If you’re a regular of Cafe Hiro, Hiro Ohiwa’s charming Japanese-Italian cafe in Cypress, you’ve surely have heard the Hawaiian music he loops as a soundtrack. I’ve been eating there for more than a decade, and it’s always been either Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s creamy voice or the lively guitar stylings of the Ka’au Crater Boys that accompanies my uni spaghetti. But other than the music, Ohiwa has never really offered anything blatantly Hawaiian in his menu.
That changed recently with his garlic shrimp entree, a plate of a dozen shrimp that’s 10 times better than anything I’ve had from Oahu’s much ballyhooed shrimp trucks. Not only are butter and garlic employed as the name of the dish requires, Ohiwa also incorporates lemon and some other ingredient that makes the sauce that runs off the shrimp essential for spooning over rice. And just like other Cafe Hiro entrees, the plate is a complete meal in and of itself, with sautéed vegetables, a bed of shredded cabbage on which the shrimp rests, and some of his scalloped potatoes for starch. And I haven’t mentioned the obligatory salad and soup of the day that comes when you order any entree at Cafe Hiro.
Get it now before it goes away somewhere over the rainbow.
Before becoming an award-winning restaurant critic for OC Weekly in 2007, Edwin Goei went by the alias “elmomonster” on his blog Monster Munching, in which he once wrote a whole review in haiku.