This spot has graced the East Village since 2015, and for some reason, it caught my attention for brunch this past Easter. I thought it would make for a departure from tradition in an almost rebellious way. Found out it was a fantastic choice with truly enjoyable, and sharable, upscale Hawaiian food that covered all the bases. The Tuna Poke is a must order. It was delightfully-sesame-fresh with macadamia nuts, for crunch and pickled jalapeños for heat. (seen in the photo at the top of this post)
The elevated Hawaiian cuisine mostly focuses on seafood with Japanese/Korean influences. But you don’t have to be a sushi lover to eat here, there is a great assortment of meats and veggies and lots of small dishes to share. It was originally opened by three former Per Se chefs, and now run by Chef and co-owner Chung Chow.
The sophisticated wine list definitely adds to the gourmet experience. I considered bringing a bottle to take advantage of Noreetuh’s corkage-free Sundays, but wanted to sample some wines from their innovative list, which won Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence in 2018 and 2019. I started with a sparkling 2016 Riesling by Dr. Lippold, whom I was told is an 80-year old German winemaker who frequents the place. It was nicely dry with a slightly rose floral aroma. Lovely and light. The second wine Domaine De La Bergerie Brut Rosé, Preambule, Crémant De Loire 2015 was a lovely accompaniment to the food, so after ordering a glass, we decided to get a bottle.
Musubi, which had entire section on the menu is a popular Hawaiian snack made with rice and various ingredients wrapped in nori seaweed, and nicely divided into three pieces. The one in the photo above: Spicy Spam Musubi with pickled jalapeño and soy mayo. Right, the front dining area which faces First Avenue has an entire wall graced with polaroids of customers. They did not take our photo while we were there, though (sigh).
Cocktails were awfully crafty. Here is the Lychee Highball made with yuzu sake, and lychee purée. Fruity, light, not-too-sweet. Right, some more Musubi. Bottom, with shiitake mushroom and top, braised short rib and kimchi.
This was my favorite item of the meal: Katsu Sando, a breaded Berkshire pork cutlet with pickled red cabbage served on a King’s Hawaiian bun. The sauce had a bit of a kick to it. Right, delighted to be out and about.
Shishito peppers with more tastes of spam livened up the meal. Right, the bar, which we were sitting against with various Hawaiian accoutrement.
Close up of the bar, with pineapple, the sign of hospitality. The name noreetuh, means playground in Korean, and this place did have many touches of playfulness.
From the Mains portion of the menu. Though, admittedly, a departure from Hawaiian fare, we did truly enjoy this buckwheat pasta dish with truffles. Right, steak was served sliced with a lively salad.
Dessert: A kind of surprise, artful presentation for the Chocolate Haupia Sundae: graham crackers, almonds, Hawaiian black salt, and coconut ice cream. Quite delish. Right, I always go for Asian-inspired ice cream flavors, these three were not-too-sweet and a perfect way to end the feast, black sesame, coconut, and passionfruit.
Noreetuh, 128 1st Avenue (betw 7th/8th St)