Shaka, a Hawaiian-fusion concept from Summer Le, has taken over the space recently vacated by Michigan & Trumbull Pizza in Federal Galley.
The new kitchen offers a blend of adventurous and healthy eating. Poke, a classic Hawaiian raw-fish dish, is the star of the menu. The bowls feature raw tuna, salmon, shrimp, or tofu over rice or greens with a variety of toppings such as edamame, roe, seaweed, pineapple, and various sauces. For chef Le, a poke bowl is as much about texture as it is taste.
Up until June, Le was running Banhmilicious at Smallman Galley. When the restaurant’s two-year residency came to an end, Le didn’t feel financially ready to open a standalone restaurant. Instead, the chef chose to continue exploring other concepts and, two months after leaving the Strip District food hall, Le opened up shop in Smallman's sibling restaurant.
Le is entirely self-taught from YouTube videos and food TV shows. Prior to becoming a chef full-time, she had a job that required constant travel and as a self-proclaimed "foodie," she made a point to explore unfamiliar cuisines everywhere she went. Her experience researching healthy eating while on the road led her to create Shaka (a sign of greeting in Hawaii, what some call "hang loose").
Beyond poke, Le’s menu lists rice bowls, pho, and a few snacks. She mixes Asian and Hawaiian cuisine, blending sweet, tropical flavors with traditional Asian dishes like kimchi and bibimbap. For brunch, there’s smoked salmon toast, a savory rice bowl, and a breakfast sandwich featuring Kalua pork.
And, in honor Hawaii’s love for spam, Le features the canned meat on her menu with spam musubi. The rice-based bowl is topped with cucumber, sweet peas, toasted sesame, onions, nori, and a fried egg, (the brunch version is laid out like a Japanese rice ball and sandwiched by hash browns).
Le will keep her residency at Federal Galley for one year, at which point she'll begin exploring the opportunities to open a restaurant of her own.