As I talked about before, the cocktail and food menus for the cozy basement spot are totally separate from the restaurant upstairs, and chef Ravi Kapur wanted to break out of the Hawaiian-influenced mold here and try some different stuff.
Without a full kitchen with stove and hood, he had to get creative with how to create warm dishes in the space, which has just a single-counter kitchen that doubles as the bar. The solution was to install a pair of waffle irons, and to make a selection of savory waffles which happen to be gluten- and dairy-free, made with a mix of rice, corn, and potato flours.
They're all worth trying, but for my money, I could definitely make dinner out of the Okonomiyaki Waffle ($14.75), styled after the popular Japanese street food and drinking snack, okonomiyaki, which is typically a pancake.
Kapur's version takes his delicious housemade Spam from the Liholiho larder, puts it inside the waffle itself, and then tops the whole thing with corn, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, and tonkatsu mayonnaise. It comes sliced into quarters for sharing, but if there's more than one of you at the table, one may not be enough.
It's the perfect accompaniment to one of the inventive house cocktails I highly recommend the Young Coconut, but The General is a nice stiff and spiritous drink too.
Louie's Gen Gen Room - inside Liholiho Yacht Club, 871 Sutter St. at Leavenworth, reservations required