Scratch (Restaurant)

Continuing with my breakfast fixation, I went to Scratch on Smith Street in Chinatown. BUT, they don’t serve breakfast all day. I went for dinner. So, I was denied. They do serve the breakfast menu during lunch, though, so I will be going back soon.

I enjoyed my meal here. It’s a little on the expensive side, but the food was fresh and tasty. Sorry, I don’t know how to add the pictures, but we had:

Chicken-fried deviled eggs. Good flavor, but I wish it had been crispier. They came with these spicy pickles which were great, because the acid and spice helped cut through the richness of the eggs.

Melted Brie. Yum. Who doesn’t love melted cheese with slivered almonds and herbs? Kinda strong with the rosemary, but still pretty great. Came with toasted baguette slices.

Steak Gaucho. Had a sort of chimichurri sauce on it that was acidic and fresh. Came with charred green beans and seared fingerling potatoes.

Apple Turnovers. More like spiced apple compote in a puff pastry. It was $10 (I think) for 3 pieces. They were rectangles of buttery goodness. About 3″ x 5″ in size.

On Yelp they had pictures of a tiramisu pancake. I am definitely going back to try that!


Scratch (on Smith, between Hotel and King)

I got two things:

jelly doughnut muffins ($6?): three rather smallish muffins rolled in sugar and served with a side of creme anglaise sauce. Today’s special filling was lemon and blueberry. I was excited. Unfortunately, the muffin was sort of bland and non-descript, as was the filling. 🙁

Tiramisu pancakes ($10): Three smallish pancakes, dusted with chocolate and mascarpone. To me, it tasted like a tiramisu–rather than a pancakes that taste like tiramisu. If you like tiramisu, this is not a bad thing. I like tiramisu, and I enjoyed this dish.

I was pretty full, so I didn’t really try anything else, but the other items look good. Unfortunately, I have a feeling this place is going to be really crowded on the weekends. For one thing, this is a new place and my sense is that people in Hawai’i love breakfast. Additionally, this place is kind of small.

It’s definitely worth trying, though.

5 Responses to “Scratch (Restaurant)”

  1. Reid

    Second visit:

    jelly donut muffin: chocolate and peanut butter. I liked this a lot better than the lemon-blueberry.

    cheddar, bacon, habanero scone: This basically tasted like Red Lobster’s cheddar cheese biscuits–which isn’t a bad thing–plus, bacon and habanero. It was nice a crispy-buttery on the outside. Yum.

    creole shrimp and grits. This was just OK. It reminded me of gumbo–an OK gumbo. It comes in a smallish skillet, but it’s pretty filling.

    grilled banana bread This comes with bacon, caramelized bananas and a small dollop of peanut butter gelato. The bread was just OK, but everything worked well together. I liked this.

    We also got the tiramisu pancakes. This time it came with too bigger pancakes (instead of three smaller ones). I preferred this version.

  2. pen

    I also went back for breakfast.

    Calentado – sofrito rice under (braised?) short rib under an egg with chimichurri sauce (the same sauce is used for the Steak Gaucho, I think) and garnished with tempura-fried slices of jalapeno peppers (which weren’t hot at all). I liked it, but my friend didn’t like the spices that were used as the rub. I thought the short rib was cooked better than the one I had at Moena Cafe (drier).

    BLT Benny – an eggs benedict with pork belly bacon. Yum, although I think the one at Moena was better, because it came with sauteed spinach. The one at Scratch comes with an arugula side salad. I was kind of iffy on that for breakfast.

    Tiramisu pancake – This tasted like tiramisu. There’s a strong (but not overpowering) coffee flavor. They also use rum and kahlua in the sauce. The part I really liked was the huge mound of whipped marscapone.

    I think the cinnamon roll pancake at Moena might have been a little better…mainly because of the carmelized bits of sugar and cinnamon that formed on the bottom of the pancake. The ricotta pancake at bills was the best texture-wise, but was plain flavor-wise (compared to cinnamon roll and tiramisu).

    All in all, I liked Scratch. Some things may have tasted a bit better at Moena Cafe, but the cost was definitely friendlier at Scratch. 🙂

  3. Reid

    Scratch has a new breakfast menu:

    Stuff french toast–with nutella and strawberries and marscapone cheese. If you’ve ever seen the block of Taiwanese pillow toast, this looks just like that–with the filling inside the block of toast. It’s about what you expect, so if you like the ingredients, you’ll probably enjoy this. ($10)

    Chorizo, jalapeno eggs and bisquits, with chorizo gravy This was pretty good as well, but they were skimpy on the gravy. ($10)

    Scone of the day when we went was a pumpkin and pecan. It was good, and I would say they make very good scones.

    We also tried the wild cheery and white chocolate muffin ($3 for one, which is kind of pricey as the muffin is petite). Larri really loved this, while I thought it was good, but not great.

    Some general comments

    I haven’t really seen this place at night (only once), but I don’t get the sense that they’re really busy. My sense is that they’re not going to survive unless they change their menu and niche market. Right now, I’d say they’re trying to be an upscale diner…that might not be right, but I don’t think the current menu will compete with Livestock Tavern across the street, or Grondin and Pig and the Lady nearby. What I think they should do is go to more causal, diner fare–burgers, sandwiches, meatloaf, all day breakfast items–but do so in the type of creative way you see in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives–maybe something like Koko Head Cafe, but less upscale–so something in between the latter and Big City Diner. I think there would be a significant customer base for this food.

  4. Reid

    Mitchell May 30, 2015

    I’ve been to Scratch twice now, for breakfast both times. The first time I had the chillaquilles, which are sort of like baked breakfast nachos. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t much to get excited about. I think I need to try them again.

    The second time, I had the cajun shrimp and grits, and they were delicious. They’re served with whole shrimps (and I think just the heads and tails for flavor), and slupring the shrimp juices from the shells with bites of the creamy grits was almost heavenly. It’s served with slices of chorizo too, but the dish doesn’t really need it. This is a heavy meal, so you don’t need to order a side, as tempting as a muffin or cookie might be.

  5. Reid

    We tried to the milk and cereal pancakes. To me, the concept of combining cereal and milk with pancakes didn’t appeal to me, but Honolulu Magazine mentioned it as one of the dishes one should try. Larri loved it. It was better than I expected, but I thought it was OK. The meal comes with some bananas and blueberries (or some other type of berries) and a few cornflakes. I liked the crunch of the flakes with the pancakes, and I wished they put a little more cornflakes. The milk worked better with the pancakes than I expected, but the dish could have used a bit more it.

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