Chef Luis Brambila has a cheat code. I’ve loved everything that has come out of his kitchen at Bar Dojo in Edmonds. It’s a hip, but humble, restaurant and bar in the 5 Corners area of Edmonds and has been my go-to spot for creative and delicious food. They recently posted these Aloha Fries as an addition to their happy hour menu and I had zero doubt that they’d be worth the trip.
At first glance they seemed pretty similar to the Spicy Beef Bulgogi Fries that I tried back in January. I freaking loved those fries. They have the same salt and pepper seasoned shoestring fries, smoked gouda (a perfect cheese choice), but instead of marinated flank steak it’s loaded with the best kalua pork I’ve ever had in my life, a runny egg, sriracha mayo, and sriracha. Oh yeah, and a healthy dose of scallions. With the amount of other rich ingredients on the plate it was nice having something fresh to cut through.
These fries eat like a meal. You could try to share them, but I’d plan on eating them all yourself. The reason for that is because once you get a forkful of the kalua pork you’ll instantly feel much less generous with your food than you thought. The fries themselves were tremendous. Shoestring fries almost always suck, but Bar Dojo gets them crispy enough, and seasoned enough, that they stand up well to the cheese, meat, and sauce. In my opinion, this type of a fry dish is more like an alternative to a rice or noodle bowl. Fries are your starch, and instead of turning to mush these add a bit of texture and separation. Don’t feel guilty about eating a giant bowl of loaded fries. Embrace it.
The overall flavor profile was smoky, and spicy, and salty, and rich. The pork shoulder was cooked low and slow enough that it was melt in your mouth tender but not soggy like other kalua pork that I’ve had. The combination of the runny egg and the pork reminded me so much of Hawai’i…I had a moment of unbridled nostalgia while sitting by myself in the restaurant. I paused for a bit, enjoyed being alone, took in the Bon Iver playing over the the speakers, and sipped on a virgin Lychee Mojito.
The Mojito cut through the richness of the fries and helped me appreciate the next bites. I couldn’t taste much of the lychee (it’s not a strong flavor), but the bright lime and herbaceous mint were exactly what I needed. Really refreshing. I also had a small plate of edamame to snack on, and a cute little order of blueberry flan to finish it off. What a perfect night.