I would drive an hour out of my way to eat the furikake fries and wasabi mayo that Nuka serves at lunch. Even if you aren’t as crazy about furikake fries, there is plenty to love on this lunch menu.
The first thing to know is lunch hour runs from 10am to 1:30pm. I recommend an early lunch because sitting in their dining room during the daytime is exquisite. They have cushioned seating along one wall and tables for more intimate conversation. The beautiful gyotaku artwork and simple design makes for an eloquent lunch setting in Haiku. It’s even better if you can take a long midday meal and enjoy one of their sumptuous wines or beer with lunch. They just added Friday to their weekday-only schedule, and you can plan accordingly.
One of their signature dishes at lunch is the saimin, made with fresh noodles from the Sun Noodle Factory. The noodles are amazing, my 10-year-old daughter and 21-year-old nephew both equally grinded every single noodle in their saimin bowls, leaving me not a drop extra to scrounge. Luckily I tasted it before they dove in. But even more incredible than the ultimate al dente noodle is their dashi made with fish bones. It’s crave-worthy, pristine clear broth is light on the palate and doesn’t come off as rich or fishy.
The menu works like this for the noodles: order your size and preparation first. A small is $6, regular is $9 and large is $12. There are three preps: choose from saimin, or a dry mein that comes pan-seared with broth on the side, or the stir fry with garlic and chili. Then you choose your noodle toppings–you get two with your order but can add more for a $1 each. For toppings there are smoked pork, egg, wakame, mixed veggie, BBQ beef stick, fish ball and smoked tako.
I knew that Nuka was doing saimin but I was surprised to see burgers on the menu. There are just two options: Maui Cattle Company beef or the “Chop-Chop,” a chopped local fish and veggie patty. After inquiring with my server on the fish (ahi) and the vegetables (carrot and green onion), I absolutely could not resist trying the Chop Chop. Burgers come with cheese ($5), deluxe ($6–lettuce, tomato, onion) and double ($9). Sides of fries are $3 or a basket is $6. The fries come lightly dusted with furikake and include a highly addictive wasabi mayo dip.
They also offer salads and acai bowls with small or larger options. I have to order their salad–somehow it offsets my guilt for consuming the fries–and it’s delicious. The hijiki and cucumbers are marvelous along with the house shio koji dressing. The acai bowl includes your pick from 10 healthy toppings like papaya and hemp seeds.
Nuka also has a great dinner menu serving Japanese cuisine and sushi 4:30-10pm. For more info call 808-572-2939.
780 Haiku Rd.
Want to read about their dinner menu?