Food that will transport you to the beaches of Hawaii
Hawaii is one of those places everyone wants to go to. Clear and beautiful beaches, amazing scenery, and the ideal place to kick back and relax. But another thing Hawaii does well is food. In comes noreetuh, an intimate restaurant in the East Village that specialized in traditional Hawaiian cuisine. As you can imagine, a lot of the dishes are seafood based since Hawaii is known for its amazing seafood. From crudo to poke to delicious fried chicken, noreetuh is definitely a spot where you can enjoy and appreciate all that Hawaiian cuisine has to offer.
Noreetuh is known for one of the most expansive wine lists around. In fact, noreetuh has received the prestigious Wine Spectator award since 2018 and in 2021 as well as being recommended by the Michelin Guide. If you look at their wine list from their site, you immediate notice that there is over 20 pages worth of wine that guests can select from. Noreetuh offers both by the glass and by the bottle, and all the wines that they offer are as delicious as the next. Even more is that when we asked about some of the wines, our server had extensive knowledge on the notes and tones of each wine we were thinking of which led to us having some great wine. But if wine isn’t your preferred drink of choice, noreetuh has some delectable cocktails to choose from as well. To start we tried both the coconut sangria and the lychee highball. The coconut sangria is made with Butterfly Pea Soju, coconut cream, and mint syrup. It is a fairly simple cocktail but the presentation is one thing that sets it apart. At the very top of the drink is a visually stunning royal purple color that is bleeding down into the white creamy cocktail at the bottom. Taking the first sip, you notice how smooth and light this drink is which was impressive since you would think the addition of coconut cream would make the drink a little more heavy and frothy. The coconut notes come forward but isn’t something that is too sweet thanks to the butterfly pea soju. It is light and refreshing and feels like this is a drink you could have sitting on the beaches of Hawaii.
The lychee highball was next and this was made with Yuzu sake and Lychee puree. This drink was really refreshing and had distinguishable lychee notes to it which made it so delightful to drink.
For our food we started off with some Musubi. Musubi is a popular Hawaiian snack made with rice and protein and is wrapped in a sheet of nori seaweed. For those who like sushi, this would be the snack for you. We tried the spicy SPAM and the galbi. The spicy SPAM was paired with pickled jalapeno and soy mayo. The jalapeno added a great crunchy texture to the dish as well as adding some nice acidity and a subtle heat to the fish. The SPAM was nice and meaty which provided a burst of umami to the dish as well as bringing some salinity to the dish which paired excellently with the pickled jalapeno. The galbi is braised short rib paired with kimchi. This dish was one of our favorites where the short rib melted in your mouth and had a burst of umami flavor to it. This dish was made to be eaten in one bite and when done so has a wonderful texture where the meat melts in your mouth. Paired with the kimchi adds a great kick of acidity to the dish as well as adding a nice crunch to the bite.
We also tried the seared Hokkaido scallops which was a recent addition to the menu. This dish has seared scallops cooked to perfection, topped with a thick meaty cut of bacon and is paired with delicious apples. The scallops were tender and had a beautiful sweetness to it which is a testament to how fresh the scallops were. Pairing it with the thick and tender bacon adds a saltiness to it that blends perfectly with the natural sweetness from the scallops. And then you add the pieces of apple and you get a nice crunchy texture with some additional sweetness which helps reinvigorate your palette with each bite. This dish has the perfect balance of salty and sweet flavors and it something we would love to order each time we visit noreetuh.
Moving onto the mains we tried the sea urchin cavatelli and the half portion of the mochiko fried chicken. When we got these two dishes in front of us, we couldn’t help but laugh because the portioning of the two dishes were so different. The chicken dish had 6 large pieces of chicken paired with a macaroni salad, pickles, and some Hawaiian rolls. This dish could easily feed a party of 2 alone. The cavatelli on the other hand was a smaller portion that one expects from a fine dining restaurant like noreetuh. Starting with the mochiko chicken, the chicken skin was incredibly crispy with such a moist interior. And there was so much meat to each piece of chicken that you could easily get full from just one piece. The macaroni salad on the side was nice and cool and added a subtle sweetness to it. What was great about this macaroni salad was that it wasn’t too heavy from the mayo which made it easy for us to want to go back and have some more. The pickles on the side were amazing, having such a satisfying bite to it leading into a burst of bright acidity that helped perk up our palette. And he pairing of Hawaaian rolls was great with the pillowy dough and the slight honey sweetness that each roll had. Paired all together led to amazing bites where every note balanced each other out.
The sea urchin cavatelli was made with Santa Barbar uni, shrimp, and yuzu. This dish looked so delicate and was very appealing to look at. But as soon as we took one bite, we were hit with a myriad of flavors and notes. The sauce of the pasta was creamy and melded well with the creaminess of the uni. The pasta was cooked well and had a little bite to it which added some texture to the dish. Pairing the uni with the pasa led to such a beautiful bite full of sweetness and have a creamy, luscious finish to it. Also pairing it with the shrimp adds more texture to the dish as well as adding the shrimp’s natural sweetness to it. This dish did a masterful job of incorporating and layering a variety of sweet notes into this dish and made it equally as savory too. This is definitely a must have when coming to noreetuh and was a highlight for our night here.
We ended our meal with the bruleed Hawaaian pineapple which was paired with lime zest and alaea salt. The presentation of the dish was fun where you are presented with half of a pineapple still in the husk. The pineapple is cut up into multiple pieces and you could see the caramelized sugar sitting right on top of each pineapple piece. Each slice was easy to pick up and can be eaten in a single bite. Btu with each bite you are met with a burst of sweetness that showcases the pineapple’s natural flavors. The brueleed sugar adds an extra layer of sweetness along with a nice textural crunch to it. The cherry on top though was the alaea salt which balanced out all the sweetness and resembled somewhat of a salted cameral flavor.All in all, noreetuh does a masterful job of showcasing Hawaiian cuisine. Be sure to check out noreetuh in the East Village for some delicious food that you will be sure to remember for a long time after.