Hidden gem: Da Hub

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Da Hub crew

Da Hub crew

If you’re in the mood for some onolocious local-style grinds with outside-the-box flavors, generous servings and supah dupah fresh fish, look no further than Da Hub in Kalihi. This new eatery opened its doors a few months ago and has emerged as a hot hidden spot for smoked fish, fresh poke, plate lunches and mind-blowingly delicious desserts, all crafted with unique flavor combinations. Think PB&J poke (yes, peanut butter & jelly — believe me, it’s delicious), turkey tails that have been guava-smoked and deep-fried, Dragon Rolls of bacon wrapped around sausage, asparagus and scallops, and li hing dried ahi.

They take flavors and mix, toss, fry or sprinkle them together. It may sound a bit out of this world, but that’s what Da Hub is all about.

Tsunami: bacon wrapped mix includes imitation crab, shrimp and cream cheese; Snaps Roll of bacon-wrapped sausage and asparagus

Tsunami Rolls of bacon wrapped around imitation crab, shrimp and cream cheese; Snaps Roll of bacon-wrapped sausage and asparagus

Always cheery, Stevens Kealoha Fernandez is one of the owners of this family-owned and -operated business. After 20 years in the industry, he started his own wholesale company, Kealoha Seafoods, a year and a half ago. Da Hub was supposed to be an outlet for people to purchase fresh fish items, but it evolved into a takeout joint. “This is all new to us,” Fernandez says. “We are learning. We follow what the customer wants.”

Seared Ahi with kale

Seared ahi with kale

They’ve got simpler stuff, too: seared ahi, garlic shrimp, fried chicken, pork chops, ribeye steak. But what they are known for is fresh fish direct from the auction. Poke can be customized, with five seafood choices, 19 toppings and 13 sauces. “We cater to customers making their own poke,” Fernandez explains, “so it’s more fun when the customer asks for it the way they want it.”

Customizable poke combinations made to order and "tossed" in a zip lock bag.

Customizable poke combinations made to order and tossed in a zip bag

Plates lunches run $7.95 to $10.95 and come with rice and a choice of tossed kale or Da Kine salad, a potato-mac salad with egg and imitation crab. There’s a choice of sauces to drizzled or dip on da side: spicy mayo, sweet chili mayo, sweet ginger, miso fusion, Da Hub’s Secret Sauce (which I am told is like ranch dressing with Sriracha) or wasabi mayo.

Fresh, homemade desserts

Fresh, homemade desserts

Make sure you save room for dessert! Up to four people make the desserts you’ll see on any given day. Not Just Cakes makes killer Poi Crunch, little squares of mac nut-crusted poi filling topped with haupia whipped cream. These were mildly sweet with a hint of salt, crunch and poi. Seriously, oh my gosh I was so full but I couldn’t control myself, I could not stop eating this poi crunch.

A relative who runs Nancy’s Treats makes macarons, cheesecake loaves and parfaits. And last but not least, Kea’s housemade mochi donuts are mochi that’s flavored with mango, lilikoi, peanut butter or chocolate. These are deep-fried and rolled in sugar — little balls of sweet, fruity heaven! My eyes lit up when I popped one in my mouth.

If you’re in the area check out this new place, you’ll be glad you did. Happy eating!

Da Hub
1328 Middle St. (Ewa side just before Fern Elementary)
Honolulu, HI 96819
808-847-POKE

Monday-Thursday 10am-8pm
Friday 10am-10pm
Saturday 9am-10pm
Sunday 10am-7pm