"Grind, talk story, get jag." Those are the taglines printed on the menu at LihoLiho Yacht Club, Ravi Kapur’s new Hawaiian- and Asian-inspired pop-up at Citizen’s Band, which just had its second Monday outing last night. "’Get jag’ … it’s sort of like letting loose, partying," says Kapur of the Hawaiian idiom. "There’s usually drinking involved, but it’s more just about relaxing." Kapur spent the last decade in a much more fine-dining mode, having been chef de cuisine at Boulevard before becoming opening chef at Prospect, and serving there for its first year and a half. Now, he’s letting loose and bringing things closer to home, both literally — he lives with his family just a few blocks away from CB in SoMa — and figuratively. The food at LihoLiho is as fun and homespun as it is balanced but not shyly spiced, and given Kapur’s training we’d expect nothing less.
Kapur, who was raised in Hawaii by an Indian dad and half-Chinese mom, is contemplating a restaurant project of his own, but there’s no space confirmed yet and no ETA. But the food you’ll see in our slideshow — or taste if you head in on an upcoming Monday — will give a good idea of the direction he’ll be heading. From the delicious, slightly sweet, Chinese-inflected beef tongue with shaved and pickled radish, to some finger-licking pork ribs with a caramel made from fish sauce, to some simple chilled sunchokes served with seaweed "ranch," Kapur is crafting a new kind of pan-Asian casual with an idiosyncratic voice, mixing flavors from both New California and a family supper on Oahu.
It’s a set three-course menu ($65 per person including tax and gratuity), with five dishes each in the first two courses, and two desserts, so it’s a lot of food and we’d recommend going with more than two people if possible — though portions are adjusted depending on table size. Get reservations here for the currently announced dates of March 5 and March 12, anytime between 5:30 and 10 p.m. Note that menu items may change slightly based on ingredient availability, but will remain mostly the same for the run of the pop-up.
Another recommendation: order beer. They’ve got a couple of canned Hawaiian beers on offer — a blonde lager and an IPA from Maui Brewing Co. — and we’d say with certainty that they will fair better up against these flavors than most wines.
LihoLiho Yacht Club - @liholihoclub - Mondays only at Citizen’s Band, 1198 Folsom Street at 8th