Food play at Thank Q Pocha
Back and forth I go, from serious eats last week to the playful at Thank Q Pocha. Just after I said I have trouble with chefs playing with food, here's a restaurant that carries the idea of play to the extreme.
The difference is, Thank Q Pocha doesn't give the impression of begging "look at me" or trying to reinvent cuisine. It's just inviting the diner to have fun, and putting the diner first is a worthy pursuit.
The pocha is the Korean equivalent of the Japanese izakaya, so bring the party as food and drinks flow from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
The restaurant is in the space that was once home to Territorial Savings and later, Sushi San, on Kapiolani Boulevard, near Bank of Hawaii's Ala Moana Center branch. The first time I visited, I thought I was at the wrong place because the first word I saw painted on the glass windows was "Gracias." But look some more, and you'll find thanks in other languages as well.
If you’re after purely Korean flavors, this is not the place. The menu is a fusion of casual Asian and the American fast food, french fries ($5) and onion rings ($6) meets edamame ($5) and toppoki, the tubular, chewy rice cake ($8 to $15), with cheese apparently the newly annointed food crush overseas.
Thank Q is a place for the young, those whose bodies are still able to process those myriad cheese dishes, the fried chicken specialties, carb-laden toppoki and shareable stew platters that fill the menu.
Tolerance of K-Pop is also a must.
Thank Q Pocha is at 1411 Kapiolani Boulevard, open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. The cost is about $80 for four, without drinks. Call (808) 954-5384.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.