Maui has few good Korean restaurants – Ohana Karaoke Café & Grill is a great new addition to the Maui food scene. Spicy, delicious Korean foods can be found in this spacious, renovated storefront eatery. The walls of the bright and airy restaurant are decorated with framed photographs of the restaurant’s Korean menu. Each photo is numbered and corresponds with the dish’s number on the menu.
Lunch and dinner menus are the same. Much of the Ohana Cafe’s menu is devoted to Korean soups, stews, fish and seafood. There are ½ dozen Hawaiian local dishes on the menu.
At lunch, 4 Lunch Specials are written on the whiteboard behind the counter and cost less than $9 each. We ate lunch here and ordered one lunch special – the katsu chicken and meat jun with white rice; while the others ordered black bean noodle ($10); and sweet and sour beef ($16). The fried meats are crisp and not greasy which is remarkable.
Before the entrees arrived, 4 bowls of banchan (side dishes) are placed on the table. The banchans are pickled radish; macaroni salad (it’s Hawaii); a plate displaying cooked spinach, eggplant, swisschard, and pickled seaweed; and very spicy kimchi. They are all absolutely delicious – the soft, slightly sweet eggplant is my favorite. The bowls are replenished with more banchan if the diner wants.
The portion servings are HUMONGOUS! I thought the lunch special would be half an order of katsu chicken and half an order of meat jun – NO, it is a full serving of each meat. Bowls of sauces accompany the lunch special – Korean BBQ sauce for the katsu, and a soy flavored sauce for the meat (beef) jun. The sweet and sour beef comes in two containers. A large bowl holds the lovely sweet and sour sauce containing chunks of onions, carrots, green and red bell peppers, and pineapple. The other is a very large platter with deep fried strips of beef with a light batter coating. The katsu chicken and beef strips are deep fried and both arrive grease-free.
Homemade noodles are used in the black bean noodle dish. This is my first time ordering the noodle dish. The noodles are very good, but the sauce is not to my taste. I did not find the dish appetizing; possibly I am not familiar with the dish. The spiciness of any dish can be adjusted – inform the waitress the heat level desired. We took enough leftovers home to reheat for another meal.
Ohana Karaoke Café & Grill does NOT have a liquor license – it is strictly B.Y.O.B only. Karaoke singing is popular after work. Ohana Café is divided into 4 separate eating spaces. A section of the restaurant is devoted to the karaoke activity.
The restaurant seats 91 people and at the time of the visit, only 4 tables are occupied. My only negative comment is that the service is very slow. The one waitress is not the problem, it is the kitchen staff. The kitchen serves one dish first, and 15 minutes later the other dishes appear – so 1 person eats while the others watch and patiently wait for their meals. This is not the place for a ‘quick’ in and out lunch.
The staff greets all customers with a smile. There appears to be regular patrons that eat here on a regular basis. Regular patrons of Ohana Café swear by the Korean Hanover Soup. We look forward to returning to Ohana Café and sampling the Soft Tofu Stew and seafood soups.
The day we dined, the clientele was 95% Korean. Ohana Cafe does take-out orders and accepts major credit cards. Ohana Karaoke Café & Grill is located in the commercial area of Old Wailuku (which Fran’s Restaurant use to occupy) on Lower Main Street, opposite the Minit-Stop.
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