Bluetree Cafe is known for its health-conscious coffee drinks and cold-pressed juice cleanses, but when I saw a recent post on Instagram, I had to stop scrolling to make sure my eyes did not deceive me.
A glass of wine for $5? Wait, Bluetree Cafe now serves wine? It seemed too good to be true.
Well, it's true. Bluetree Cafe's Kapiolani Boulevard location debuted a new wine bar. I called to make a reservation, just in case it was busy, and went for dinner a few days later. We were the only party there.
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You can sit inside or out on the patio, where we settled. Utensils and glasses are distributed once you're seated, along with a self-serve carafe of water. The small food menus are in plastic frames but a printed wine menu wasn't available. If you want to see the featured selection, take a look at the shelf where there are at least eight wines choose from.
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The wine list will change monthly but the very reasonable price points of $5 per-glass and $18 for a full bottle are indefinite, according to cafe manager Royce Takahashi. Kevin Aoki, founder and CEO of Aoki Group whose portfolio includes Bluetree Cafe and Doraku Sushi, selects the wines himself. The featured selection this month includes a 2017 Boen Pinot Noir, 2018 Dona Paula Rose of Malbec, 2014 Butter Block Chardonnay and 2012 Carne Humana Napa Valley Red Blend.
Fortunately, you can sample the wines before settling on a glass.
The menu is limited to a selection of sandwiches, salads and wraps. The vegetarian Bluetree Club sandwich and Namaste Curry Wrap with housemade tofu curry are recommended by the staff but I'm focused on the $14.95 charcuterie plate. The food menu, along with wine service, begins at 11 a.m..
This charcuterie board features generous portions of cheddar, Gruyere, Parmesan, hot Genoa salami, peppered Genoa salami and prosciutto; the selection changes each week. I especially enjoy the finely sliced prosciutto and peppered Genoa salami's lingering spice and grainy texture. The board is accompanied by almonds, berries and olives, all good palate cleansers.
Note: The charcuterie board was $14.95 during our soft opening visit. It's now $16 with slightly larger portions and the addition of crackers.
To balance out the savory charcuterie, we also try a salad of grilled mushroom skewers on a bed of mixed greens. The bouncy texture of the Hamakua mushrooms is delightful, as is the acidic balsamic flavor. The salad also comes with a flavorful and refreshing ponzu vinaigrette. If you want a lighter meal that doesn't sacrifice flavor, this is the way to go.
I'm delighted that my eyes did not deceive me. Bluetree's wine bar menu is a great value pau hana option in Kakaako and I'll definitely be back.
Bluetree Cafe Pacifica
1009 Kapiolani Blvd.
Mon-Fri 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat-Sun 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Free parking in Pacifica Honolulu before 3:30 p.m.; $6 valet after 3:30 p.m.