Cocktails are delightful here. Some martinis also come with a side car on ice for you to add more to your drink. Pictured here are the Cucumber Cooler: rain cucumber vodka, lemon, limoncello, rosemary syrup (this was wonderful nice and light and refreshing). The other drink appropriately named the Lady Olena is made with Stoli, Barrow's intense ginger liqueur, limoncello and lemon (a bit stronger and more of an intense flavor).
It's a little known fact that I attended Hawaii Pacific University for both my Bachelor's and Master's Degrees. While attending classes at Fort Street Mall in downtown Honolulu there was never any shortage of places to eat. I can't recall how many times the take out place on the corner changed names but it's last name, from what I can remember, was Dreamers Cafe. It was old, kinda dirty and somewhat scary to think that people would order food from in there. Well I am happy to report that that is NOT THE CASE anymore as the restaurant has been completely reconstructed, to say it's a renovation, isn't enough as the decor, interior and design are completely unrecognizable compared to what it once was.
The newly opened Rain Restaurant is a posh oasis from the bustle and grime of downtown and Fort Street. The vibe is contemporary, dimly/candle lit, somewhat romantic with a cool mellow feel. It's reminds me of Seattle or Chicago and a place that would be so welcoming and inviting after a long day's work, before a night of theatre or a fun gathering with friends. Similar to what Indigo was to Chinatown in the early 2000's Rain is another delicious option when it comes to craft cocktails and full-flavored bites. The cuisine is dubbed "New American" but I would say it's really a menagerie of comfort foods from around the globe that are influenced by local/Hawaii flavors.
Here's a look at what we tasted:
Asparagus Hummus $12 Chick peas, olive oil and asparagus pistou. This was incredible, the hummus is perfectly seasoned, the textures and flavors are spot on and the crunch from the asparagus spears give this dish added complexity to the flavor profile. It's also a huge portion, one that 3 of us shared and still had leftovers.
Fried shishito peppers $7 anchovy crumb and lemon. So they say one out of 10 peppers is actually really really hot/spicy, well lucky me I got that one pepper and literally burned my tastebuds. I am not a huge fan of uncomfortably spicy food so I had to remove it from my mouth. I tried another which wasn't spicy at all and it was ok, if you LOVE spicy and love peppers this is the perfect dish for you.
Duck fat tots $8, this may look like a stack of ribs but it's actually potato. Served with tomato gastrique, thyme and horseradish aioli the potatoes are good in flavor but lacking in crispness. This is aimed at being a signature dish of the restaurant but they need to work on getting the kinks out of it first. It has a lot of potential, if they are able to get the tots nice and crisp yet light they will knock it out of the park with this one.
Griddled Gem Wedge Salad $11 served with roasted squash, brown butter croutons, fennel confit and buttermilk dressing. This hearty salad is also a very generous portion. The wedge is softly grilled, the croutons are huge and crunchy and the roast squash adds a nice sweetness to the dish. A good combination of crunch, delicious and fresh vegetables.
Brick Chicken $23 the best selling entree is the most popular for a reason, this reimagined take on chicken and dumplings is phenomenal. The chicken is brined and notably moist. Served with homemade dumplings in a smokey pimento veloute all of the notes in this dish are full of savory goodness. I really enjoyed the chicken with the dumplings and the sauce all over. Well done, super comforting!
Bacon fried orzo pasta $16 served with a fennel kim chee and poached egg this is a wonderful combination of what seems like pasta and kim chee fried rice in one. The texture of the pasta is gummy yet firm and the flavors with the kim chee and the bacon are wonderful and danced on my tongue. Another hit! This was tasty and delicious the next day for lunch too!
With a menu highlighting items including hummus, tater tots, chicken and dumplings, ceviche and beignets you'll observe the inspiration comes from everywhere. Meant to be shared and full of flavor, I can see the chef's inpiration comes from his southern influences and is also enhanced with local ingredients.
Speaking of the chef, Chef Brooks Hart you might recognize from the Food Network show Cooks Vs. Cons. Also, the mixologist, Joey Luna, crafts each cocktail with care and pride, sometimes making his own Cellos -- inspired by macadamia nuts, lemongrass and more. The restaurant is in it's soft opening right now and they are preparing for their official Grand Opening on January 19th. Stop by, check it out and enjoy this cool new resto in the heart of downtown which is already vibrant with energy whimsy and innovation.
Stop by for a cocktail, bite to eat and enjoy this mellow vibe.
1138 Fort Street Mall (corner of 80 S. Pauahi Street)
Honolulu, HI 96813