Tin Roof

Hawaiian
excellent
Worth a detour
Save

Tin Roof is a celebrated chef’s relaxed lunch counter for “local food” favorites. It’s only opened for four hours each day and the tiny space stays very busy. The vibe is free and loose. The design has the feel of a fast-casual chain. Much of the menu is devoted to “kau kau tins,” simplified versions of the full Hawaiian plate lunch, just meat over rice with half a soft-boiled egg. Garnishes like kimchi and mac salad are available on the side to complete them.

The signature dish is braised pork belly. We took the opportunity to try an upgraded bowl featuring the pork served over the restaurant’s other specialty, garlic noodles. As a daily chef recommendation, it came with a salted cabbage, scallion pesto, a tomato salad and a sweet soy glaze. The pork is skillfully butchered to not be too streaky (a usual problem with pork belly preparations), and is gently braised to have a little bite, not completely stewed soft. The noodles had a mild, unctuous savoriness and real complexity. They stood up to some of Maui’s best. They happened to be an excellent match for the pork belly too, even if it did taste as though the belly was conceived to go atop rice. The sauces and add-ons don’t add all that much to the dish, but they taste very good when we try them on their own. Perhaps the condiments would make more of a point if they were more generously applied, but likely, it would just make for too busy of a bowl. The noodles and pork were plenty flavorful on their own anyway.

Curious to see what a chef’s mac would taste like, we try the ulu (breadfruit) mac salad. It is the only mac salad we’ve tasted yet where the pasta isn’t cooked to nearly a paste. It still has a pleasant bite. The dressing is brightened by carrots, but wasn’t spiced enough for us, it tasted mostly like slick mayo. 

The noodles, pork and mac salad being all quite heavy, we countered with the daily poke bowl. Every day a rotating selection of fresh fish is offered with unique seasonings over rice. Today’s offering is kajiki, which is a local blue marlin. Marlin being a firm fish, we worried that it might be tough. It actually ended up being much softer than ahi. The fish melted after only a single chew. We differed on whether it was the best poke we tried on Maui, but we agreed that it was delicious. Perhaps it was slightly hampered by an overly sweet dressing. If nothing else, it was nice to try a fish besides the ubiquitous ahi in a poke bowl. It comes with a flavorful dusting of furikake and rice crackers that we enjoyed as well. Like all of the food here, it tasted elevated in a comfortable way.

What to Eat
Tin Roof, Pork Belly Noodle Bowl
Pork Belly Noodle Bowl
Must-Try
The Chef's daily special was packed with all the restaurant's boldest flavors.
Tin Roof, Poke Bowl
Poke Bowl
Today's catch: hearty shoyu marlin with Maui tomatoes.
Tin Roof, Ulu Mac Salad
Ulu Mac Salad
The breadfruit was scant in the ulu mac salad.
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Tobi’s Shave Ice

    Paia, Hawaii

    The shave ice is nice at this surfer spot, and made-to-order poke is one of the best best bites on the North Shore of Maui.

  • Pono Pies

    Kahului, Hawaii

    Pono is a warehouse kitchen open six days a week for retail, selling great custard pies that are gluten- and dairy-free. Breadfruit is the key.

  • Coconut Glen’s

    Hana, Hawaii

    A coconut ice cream purveyor on a lonely curve on the Road to Hana, Coconut Glen makes dairy-free ice cream that’s even better than some with butterfat.

  • Thai Mee Up

    Kahului, Hawaii

    A jewel in the Kahalui airport adjacent “Plate Lunch Plaza” food truck park, Thai Mee Up serves the flavors of Thailand with Hawaiian sensibilities.

  • Sam Sato’s

    Wailuku, Hawaii

    Sam Sato’s specializes in Saimin, Hawaii’s riff on Ramen. However, dry noodles are the “mein” attraction: one of the best noodle bowls anywhere.

  • South Maui Fish Company

    Kihei, Hawaii

    On Maui’s touristy Southwestern coast, South Maui Fish Company is a truck that offers fisherman-fresh grilled mahi mahi and some of the island’s best poke.