Many restaurants nowadays are advertising farm-to-table, but Yield in downtown Honolulu is about as farm-to-table as it gets. The new brunch spot from co-owners Kale Furuya and chef Patrick Sugiyama delivers delicious brunch dishes with an emphasis on using and supporting local products.
“Where we got our concept from is kind of like this farm-to-table, supporting our local and cultural community kind of thing, while making dope food,” Sugiyama said.
Furuya’s favorite dish, steak and eggs, is one of the restaurant’s most popular items. Using different local veggies and two local eggs, everything is seasoned and cooked perfectly. Accompanied by roasted carrots, charred onions, garlic cloves and a cream of tatsoi, the absence of Hawai‘i’s staple side of white rice is hardly missed.
Before opening Yield, Sugiyama put in kitchen time at Restaurant Wada, a modern Japanese spot, as well as Teppanyaki Ginza Onodera, a French Japanese fusion spot. Both of these restaurants were rated four and five stars respectively on Yelp.
Furuya and Sugiyama previously partnered on a local cold pressed juice gig called Nalo Juice Company. It was there that their love and passion for local produce flourished and where they gained knowledge and insight as to how seasonality plays a big part in local produce.
“Through the juice company, we got an offer to open a restaurant,” Sugiyama said.
One of Furuya’s college classmates, who was a property manager, knew of a retail space available in downtown Honolulu and thought Furuya’s juice bar would be a perfect fit.
“They were looking for a juice bar at first, but it was a little too small for just the juice bar and we already wanted to open a restaurant,” Furuya said.
The location itself is in a small spot on Nu‘uanu Ave. that’s easily missed and hard to find when driving by. Reminiscent of old Chinatown with its red brick laden interior, Yield has only four tables for service with limited bar seating facing the kitchen. The kitchen staff is literally an arm’s length away.
Starting with an empty shell of a space, Furuya and Sugiyama slowly were able to add the kitchen equipment. As far as cold storage goes, what you see is what they have, meaning they get fresh produce practically daily.
Furuya and Sugiyama use a smartphone app called Farmlink for a majority of the restaurant’s purchases. Farmlink allows them to purchase local produce from a collective of more than 65 different small farms across the island.
“We get all local fish. All the fruits and produce are local. All of the pork is from pono pork, and it’s all antibiotic and hormone free,” Furuya said.
While keeping the menu relatively small and simple, Sugiyama creates daily fish specials. A recent special was Sugiyama’s take on a classic Italian tomato fish stew called Acqua Pazza, using a poached local snapper with a side of house made focaccia bread.
“We have a fish special every day that we change every week and a half or so,” Furuya said.
After the proteins and vegetables are done, ending the meal with a Dutch Baby is the usual for customers who can manage to wait until the end. The Dutch Baby is a baked German pancake made in-house served in an iron skillet with crispy, flaky edges that soften toward the center. The center is loaded with a creme anglaise made by Naked Cow buttermilk and topped with local raw honey.
Yield has plans to open for dinner as a part-time tapas and wine bar on weekends after it obtains its liquor license. Private parties and catering events are soon to come as well.
In the meantime, it is closed on Mondays and open Tuesdays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch. Saturdays and Sundays are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
by Storm Cruz, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter