It’s here: Peter Merriman’s Moku Kitchen

Back in January, we announced Moku Kitchen was coming to SALT at Our Kakaako. In February we threw our epic Something New SALT party with a taste of what was coming to the complex between Keawe and Coral streets. Finally, Moku Kitchen opens today with a full menu of Peter Merriman’s signature mauka-to-makai dishes.

 

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If you’ve been to Monkeypod Kitchen in Ko Olina, which I’m a huge fan of, then you’ll find Moku Kitchen to be very familiar. The menu is almost identical with many of my favorite dishes like the roasted chicken wings, wood-fired pizzas and squash ravioli – except at Moku Kitchen they cost about 15 to 20 percent less. That’s because at this 7,000-sf space, Merriman has to target not the resort crowd, but a local, urban demographic.

Oh, and yes, there will be happy hour specials from 3 to 5:30 p.m. daily. Squeee!

The rum daiquiri ($8.50) is one of 12 classic cocktails on the bar menu at Moku. On happy hour, this sucker is only $5.50.

The rum daiquiri ($8.50) is one of 12 classic cocktails on the bar menu at Moku. At happy hour, this sucker is only $5.50.

Happy hour drink specials
$3 off all beers $9 and over, all other draft beers $4.75
$7 house white and house red wines by the glass
$5.50 classic well cocktails
$8.50 Moku Libations craft cocktails

Happy hour food specials
50 percent off all appetizers (with the exception of raw bar mixed plate and poke tacos)
$9 wood-fired pizzas

Wood-roasted jidori chicken wings with garlic, rosemary and a cooling tzatziki sauce ($14)

Wood-roasted jidori chicken wings (about seven drumettes) with garlic, rosemary and a cooling tzatziki sauce ($14). – Photo by Grant Shindo.

What also sets Moku Kitchen apart from its Monkeypod brother is that it has a rotisserie oven. Expect juicy rotisserie jidori chickens, slabs of Big Island prime rib, unctuous roast duck tacos and more.

Like its sibling, Moku will also have over 30 craft beers on tap (drafted at no more than 29 degrees F). In addition to 50 or so bottled wines, the bar will also offer 12 biodynamic kegged wines on tap. “Biodynamic” wine is just fancy terminology for organic grapes that have been grown without pesticides or chemicals and harvested in sync with lunar calendars.

The half rotisserie chicken is marinated in herbs and served on a bed of organic greens, vine ripened tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta and a mushroom tomato compote ($27). It's juicy and so flavorful that I couldn't stop picking at what was left.

The half rotisserie chicken is marinated in herbs and served on a bed of organic greens, vine ripened tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta and a mushroom tomato compote ($27). It’s juicy and so flavorful that I couldn’t stop picking at what was left. – Photo by Grant Shindo.

At our Something New SALT event, executive chef Todd Constantino served up some bomb bulgogi tacos with a kick. It looks like they’ve made it onto Moku’s regular menu alongside the previously stated roast duck (Constantino’s favorite item), potato and fresh fish tacos. Wood-fired pizzas, a staple at Monkeypod, are also at Moku, but here they’re trying out a new technique – they’re letting the dough rise for three days before turning it into pizza crusts.

The kalua pork pizza ($16) is topped with a house made macadamia nut pesto, chunks of roasted pineapple, jalapeno and pulled kalua pork. This whole pie would be $9 on happy hour.

The kalua pork pizza ($16) is topped with a housemade macadamia nut pesto, roasted pineapple, jalapeno and kalua pork. This whole pie would be $9 at happy hour.

One of my favorites from Monkeypod, the squash ravioli made with roasted squash, chevre, spinach and walnut sage pesto ($12).

One of my favorites from Monkeypod, the squash ravioli made with roasted squash, chevre, spinach and walnut sage pesto ($12). This is $6 at happy hour.

I could indulge in these pork potstickers ($10) all day, especially with hot mustard and that habanero pineapple marmalade. These are $5 on happy hour.

I could indulge in these pork potstickers ($10) all day, especially with hot mustard and the habanero pineapple marmalade. $5 at happy hour.

The garlic truffle hand cut fries ($8) are great to munch on with any of the 30+ craft beers on tap. $4 on happy hour.

The garlic truffle hand-cut fries ($8) are great to munch on with any of the 30-plus craft beers on tap. $4 at happy hour. – Photo by Grant Shindo.

If you’ve followed my recommendations closely, you just might be bursting at the seams but I must plead with you: Don’t overlook dessert because enormous slices of pie are almost mandatory here.

A thick slice of strawberry pie ($8) with a creamy filling and guava drizzle over top.

A thick slice of strawberry pie ($8) with a creamy filling and guava drizzle.

I had a hard time deciding which was my favorite, but I think I have to award that to the chocolate macadamia nut pie ($8). It's not too rich, which is perfect after a meal at Moku Kitchen.

I had a hard time deciding which was my favorite, but I think I have to award that to the chocolate macadamia nut pie ($8). It’s not too rich, which is perfect after a meal at Moku Kitchen.

 

Moku Kitchen
SALT at Our Kakaako
691 Auahi Street
Validated parking
Lunch 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Dinner Sunday – Thursday 4:30 – 11:00 p.m.; Friday & Saturday; 4:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
www.mokukitchen.com