Excellent | Worth a Detour
Ono Kine Grindz
Review by: Jess Dawson
Ono Kine Grindz roughly translates to “delicious good food” in Hawaiian. A bit of an anomaly in Wauwatosa — let alone Milwaukee — this cozy spot may seem small, but delivers on big flavor and hospitality.
Walk in and you’ll be greeted with a warm, “Aloha,” and a feast for the nose and eyes. The smells of the casual “surfer” food continually waft through the long, narrow space, enticing diners to order things like broiled duck breast, shaved prime rib bulgogi, and crispy pork belly.
Once you’ve ordered, you can either take a seat in the family-style seating up a few stairs, or wait around for take-out. Either way, your food will come in compostable to-go containers.
What to eat at Ono Kine Grindz
We started with the potstickers, which ended up being my favorite thing here. They were steamed, filled with fresh ground pork and ginger, and extremely light. The addicting aftertaste kept us going back for more until they were, sadly, gone.
When we were there, there was a “rice mishap” which led to a slight misfire on our order: We ordered the combo plate with Kalua pig and char siu chicken, but only got the latter. No matter, as the chicken was a good thing to be stuck with more of: caked with Chinese five spice, it was especially delicious with the sweet purple sticky rice. Follow it up with a bite of the crunchy carrot-pineapple slaw, which is spiced with powdered Li Hing Mui, a Chinese salted dried plum.
We also got the North Shore garlic shrimp, which was simple with tons of fresh grated garlic, butter, and sesame seeds. We got the broiled duck at the prompting of the friendly gentleman behind the counter, and it was served with sweet caramelized onions that tasted a touch like Mexican mole and balanced out the fatty meat.
There are sauces available to pour into little to-go containers, and I would suggest getting one each of the thick red banana sauce, the sweet Hawaiian BBQ, and the spicy Hawaiian (my favorite).
Before or after your meal at Ono Kine Grindz, or if you need to wait (a likelihood around any meal time), take in your surroundings: Hawaiian sauces, candies, dried mixes, canned goods, juices, coffee, and more line the shelves. Apparently you can make anything they make using the groceries (though I doubt it would be as good).
And, if you feel like dressing the part, you can choose from a fabulous selection of vintage Hawaiian shirts. When in Wauwatosa.
Directions & Hours
|Meals Served||Lunch, Dinner, Dessert|
|Credit Cards Accepted||Yes|