Lucky Belly

It’s a family reunion! My brother and his family are visiting from Brisbane, and Mom and Dad flew in from Japan and they all rented a beach cottage. My brother is the chef/owner of Taro’s Ramen &Cafe in Brisbane and in a family of people passionate about food, he is the most passionate. In particular, he is obsessed with ramen and came armed with a list of eateries to visit while on vacation. On his list was Lucky Belly, a restaurant similar to Momofuku in NYC and other noodle bars trending on the mainland. After hearing the buzz, I was excited!

It’s located downtown on the corner of Hotel and Pauahi Streets. Parking is either on the street or in municipal lots closeby. (We went on a weekday for lunch and paid $8 for parking, the same price as the ramen!) The restaurant, like the area it’s located in is very trendy. The interior is a stylish loft-like remodel of a historic building and the menu fuses east and west in its food and beverage selections. We ordered everything on the lunch menu (except for the karaage chicken sandwich because that seemed the most predictable).

Belly Bao ($7.00): melt-in-your-mouth pork belly on Chinese bun with hoisin, cilantro, and a pickle slice!

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Shrimp Gyoza ($7.00): generous sized potstickers served on edamame avocado purée with ponzu sauce.

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Lamb Lumpia ($8.00): delicious.

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BLT Salad ($8.00) with buttermilk dressing

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Green Salad ($6.00) with ginger ume dressing

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Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese ($9.00): so beautifully presented! I loved the candied sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds on top.

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Shrimp Tacos ($11.00)

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Kochujang Braised Beef Tartine ($12.00): tender beef served with baguette and garlic aioli

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And now, the ramen. Lucky Bowl ($8.00) topped with soft egg,wakame, bean sprouts.

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The Belly Bowl ($12.00) has everything in the Lucky Bowl plus Arabiki sausage, pieces of bacon, and pork belly.

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And Shrimp Kimchee Bowl ($12.00) with large tempura shrimp and lots of shichimi chili powder.

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All ramen bowls have the same medium-thin noodles and miso sesame flavored pork broth and served in a bowl the size of a bathroom sink. The flavor is similar to tan tan men minus the spice, and the fresh grated ginger added a nice accent. Was it an authentic bowl of Japanese ramen? Not quite. But once you abandon the expectation of what Japanese ramen should or should not be, what you’re left with is an incredibly savory and satisfying meal in a bowl. Combine that with tasty appetizers, drinks, and hip ambience (at super reasonable prices by the way) and Lucky Belly is a winner.

MENU/PARKING/HOURS: Information available on their website.

Lucky Belly
50 N. Hotel St.
Honolulu, HI 96817
808.531.1888

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