Takeout Review: Shaka | Food | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Takeout Review: Shaka

click to enlarge Takeout Review: Shaka
CP Photo: Maggie Weaver
Last week, while stuck in a solo quarantine waiting on coronavirus test results, I picked back up some of my habits from spring of this year: eating snacks for meals, spending mindless hours on TikTok, and aimlessly perusing food delivery apps, waiting for something good to jump out at me.

And on Thursday night, a restaurant jumped: Shaka, a Hawaiian-Asian fusion concept in Federal Galley.

Shaka, run by chef Summer Le, has been a part of the North Side food hall since August 2018 after Le left the Galley’s sister restaurant, Smallman Galley, where she had a two-year residency running the Vietnamese eatery Bahnmilicious. The menu features a variety of Hawaiian and Asian dishes, including rice bowls, poke bowls, noodle soups, and a small list of snacks.

I went for Le’s spicy tuna poke bowl: edamame, chickpeas, seaweed salad, pickled ginger, onions, jalepeño, toasted sesame, and tuna, all sitting on steamed rice and topped with a myriad of sauces and seasonings.

It was, like any good poke bowl, both delicate and sharp in flavor. The mild tuna was a great contrast for the spicier elements — a few bites in, and I was tearing up from the heat. The lush, spicy mayo brought the bowl together in texture. Pickled ginger, normally a hit-or-miss for me, was a stand-out; it added the touch of acid and brine needed to balance out the bowl.

With its long list of ingredients, elements were easily lost in the mix of the bowl, but this only made it sweeter to get a bite containing a little bit of everything.

Bowls are a clear star of Le’s menu, but Shaka’s snack list has always been my Galley go-to. Her spicy Asian fries — classic, crispy diner fries drizzled with housemade, spicy mayo, sriracha, nori, and sesame seeds — have taken the place of many meals for me. There’s something about the mayo and savory bite of nori that takes these fries out of their league.

I chose to go in a different snack direction this time, swapping out my fries for Hawaiian egg rolls. The crispy, slightly-greasy egg roll wrappers were stuffed with thick slabs of pulled pork, onion, and pineapple, and matched with a teriyaki sauce. The first bite was so rich my mouth almost puckered.

While I generally try to stay away from using delivery apps, I was thankful that I still got to experience Shaka while unable to leave my house. It was a little bit of everything I needed: flavorful and fresh food. And, it was the perfect meal to celebrate with when my negative test results came in before I took my last bite.

Shaka. 200 Children’s Way, North Side. federalgalley.org

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