Description and review of Kau Kau, a newly opened Hawaiian restaurant and bar located in East Sacramento.
Hawaiian restaurant Kau Kau had their Grand Opening earlier this month on May 11. Two friends and I arranged to check out the restaurant on a recent weekday.
Kau Kau is located in the 57th Street Antique Mall, in the space that previously housed Evan’s Kitchen. According to Kau Kau, the restaurant serves “Hawaiian comfort classics” with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Note: The Kau Kau website is currently “under construction” and there is currently no prominent outside signage to signify the restaurant location.
The day before our chosen lunch date, the Sacramento Bee published an article about the restaurant, prompting me to call to make a reservation for lunch. I discovered that Kau Kau does not take reservations – it is first come, first served.
As it turns out, when we arrived a bit after 1:00 p.m. we were seated immediately. We were later told that this past weekend there had been long lines and an equally long wait for brunch.
SacramentoRevealed.com – All Things Sacramento (from a personal perspective)
Kau Kau Hawaiian Restaurant
The restaurant space has been totally redone, and the venue is now open and modern. The Hawaiian décor is minimal, and a small bar sits in the back left corner of the dining area. The restaurant appears to me to be smaller and have fewer tables than did Evan’s Kitchen.
When we entered Kau Kau we were warmly greeted by Chris Tocchini, the co-owner in charge of the front of the house. He and co-owner Chef Amanda Bridges most recently had operated a pop-up inside The Golden Bear and then the Cider House before opening their own establishment.
Kau Kau Menu
To start, two of us ordered a glass of the house Old Soul Chardonnay ($7), while the third opted for a glass of iced tea.
While we were looking over the menu, I mentioned that I had read that the “spam” was house-made, so that settled the matter for one of my fellow diners.
Our order for lunch that day:
- Spam (three grilled slices of homemade spam or vegan omnipork, served with two scoops seasoned sushi rice or steamed brown rice and choice of traditional mac salad or vegan pineapple slaw) ($15)
- Ahi Poke Bowl (cubed raw yellowfin tuna dressed in sesame oil, tamari, a hint of sriracha, and tossed with green onion, yellow onion and sesame seeds served with greens and veggie toppings) ($20)
- Garlic Shrimp (crispy shrimp with garlic scampi sauce, two scoops seasoned sushi rice or steamed brown rice and choice of traditional mac salad or vegan pineapple slaw) ($17)
The house-made spam was the hit of the meal. Both the Ahi Poke Bowl and the Garlic Shrimp were also given high marks, and the sushi rice and steamed brown rice were done to perfection. The pineapple slaw was also said to be very tasty. The one “miss” of the meal was the mac salad. I unfortunately can only describe it as lacking in taste and dry – the complete opposite of what I had expected.
During our meal Chris stopped by the table to check in to see how we were doing. When we inquired about brunch his description of some of the dishes on the brunch menu had us vowing to return soon. I know one thing for sure – whatever I order for brunch it will involve “spam”.
To Sum Up
All in all, the three of us were very favorably impressed with Kau Kau. One friend commented, and I agree, that the ambiance of the dining experience would be enhanced if there were Hawaiian music playing in the background.
A Bit of Hawaiian Background
How do you pronounce “Kau Kau”?
The word is pronounced the same as you would pronounce “Cow Cow” in English.
What does “Kau Kau” mean in Hawaiian?
“Kau Kau” is a Hawaiian pidgin slang word meaning “to eat, to drink”. It is thought to be a corruption of a Chinese word. Similarly, the often-used word “grindz” is Hawaiian slang for “food”.
Hawaiian pidgin is a mix of Hawaiian, English, Japanese, Filipino, Chinese and Portuguese words.
Comments on Kau Kau Hawaiian Restaurant?
What has been your experience at Kau Kau?
Kau Kau Hawaiian Restaurant Snapshot:
- 855 57th Street, Suite C, Sacramento, CA 95819
- (916) 431-7043
- Closed Monday & Tuesday; Wednesday – Friday (11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.); Saturday (10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. & 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.); Sunday (10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
- Reservations – No
- Large Shared Parking Lot
Subscribe to SacramentoRevealed.com to receive the new and updated blog post newsletter direct to your inbox! Comments are welcome.