Since Coconut Club opened on the outskirts of Union Market in January, chef-owner Adam Greenberg has been receiving emails asking when he’d start serving loco moco at the island vacation-themed restaurant that already has Hawaiian staples like poke and a Spam fried rice. Greenberg didn’t feel the time was right until he finally introduced Sunday brunch a few weeks ago.
Loco moco, a diner staple made up of a fried egg, a hamburger patty, white rice, and brown gravy, seemed too heavy to serve among a dinner menu of mostly small plates, and Greenberg didn’t want to make it until he knew he had a version that would be both recognizable to purists and hold up under scrutiny in the cooking community.
“I exhausted the recipe development on this one,” Greenberg says.
Borrowing a page from Lucky Buns chef Alex McCoy, Greenberg uses a dry-aged Creekstone Farms beef patty. Instead of powdered gravy mix, he developed a sauce that uses his own veal demi-glace — a gelatinous, concentrated stock made out of roasted bones — as the base. He purees mushrooms into the demi-glace and adds sliced mushrooms into the sauce, too. It all goes over sushi rice along with a fried egg.
Greenberg says he doesn’t need any flour to thicken the sauce, so it’s gluten-free to boot.
“It’s a really awesome hangover food,” he says, the type of thing he had in mind for a menu full of “après surf” items.
Another hearty brunch item that leans closer to breakfast is kalua pork skillet with jasmine rice, kimchi, and a poached egg. A lineup of three Benedicts includes a pork and pineapple option, one with smoked salmon, and one with veggies sporting a pinkish Hollandaise sauce that’s mixed with beet powder.
Greenberg’s penchant for collaboration continues at brunch, when he sells two Jrink juice blends and an “L.A. 1⁄2 bagel” that tops a Call Your Mother za’atar round with dill whipped cream cheese, salmon roe, and microgreens. Greenberg says he liked the idea of serving a half bagel so diners aren’t too full to explore other parts of the menu.
Brunch drinks include a kimchi bloody mary that comes with crispy shallots and a grilled peach bellini.
Coconut Club isn’t open for dinner on Sundays, so the restaurant opens for brunch only from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Greenberg says he’s playing with additional brunch dishes but has had no luck on his search for a steel drum player to provide background brunch tunes.
Coconut Club brunch by on Scribd