Review: Trailblazer Tavern.

Chef Michael Mina has created an empire with over 30 restaurants worldwide with the majority based in California.

With a handful of his restaurants here in San Francisco, it’s impressive that chef Michael Mina has opening after opening. Last year, International Smoke was the talk of the town where he collaborated with Ayesha Curry and the restaurant has been a constant hit. His newest venture, Trailblazer Tavern, is actually inside one of the Salesforce buildings downtown where the vibrant décor matches the colorful Hawaiian inspired cuisine.

Ahi Tuna Poke Nachos with Avocado Salsa, Bubu Arare, and Wonton Chips (8/10).

While it may be “basic”, ahi tuna and avocado are always going to be a great combination. The crispy wonton chips were delicious with the meaty ruby tuna pieces and creamy avocado.

Fried Chicken with Kimchee Vinaigrette, Little Gem Lettuce, and Ssam Fixin’s (8.5-9/10).

I’m a huge fan of lettuce wraps. Something about the freshness and crunch of the lettuce with the tender glazed meat just goes so perfectly. All the additional condiments such as the pickled onions, fermented cucumbers, shiso leaf, and pickled chili peppers just added another depth of flavor.

S.P.A.M. MusubiI: Mochi-Crusted Smoked Pork Arabiki Meatloaf (8/10).

A fun take on a traditional Hawaiian favorite. Homemade spam was crusted in mochi and topped with a fudgy quail egg.

Miso Honey Glazed Butterfish with Assorted Banchan, Bok Choy Namul (8/10).

We decided to share only one entrée which was pretty delicious. The succulent butterfish was lacquered in miso and beautifully golden brown. I liked the various banchan and my only criticism was that bok choy was slightly underseasoned but eating it with the fish and side vegetables, it was fine.

Yakionigiri: Koshihikari Rice and Black Truffle (8/10).

Onigiri is my all-time favorite childhood Japanese snack and their version was a yakionigiri meaning pan-fried rice ball. Crispy and golden brown on the outside and tender in the middle and topped with a little black truffle. It was so yummy that we ordered another one!

Tropical Creamsible Brûlée with Haupia Tapioca, Dragon Fruit, Pineapple, and Lilikoi Sorbet (8/10).

A tropical explosion! The various textures from the coconut flavored tapioca pearls, meaty pieces of dragonfruit and pineapple, and silky lilikoi (similar to passionfruit) sorbet was a real treat.

MW Chocolate Cake with Valrhona Manjari Chocolate Dobash, Jivara Chocolate, and Passion Fruit Sorbet (8/10).

Of course, Tommaso wanted a chocolate dessert, being the chocolate lover that he is. While this was solid, I preferred the tropical creamsicle dessert.

For being open a little more than a month, I was happily surprised by Trailblazer Tavern. While none of the food was as creative and innovative as another popular Hawaiian restaurant in the city, ‘ãina, everything we had was pretty darn tasty. Therefore, my rating is an 8/10.

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