Silly name aside, Bar Acuda is the most accomplished restaurant Hanalei has to offer. With an atmosphere that would be at home in LA or SF, this tapas restaurant from Jim Moffat has serious pedigree and is renowned for innovative and delicious food.
Sitting outside doesn’t offer the lively ambiance of inside and our waitress is a wet noodle but The Monster is jazzed to give this spot a try.
Medjool dates with oranges, toasted almonds, shaved manchego cheese and arugula start off the evening. Fantastic flavor, brightly bursting in your mouth. This is an absolute notch in the win column.
Next up, seared day boat scallop with truffles mash. The scallop is delightful but the truffle is almost indiscernible. Also, at $13 for one scallop this feels egregiously expensive. 1-2.
Chilled tiger shrimp with romesco and basil aioli are the next selection. A lovely pairing with both sauces working exceptionally well with the shrimp. Score again.
Seared Ono with polenta cake and saffron tomato ragout is the last call. Outstanding. Best dish of the night. Ending on a great note. 3-4 ain’t bad.
The biggest problem (besides getting absolutely killed by mosquitoes outside, can they do something about this?) is the menu isn’t terribly large given the tapas format.
But what The Monster does sample he very much enjoys. If you’re on the North Shore or looking to get away from the more touristy Poi Poo check out Bar Acuda.
Why go? At least the mosquitoes love you.
Monster rating: 4/5 Monsters
5-5161 Kuhio Highway
Hanalei, HI 96714