Liholiho Yacht Club may have been the peak of my food adventures. Yes, it was THAT good. Nothing can beat it. (Yet?)
Liholiho is another restaurant that is largely famous because of Instagram. However, unlike Media Noche, Liholiho not only serves food that is (almost) too attractive to eat, it tastes f****** BOMB.
The space is larger than I expected, with a completely open floor plan. The kitchen sits in the center, and underneath the restaurant is its sister bar (with food), Louie’s Gen-Gen Room. The restaurant has wait times up to 3 hours (even on a week night!) and reservations can only be made a month in advance and fill up right away, so I would recommend making a res for a random night and going for it! Otherwise, line-up at 5pm and you’ll most likely be seated in the first round.
Liholiho offers a multitude of Hawaiian/Chinese/Indian fusion dishes, from small appetizer size bites to larger entrees with meats and fish. I had done a bit of research before my first meal here, and ordered the Tuna Poke and Beef Tongue Bao to start, as well as a fruity, tropical cocktail.
The Tuna Poke, served on a nori cracker with sesame oil and radish, was phenomenal. It was a generous serving of fresh tuna, and was a light snack before we dove into heavier foods. Get it.
The Beef Tongue Bao, however, might’ve changed my life. I
might have an unhealthy obsession with bao (Chairman!!!!), but this bao was unlike anything I’ve tasted. I love beef tongue, and this one was tender, juicy, and there was SO much. It was wrapped up in the soft, warm poppy-seed bao bun like a little cloud, and topped with kimchi and cucumber. It was sweet, it was sour, it was juicy, it was HEAVEN. Get it. Twice.
After the smaller plates, we ordered a couple of medium sized plates.
*Disclaimer: these photos are from two different times, I did not eat all of this in one sitting. Although I probably could have.
Below is the Tuna Belly Misoyaki, with apricot, raddichio, and radish. It was good, sweet, and cooked well, but it didn’t stand out. Especially not after that Beef Tongue Bao.
Next is the Fried Rice with Bay Shrimp, Spam, and Abalone mushrooms. Although I was looking for the Spam & Rice bowl that is one of the highest Instagrammed dishes in SF, I didn’t realize it was off-menu (hint hint) and ordered this thinking it was the same. The shrimp fried rice, however, was REALLY good. I would order this again, as it was topped plentiful with shrimp and had a *tiny* kick.
Here, I redeemed myself. Look at how beautiful this is. I’m drooling. I never would’ve ordered spam before (especially in a restaurant), and have only ever tried it once in my life. However, Liholiho makes their own spam, and the (I think) Sriracha-Mayo drizzle, the pickled cucumbers, and the shower of furikake made this dish incredibly delicious.
This is a MUST when going to Liholiho (’cause if you don’t Instagram it, did you even go?).
One of two entrees we tried (one different occasions!) features the Whole Maine Lobster with preserved black bean sauce. A bit messy, but it was juicy and great! However, we were between the lobster and the next dish…
… which is honestly one of the best things we’ve ever eaten. This is the Grilled Short Rib with mushrooms, served next to the Escargot- Bone Marrow- Twice Baked Potato. It sounds like a mouthful and a weird mish-mash of ingredients but holy s***. The bone marrow potato goodness had escargot under the layers of baked potato and cheese, which melted in your mouth. The grilled short rib, which was topped with chimichurri sauce, was cooked so perfectly, and was so MOIST (I said it!), flavorful, tender, and everything you could ever want from beef.
This next part is crucial.
This first dessert was a chocolate thing with some ice cream and caramel. It was good but not memorable (clearly). It’s also off the menu now so it doesn’t matter.
The grand finale of Liholiho Yacht club: the Baked Hawaii. It’s a Hawaiian spinoff from the Baked Alaska, which is an ice cream cake topped with a meringue, and usually torched with some sort of alcohol drizzle. The Baked Hawaii is a caramelized pineapple ice cream surrounded by a hive of ‘vanilla chiffon,’ a.k.a. marshmallow fluff, on top of a shortbread-y type cookie/cake thing (I have no idea but it’s good) and little pineapple chunks. Best dessert I’ve ever had. I love pineapple, ice cream, caramel, and marshmallow. You really can’t go wrong here.
Although it’s difficult to make a commitment for dinner a month in advance, this one is WORTH IT. I’m even making it easy for you and telling you exactly what to order so there’s no excuse. AND giving you the reservation link.
871 Sutter St
San Francisco, CA 94109