shokudo), I was all about the breakfast and lunch offerings. I’ve become a regular there because I like to coffice, with their wifi and bright surroundings.
Well, they’re classing up the place for dinner: they turn off the wifi at 5 p.m., turn on the mood lighting and bring out a pretty good and reasonable dinner menu, one that is appropriate for date night or a girl’s night out.
On this night, I went to unwind with Japanese blogger Ritsuko Kukonu. First order of business? Champagne, of course. Which was actually kind of dumb because Bread + Butter has an extensive pinot menu.
It seems like chef Masa Gushiken loves his black truffles, as you’ll see in the next photos. The truffle egg custard is a decadent way to start, and it’s baked into its own shell for super cute presentation.
You’ve seen the chicken liver pate before in my first preview. This made it onto the dinner menu. I could just eat this for dinner, honestly.
Masa has two “ajillo” dishes: tako ajillo, and mushroom ajillo. It means “cooked in garlic,” and these are served in a butter sauce with his homemade foccacia. It’s so tender and it seems so simple, but it does have Spanish flair.
Masa, by the way, was born and raised in Argentina, so he’s fluent in Spanish and his dishes have Latino flair. I asked him if his core identity felt more Spanish or Japanese, and he replied, “Definitely Spanish.”
You don’t see steamed mussels served this way in Hawaii much, so it was nice to see this little pot — perfect for solo diners — with wine and herb broth.
I don’t know about you, but I rarely order chicken when I go out to dinner. In this case, though, I’m happy to make the exception. The truffle chicken is a whole game hen stuffed with truffle and soy rice. They usually cut it up for you so you don’t have to mess with cutting all the pieces yourself, but on this night, Masa wanted to plate it this way so it would be more photogenic. It’s very tender and juicy with the rich flavors of the truffle and soy, but very subtle so that the flavors don’t overwhelm each other.
On this night the catch of the day was moi — the choices are driven by whatever Masa finds at the market that day. He cooks it up with Mediterranean flavors and ingredients, like butter, garlic, herbs, olives, and tomatoes, and serves it with clams and mussels. Be careful when you eat this, though, as the fish is not deboned.
Carbonara is probably one of my favorite pasta dishes, and Masa kicked it up a notch with some black truffle for the pasta of the day. Yum! I personally didn’t think he had to add the truffle as the smoky bacon chunks pretty much took over the flavor of the dish, and that was totally wonderful. If I had one complaint about this pasta, it is that I would want more bacon chunks in it!
I’m a huge fan of lamb chops, so this plate — with arugula and parmesan cheese — was one of my favorites, and I did pair it with a pinot noir for added decadence. The lamb was super tender, and even Ritsuko admitted it was not gamey at all. Masa makes this with fresh figs, but I think this time he used pomegranates, since they are in season. And that was an amazing choice! The pomegranate reduction gave the chops a lovely sweet-sour tang to wake up the overall flavor. I think the pomegranate reduction may be one of my new favorite accents for lamb.
The porcini risotto was definitely one of our favorites. Risotto itself is rich and creamy, and the mushroom essence gives it another layer of earthy richness. This is good on its own or to share with the other entrees.
There’s no dessert, but you probably won’t have room for it. We certainly didn’t. I guess if you really need something sweet, you can head next door to Shokudo for honey toast.
Bread + Butter
1585 Kapiolani Blvd.