Slowly but surely, the Tendernob - our least favorite neighborhood to mention out loud - is coming into its own. First there was Huxley, and now there’s the Hawaii-inspired Liholiho Yacht Club, brought to you from the crew behind Nopa/Nopalito. While you’ve probably never said the words “yacht club” and “tenderloin” in the same sentence (unless you were talking about how incredible the pork entree at St Francis is), you’re going to be saying it a lot more soon. Liholiho is in town and serving up some crazy good plates in an chill, laid-back space that lets you enjoy your meal on island time.
The open, bright, yellow-tiled kitchen is the focal point of the space, and it’s sort of what we’d imagine Jack Johnson’s kitchen would be like if he employed a full time cooking staff. The food, new American with some Asian touches, is in no way reminiscent of traditional Hawaiian expectations - the menu has $120 caviar as its canned delicacy rather than Spam. But let us be clear: this is not a complaint. Everything we ate was awesome, and it’s a great place to hit up with a group to share all the things. Especially the game hen, which is literally an entire fried bird on a plate.
True, Liholiho is nowhere near the water. There are no yachts, and the tiled floors and light-wood booths give it a more upscale burger joint feel than members-only yacht club - but the relaxed atmosphere and dishes made for sharing made us want to throw our lifejackets and boat shoes in a locker and post up here for the whole night. This is the kind of place you can leisurely hang out for several hours while drinking awesome creative cocktails and listening to some Bob Marley, and not feel rushed. There’s no sign, so the only way to confirm that you’re wandering into the right doorway in the ’loin is the “Aloha” tiles at the entrance. Once you cross that threshold, you’ll be happy you did.
This appetizer comes with nori crackers and super fresh tuna. Only problem is that it’s only two per order.
There are three carrots total, and this just wasn’t all that inspiring. We’d pass on this.
The octopus is solid, but the real winners are the incredibly good fried potatoes and salty green olives that come with it.
The clams are cooked just right and the curry, spicy and just the right amount of rich.
You know what makes fried chicken better? Calling it fried game hen and serving it with insanely crispy, addictive fried kale. Get this.
The miso honey mustard that comes with the pork shoulder is a new condiment obsession. We also hear excellent things about the twice cooked pork shank.