My mouth is watering as I dream of a fresh Seasoned Cake Noodle. Best described as a sort of Asian style latke, only with noodles instead of potatoes, covered in tangy teriyaki sauce and moist chicken. I think of breaking the crispy pan-fried crust and diving into the soft middle. Surprisingly, this Hawaiian derived dish is not found in Oahu, but in a little Southwestern desert town that you have never heard of, Santa Clara, UT. Even more surprising is the building, a restored pioneer home from the 1870’s, complete with front porch and surrounded by a garden of herbs and flowers.
Owner Herb Basso, a native of Oahu, and his wife Wendy, opened the restaurant in 2013 based on a Pacific Rim theme. They knew Santa Clara was out of the way and that to succeed the restaurant needed to be special. It is. Freshness is a key component. The Bassos live down the street and have an extensive garden at their home. Some of the produce finds its way onto the plates of their guests. Much of the rest of the produce is bought at the produce stand across the street. This means the dishes change seasonally and can include things not normally found at restaurants such as a long curling Asian string bean Herb grew in the garden, persimmons, roasted beets or chard. Even though it is not listed on the menu, you MUST ask for the melon ice cream, which is refreshing and not too sweet. All of this upscale freshness is reasonably priced. The only thing on the menu that didn’t thrill me was the mint infused lemonade. It was well-made, but the mint didn’t quite work. (That’s a matter of taste. OraLynn loves mint lemonade)
The building itself adds to the charm. Refurbished wood floors, small rooms and white tablecloths make the atmosphere cozy. The original architectural features make it feel less like a business and more like a home. Despite the size they easily accommodated our group of seven, including a baby and children. If the weather is nice head outside to dine in the garden surrounded by rosemary bushes and hollyhocks. Either way find your way to this garden-to-table mom and pop gem. And if you are wondering about the name, ask Herb to tell you about his uncle, the first Hawaiian to win the Medal of Honor.
There is no children’s menu, but if you ask, they have children’s portioned bowls for $5. They include rice and your choice of meat and sauce.