Aloha Brooklyn

Onomea brings a little bit of Hawaii to Williamsburg

Crystalyn Costa may be approximately 4900 miles from home but the Spam musubi ($6) she's serving at her new restaurant Onomea brings a taste of the Big Island to Brooklyn.

"When I was growing up, my grandmother's way of holding on to the family and tradition was through cooking–she would cook big meals and have everyone over," says Costa.

Crystalyn Costa digs into a Loco Moco

The Spam musubi, consists of fat slices of Spam blanketed in white rice seasoned with furikake and held together with a swath of nori.

"I remember begging for it as a kid instead of candy," laughs Costa. "You can find Spam musubi in every convenience mart, gas station and 7-Eleven in Hawaii."

It's just one tasty item on a menu that while unfamiliar to the average haole (or foreigner), is straight Hawaiian comfort food to its core.

Hello Hawaii | Co-owner Greg

For the poke ($13), rough-cut cubes of tuna are tossed with green and white onions, soy sauce, more furikake and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. A river of gravy and a fried egg are plopped onto a teriyaki burger, which rests on a bed of rice for the Loco Moco ($14).

The nostalgic power of the food is evident: "When I moved here I didn't meet a single Hawaiian person, but as soon as we opened the doors people flooded in," says Costa.

A traditional tool | Poke

She describes Onomea as a new outlet for the "surprisingly large Hawaiian population in New York" and as an option for all her fellow homesick Hawaiians. Costa has FedEx-ed boxes of Aloha Shoyu Soy sauce and Hawaiian rock salt sent to her by her mother to make sure the flavors are exactly right.

Count us lucky to share in the care package spoils.