As if Ohio City didn't already offer a smorgasbord of culinary options -- with Puerto Rican, Middle Eastern, Greek, and Irish spots rubbing shoulders with crêperies, sushi shops, and wine bars -- along comes James "Kimo" Javier to toss a little Hawaiian BBQ on the table too.
Javier, chef-owner of Kimo's Sushi Shop (1885 Fulton Road, 216-631-7463), has started offering Hawaiian-style "plate lunches" each Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The full-meal deals -- called the Prince, Queen, and King Plates -- range from $12 to $15 and feature various combos of tidbits like crunchy, deep-fried shrimp; ginger-glazed teriyaki chicken; chow fun noodles; and sweet haupia, a dense, coconut-flavored cornstarch pudding.
But the show-stopper is Javier's slow-roasted kalua pork, a distinctive style of island barbecue seasoned with mineral-rich Hawaiian red salt and roasted for at least six hours inside a blanket of banana and ti plant leaves. Succulent, rich, and flavorful almost beyond words, this has to be one of the world's best versions of pulled pork. Javier serves it with a bit of spinach-like taro leaf, some furikake-seasoned rice, a bit of kimchee, a baked yam slice, and -- of all things -- potato salad. ("It's traditional," he insists, and he should know: He grew up on Oahu.)
While the chef has been catering private luaus around Northeast Ohio for several years, this July, he and chef-owner Nick Kustala of Lure Bistro in Willoughby will be serving up a major blowout on Lure's handsome patio, complete with traditional dancing, music, food, and drink.
You can also find Kimo's at Jacobs Field again this year, serving egg rolls, crunchy shrimp, and Hawaiian-style chicken teriyaki, as well as a limited selection of sushi.
High-Steaks Happy Hour . . . The 10-buck martinis could set you back, but the elegant noshes are dirt-cheap at the new Bar 1221, inside Morton's steakhouse at Tower City. During weekday happy hours, a mere $3 will snare you a trio of Prime beef mini-cheeseburgers or a quartet of filet mignon sandwiches, and oysters on the half-shell are just $1 a pop; 12. 21's clubby decor, comfy seating, and flat-screen TV are on the house. Get happy -- and full -- every Monday through Friday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 to 11 p.m.