The Whole Ox Deli

 August 7, 2012

327 Keawe St. Honolulu, HI | www.wholeoxdeli.com

Being so isolated from the rest of the world, Hawaii seems the perfect place for the “locavore” movement. Truth be told, it is surprising that restaurant establishments that focus on locally grown and sustainable cooking have only recently, in the past few years, made an explosion into the culinary landscape of the islands. One such establishment, The Whole Ox Deli, is a newcomer to the Kaka’ako area that focuses on food sustainability. As the name implies, The Whole Ox Deli strives to utilize every part of the animal product that they purchase, from “tail to snout.”

Chef Robert McGee is the culinary mind behind The Whole Ox Deli. Hailing from Oregon and armed with classic French culinary training, he hopes to bring intense flavors to diners showcasing the quality of product from his network of small farmers. Chef McGee is comfortable with butchering, and as such makes it a point to run The Whole Ox Deli as a “scratch kitchen.”

We made our way to The Whole Ox Deli after mother nature decided to rain us out of an early morning hike in Waimanalo. We arrived shortly after 9:00am on a weekday, which probably helped us to avoid the morning pre-work dining rush. The menu is written on a large chalkboard just above a case of prepared items including pork terrine, head cheese, and smoked goat cheese.

After ordering we took a seat at one of the benches inside and poured ourselves a few cups of water. From our seat I could see into the kitchen through a small window, observing the chefs scurrying about as they prepared orders. Once our food was ready we were called over to the front counter to grab the plates.

Sausage (above) & Beef (below) with Gravy – Chorizo/Portuguese sausage blend, crispy shredded beef, gravy, biscuits, greens

These two plates were two presentations of biscuits and gravy with different protein options. The biscuits were flatly shaped, but still light and delicate. The gravy preparation was slightly rich and creamy. Of the two proteins we found the scratch-made sausage to be very delicious and perfectly crisped. While the plate with beef had a mild flavor, allowing for the true taste of the beef to shine, we found it not quite as delectable as the sausage variation of this dish.

Porchetta Eggs Benedict – Soft poached eggs, porchetta, hollandaise

The Whole Ox Deli’s version of eggs benedict features a generous helping of porchetta atop flaky biscuits, smothered in hollandaise sauce. The poached eggs were done expertly, allowing the runny yolk to spread over the plate as I cut into them. The rich creaminess of hollandaise offered a slightly sweet accompaniment to the salty porchetta, which was slightly crisped affording a nice textural balance in each bite.

Smoked Ham Hash – Over easy eggs, smoked ham, onions, peppers, greens

A simple yet flavorful presentation of potato hash, our final sampling from the breakfast menu was well received. The smokiness of the ham added a depth of savory flavor to the hash while not overpowering the rest of the elements. Peppers and onions added hints of sweetness to the hash.

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While only able to partake in the breakfast menu offering this time around, we were able to experience a delicious and refreshing new addition to the Honolulu food scene. All of our orders were well prepared, flavorful, and in keeping with the commitment to using everything from “tail to snout.” I am happy to see The Whole Ox Deli becoming one of the many new culinary influences for the local food market. Next time we find ourselves in the islands, I will be sure to stop in try Chef McGee’s lunch menu items.

The Whole Ox Deli
327 Keawe Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: 808.699.6328

Whole Ox Deli on Urbanspoon

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