The duo behind Aloha Lei Sushi at the Auction House Market opened a second location, Aloha Grill & Sushi (3151 Calhoun St. 504-309-2699) in the spot that formerly housed Cuban restaurant El Libre. At the new Aloha, husband and wife team Dave Kirtland and Tracey Davenport describe their concept as “Hawaiian comfort foods with a Southern flair.” The menu includes the sushi and poke selections from Aloha Lei, plus a sushi bar and grill menu.
Davenport worked in the kitchens of Brennan’s, Sun Ray Grill and Conola Grill & Sushi before opening Aloha Lei. The new restaurant opened Aug, 16, which is Hawaii Day, a state holiday that celebrates the anniversary of Hawaii’s 1959 admission into the union.
Hawaiian inspirations permeate the menu in items including smoked kalua pork, served in a breakfast burrito with pineapple pico, potato tots and fried eggs or stuffed in a toasted baguette with roasted garlic aioli, pickled mango and red onion slaw. The Burger Americana is topped with bacon-pineapple jam. Spam, which is popular in Hawaii, makes an appearance in Musubi, which pairs the meat with rice and nori.
“You can’t be Hawaiian without serving Spam,” Kirtland says.
The Poke bowl selection includes a Nola bowl, featuring wild-caught Gulf shrimp over greens and rice with cucumbers, summer squash, avocado, poke sauce, wasabi aioli and Aloha sweet chili. The Rainbow bowl has tuna, salmon, white fish and shrimp marinated in poke sauce and snow crab. Special sushi rolls include the Hale roll, featuring seasoned crawfish, avocado and cucumbers inside and Cajun-torched whitefish outside with Waikiki and Lava sauces and wasabi tobiko on top.
The bar has cocktails such as the Hula Twist, a mix of white and dark rums, passion fruit and guava, and the Aloha Nola combines sake, ginger syrup and mint.
Grill items range from $11 for a katsu chicken sandwich with house-made pickles to a $12 burger. Poke bowls range from $14 to $16 and special sushi rolls from $11 to $16.
Aloha Grill & Sushi is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.