Several months ago (ok, maybe more than a year ago) a friend told me about Aloha Mondays as a place to get creative island cuisine with a gourmet flair. I tucked it away in my “I’ll get to it” mental file (where things often go but never come back). In January, as I was downtown running errands and thinking about lunch, I remembered that I had not tried Aloha Mondays yet. I went online and saw that one of their offerings that week was crispy liliko’i chicken with garlic rice, and ‘uala potato salad. It sounded amazing, so I ordered it.
It took a minute to find the location of Aloha Mondays (on Lono Street, at the intersection with Kilauea) with the understated sign and secret-club-like order and pick up windows. I grabbed my to-go container, and it was HEAVY. I drove down to the Coconut Island parking lot and opened the box to find so much beautiful food! The chicken was crispy and sticky at the same time; the liliko’i flavor was not hiding. The garlic rice and the potato salad were a great pairing with the chicken. I will admit that I ate every morsel, even though I was full. I just could not stop; a bite of chicken with a dollop of potato salad dipped in the rice- over and over until it was pau. No need for dinner that night!
I have since been back to Aloha Mondays three or four times, and each time the food is so well thought out with the flavor profiles of each component complementing and not competing with the others. Recently we enjoyed a Friday night repast of Mahi Mahi fish and chips with sweet potato fries and coleslaw, along with the shrimp and sausage pasta and the kabocha squash tortellini (Blue Zones special!). It was so good that I forgot to take pictures! Last week I had the pork belly and kimchi jjigae for lunch (again, so much food, but this time I took the leftovers home), and the grilled shrimp Caesar salad for dinner. This time I remembered to get pictures.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that Aloha Mondays operates just a bit differently than other restaurants. They serve lunch and dinner Mondays through Fridays, but you must pre-order your meals online for pickup or delivery. They can now take same-day orders up to 4 p.m. The menu rotates each week, so you get different choices all of the time (this week’s meals focused on St. Patrick’s Day). You can always see what each meal looks like each week on their Instagram page. This Friday, I already have my order in for dinner: Reuben sandwich with chips for him, balsamic grilled pork chop for me. After eating Chef Kanoa’s food several times now, I can see how Aloha Monday can be just as good as Aloha Friday!
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