Farm-to-Fork Restaurant Review: Kau Kau

Kau Kau is marketed as a “destination for Hawaiian soul food with an upscale-casual vibe in East Sacramento, California.”

I went there for lunch with a rice-industry friend of mine—we were interested in trying rice dishes and Hawaiian-style sounded very appealing. It was a bit of a challenge to find the restaurant, as it was tucked away in a small shopping center with a small sign on the front door. When we walked in, we noticed the beach themed decor, and the host led us to a table situated by the wall. After selecting our drinks from a menu of locally produced, microbrewed beers and ciders, we decided to order the starter that was listed as the special of the day: guanciale sliders. The black sesame and red pepper cured guanciale—a type of cured pork—was served on a trio of toasted king’s Hawaiian rolls with Napa cabbage and cucumber slaw, and housemade mango mustard. These sliders were absolutely delicious! The main course was chicken katsu: a crispy chicken breast cutlet served with mild Japanese curry sauce. It was a large portion of breaded, baked chicken that was moist, and the curry had a mild flavor. Most of the plates included the option of steamed sushi rice (which is medium-grain rice, the predominant type grown in California) or brown rice, and either pineapple slaw or macaroni salad. My friend and I decided to try both types of rice—she chose the sushi rice and I had the brown rice—and they were served as scoops of rice sprinkled with seasoning, which made for a pleasing presentation. I’ve been to Hawaii and fondly remember eating the macaroni salad, so this time I opted for the pineapple slaw. It was very fresh and tasty. We both enjoyed our meals and felt satisfied, but saved room for dessert. We had a decadent seasonal dessert that was a sweet pastry filled with mango, topped with whipped cream and garnished with a beautiful orchid flower.

My friend and I were very happy that we decided to go to Kau Kau and try their “Island Kine Grindz”! If you’re in the Sacramento area and are in the mood for Hawaiian food, the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, and Sunday brunch. It is located at 855 57th St., Suite C, East Sacramento CA 95819. (916) 431-7043.