For a little Mahalo in Manhattan head to the East Village, where you can find Hawaiian Nouveau cuisine from a Chinese-American chef who peppers in inspiration from Japanese, Korean, Filipino and even Portuguese food (read: upscale, but doesn’t take itself too seriously.) The vibe is also untucked yet sleek, with walls that are bedecked with large photographs of blue barrel waves and vibrant sea life interspersed with happy mini-Polaroids of satisfied diners. Staples like papaya and pineapple and pork and poke mingle with more adventurous usages of uni and monkfish liver, and can be complemented with thoughtful, great-value wine pairings. Expect a lively weekend brunch scene, and an omnipresent Ohana spirit that offers a brief reprieve from the other magical island.
The restaurant’s goal is to create an atmosphere where guests can enjoy artfully crafted food paired with an approachable wine list in an enjoyable and casual environment, thus lending to the name noreetuh, which means playground in Korean.