One of the best things about living in a metropolitan city has to be being exposed to a diverse range of cultures and cuisines. Noreetuh is an East Village eatery that serves a menu of Hawaiian staples with modern fusion touches. The decor of the restaurant which is both sparse and graphic lends to a laidback and mostly comfortable atmosphere even with tables which are very closely juxtaposed. Noreetuh has been on my restaurant wish list and Restaurant Week gave us a good opportunity to try it out at $42 for three courses per person. We started our meal with their take on the popular Hawaiian dish Spam musubi which is essentially a flattened sushi handroll. We got this as an addition since it wasn't part of the prix fixe. Noreetuh's version is made with corned beef tongue instead of Spam, peanuts and a tangy cilantro sauce. While it may sound simple, this created a complex melding of tastes and textures in our mouths. For appetizers, we ordered the Big Eye Tuna Poke and Kahlua Pork Croquettes. These dishes couldn't have been more different but both were tastyt in their own ways. Our dinner course consisted of Mentaiko Spaghetti and Mochi Crusted Bass. The fish which was both crispy and tender made for a nice bite in combination with the green beans and Chinese bacon (lap yuk) it was served with. The pasta with smoked butterfish and fish roe, though creamy and flavorful was almost a tad too salty for my tastes but the subtle heat of the dish was just right. I don't have much to say about the desserts which were a Chocolate Haupia Sundae with almonds, graham cracker, coconut ice cream and Tristar Strawberries with azuki beans, coconut mochi, strawberry ice cream. We rarely order dessert and probably wouldn't have if it wasn't included. We were so full from dinner so it was just something to pick at. Both were much too sweet for my tastes but when you rarely eat sugar, anything with even a little tends to taste overwhelmingly sweet. My husband thought the sundae was okay. The service was good and friendly overall even though it became noticeably laggy in between our dinner and dessert courses. The word noreetuh means playground in Korean and this was a fun one to play in. It's worth trying once but I'm not sure if it's worth a return visit.
Have you ever tried Hawaiian cuisine? Which of these dishes is most appealing to you?
128 First Avenue
New York City