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Catering Excellence Continues at Kahai Street Kitchen

Kahai Street Kitchen: Rustic Tomato and Mozarella (Caprese) Salad with Sliced Black (and Green) Olives and Chiffonade of Fresh Basil

When you see not just one review, but an eventual subsequent repeat of many on one establishment alone on this blog, there’s only one thing that indicates: they’re good. Actually, better than good, they’re excellent! Just like the title says here, which we’re talking about once again with commander-in-Chief Nao Iwata and crew over at Kahai Street Kitchen in Kalihi.

Due to all the wonderful experiences our company has had with Kahai Street Kitchen’s catering services in the past, we looked no further than them once again to serve our lunch time hunger.

On today’s menu, Kahai Street Kitchen provided the Caesar Salad, a Rustic Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad, Chicken Medallions filled with Spinach and Mushrooms, Sauteed Mahimahi Dore with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce and Steamed White Rice.

As you’ll soon see, there was also a mouthwatering spread of home-made desserts supplied potluck style by several of our talented staff.

Let’s get right to it and see what’s on the buffet line, starting with Kahai Street Ktchen’s Rustic Tomato and Mozzarella (Caprese) Salad…

Kahai Street Kitchen: Rustic Tomato and Mozarella (Caprese) Salad with Sliced Black (and Green) Olives and Chiffonade of Fresh Basil

Salad fever continues with a Caesar…

Kahai Street Kitchen: Caesar Salad with Croutons and Parmesan Cheese

Like every good Caesar Salad should be done in catered form, Nao carefully separates and packs each component separately, keeping the leafy-green and fresh cut Romaine Lettuce isolated in a chilled pan tightly-sealed by plastic wrap…

Romaine Lettuce for Caesar Salad

And in a separate, handy-dandy “kit”, there’s the Caesar Dressing and grated Parmesan Cheese…

Caesar Salad Kit: Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese, Caesar Dressing and Mixing Gloves

Notice in the caption I said those gray latex things are mixing gloves, which are also included in this Caesar Salad “kit”. Now that’s what you call attention to detail!

And don’t forget to add the crispy, herby croutons…

As along with the other dishes, Nao instructed our “Food and Beverage Director of the Day” exactly how to combine the components for the Caesar Salad justbefore service.

The sum of those parts after combined results in the ready-to-serve, fresh-as-can-be Caesar Salad shown preceeding it.

After this, there was a pan of white steamed rice, which you already know what looks like, so next up after that are the two main entrees, including the Chicken Medallion…

Chicken Medallions filled with Spinach and Mushrooms with Natural Jus and Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

Note that this includes a ‘Natural Jus’, which is delivered to the site separately in a container like this….

Natural Jus for the Chicken Medallion

Nao instructed our ‘Food and Beverage Director for the Day’ (Diner T) to pour this on just before the lunch is served, which she did. This really made the chicken moist and punched out the flavors. So ono.

Accompanying the Chicken Medallions is this most excellent Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli…

Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli for the Chicken Medallions Filled with Spinach and Mushrooms

Adding the surf to the turf and rounding out the main dishes from Kahai Street Kitchen, we have the Sauteed Mahimahi Dore with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce…

Kahai Street Kitchen: Sauteed Mahimahi Dore

To that, again just before lunch (or dinner, or a midnight snack) is served, you pour on the Lemon Butter Caper Sauce…

Lemon Butter Caper Sauce for the Mahimahi Dore

Sauteed Mahimahi Dore with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce poured over the left row of fillets

Diner T’s theory on this was to give folks the option of sauce or no sauce. I’ll take SAUCE!

That rounds out the simple-yet-effective spread from Kahai Street Kitchen. The rest of what is shown was provided by the great team that makes up our office. Well OK, this next one wasn’t made by the contributor, but actually purchased from Golden Coin, and that would be none other than Lumpia…

Pork and Shrimp Lumpia with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce from Golden Coin

Now to the desserts, all of which were made by our talented team, starting with Diner EB’s almost too beautiful to eat Raspberry Cheesecake…

Diner EB’s scrumptious Raspberry Cheesecake

Just as visually-impressive is this “cupcake tree”….

Impressive, I must say!

Then a tray of caramel-laced brownies…

Like any other pie, custard doesn’t always have to be made in a round-shaped pan…

Going back and getting our Filipino groove on, we have this Fruit Salad, done in that style…

And a pan of Diner C’s Kakanin..

Kakanin Filipino Rice Cake, courtesy of Diner C

Wow!!! WHAT A SPREAD. Let’s make a plate!…

or two!…

Or three…

Ssshhh, hush, don’t tell her, but this plate shown above belongs to the Guest of Honor. He he.

Here’s my plate…

So how was it? Winnah, winnah chicken dinnah! Or, errr, make that lunch.

My personal favorite was that Rustic Rustic Tomato and Mozzarrella Cheese Caprese Salad, which, if I didn’t tell you, you may have thought was a Tofu Salad.

The combination of the firm and cold yet still flavorful mozzarella, along with the sweet ‘n acidic cherry tomatoes, and bold ‘n pungent olives, all coated in a Pesto dressing was power-packed with flavor, yet refreshing and light. Absolutely delicioso!

You could easily take that and throw it on a pizza crust or slice of french bread, then throw that in the oven until the Mozzarella melts and… BAM! that would make one fantastic Rustic Tomato and Mozza’ Pizza or Bruschetta snack!

Everything about the Caesar Salad was spot-on as well. While obviously not quite a made-from-scratch tableside-prepped affair, it still stood up to its name with respect. Actually, in a way it still was made table side, just not by a waiter in a 3-piece suit.

The Chicken Medallions filled with Spinach and Mushrooms was also so delicious. I especially loved how the “natural jus’ – which was in essence a chicken stock – really livened and moistened the rolled-up and roasted chicken. That, combined with the zesty, yet buttery Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli married it all together just beautifully. So beautiful. All that could have been desired more of this would have been if it were hotter, temperature-wise. Other than that, next to being fried, I don’t think chicken can get better than this. Honestly.

The Sauteed Mahimahi was also very moist and cooked just right, not overdone. Personally I think the lemon butter caper sauce from Kahai Street is too thick and dominating, but many I overheard talking about the food were raving about this one. To each their own of course. With that, I’d prefer a lighter sauce, like say a Ginger Soy and Sesame (Alan Wong’s), but dont’ get get me wrong, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

That completes the review of Nao’s most excellent-yet-again creations in catering on this occasion.

As for the other dishes, the Lumpia from Golden Coin was also masarap, so thanks go out to Priscilla on that! Diner questioned what was in it, and so did Priscilla herself, which I stand firm it being Pork and Shrimp. Firmly I stand by that. The dipping sauce tasted (and appeared like) a thinned-down Mae Ploy Sauce.

My favorite of the desserts was everything. That Raspberry Cheesecake was great, as was Diner C’s Kakanin. Here’s a better shot of her fabulous Kakanin…

Diner C’s Signature Kakanin Filipino Rice Cake Dessert

Oh, did I mention this was in celebration of a baby shower for our controller in accounting? Well it was, which also included these here handy-dandy Lauhala Box-wrapped Chocolates…

Awe, da’ cute! Notice the safety pin accessory and baby’s foot and hand prints tablecloth: the kind of details guys like us (or at least me) would normally overlook faster than a $10,000 Louis Vuiton handbag held in the hands of a gorgeous supermodel running across the street. lol

And for the expecting mom, “Diner T” (conratulations!), were – among MANY, MANY GIFTS! – this cool Whirly Gig presented by Diner S…

So the next time you have a baby shower, bridal shower, or are just too lazy to cook after taking a soapy, sudsy hot body shower with fifty or more of your closest, most attractive friends (now that’s HOT!), call up Nao at Kahai Street Kitchen in Kalihi and he’ll hook you up with da’ supah’ ono ‘kine grinds!

Kahai Street Kitchen
Plate Lunch and Catering
237 Kalihi Street (Kalihi and Kahai st., makai of Nimitz)
tel. 845-0320
fax, 842-4273

The Tasty Island rating*:
*Based on this catered menu of Caesar Salad, a Rustic Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad, Chicken Medallions filled with Spinach and Mushrooms, Sauteed Mahimahi Dore with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce and Steamed White Rice.

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

Related (Tasty Island) links:
Catering Excellence from Kahai Street Kitchen
Two Plates from Kahai Street Kitchen
The Catered Bento Lunch Hunt

9 thoughts on “Catering Excellence Continues at Kahai Street Kitchen

  • January 23, 2009 at 6:47 am

    That a fest ever. Chicken is so good looking with the aioli.

  • January 23, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Great. After seeing all the ono pictures, my home lunch will not cut it.

    The stuffed chicken, mahi, and caprese salad look like winners.

    Oh and the desserts……please stop the torture!

  • January 23, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Oh, baby shower. I was wondering how come so much food.

    It looks like Kahai Kitchen really goes the extra mile for their customers. Good for them!

  • January 23, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Nate ’88, Nao certainly does go the extra mile and doesn’t just dump the stuff by your front door as soon as he gets the check. You can tell he’s very much all about 100% customer satisfaction.

    Menehune, suprisingly even after enjoying that most delicious main course, I still had room to actually have a little of each dessert item. This certainly beat any home lunch, that’s for sure.

    Betty, come to find out, all that Aioli is made of is bottled sun-dried tomatoes from Costco, Mayonnaise and salt ‘n pepper, just combined in a food processor. Simple, yet sooooo ono!

    Nate, the mahi was nice and moist, not dried out. I just wish the lemon butter caper sauce was hotter. At room temperature, it doesn’t seem as “lively” on the palate.

  • January 23, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Catered parties? Pomai, I want to work for your company! Where do I send my resume? I have mad potluck skills and think I would be an invaluable asset to your company parties and potlucks. My last potluck for work I made tofu poke, broken glass jello, and Sam Choy’s hibachi chicken. Am I hired?!

    Just kidding of course. Seriously, people at your company eat really, really well. Where I work the only thing we have to look forward to is Bento-Man on Mondays and Thursdays; you should see the stampede when it’s announced that he’s arrived.

  • January 23, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I must say that you have a very talented group of co-workers. The desserts made me want to lick my monitor. After licking the mahimahi and chicken, of course.

  • January 24, 2009 at 12:28 am

    I need to try that place. Although I don’t work in Kalihi anymore, so I’m not in that part of town very often. Maybe the next time I go to Best Buy or Costco Iwilei I’ll head there.


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