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by Kuulei Funn, Jour 3000

“The food is awesome,” said Paul McGawen, a manager at The Chief’s Hut Restaurant in the Outrigger Reef Hotel in Waikiki. “I’d definitely recommend it,” he added.

Red, yellow, and green motifs embroider the entrance of the restaurant, with a sign that was designed by the owner himself, Ahmad Ramadan. Inside, the walls are colorfully adorned with tropical murals reflecting Hawai‘i, painted by the owner’s wife, Ako Kifuji.

The couple opened the restaurant with the intent of becoming a smoothie shop. “If I had kept it a smoothie shop, it would not have provided enough flow of money,” Ramadan said. The dishes that have been incorporated into the menu are family recipes passed to Ramadan by his mother and now shared with all through the restaurant.

The menu at Da Spot rotates 15 difPauferent specials daily and about 50 different entrees. “The menu is always changing,” said Kifuji, who added that the most popular plate lunch is the Egyptian Baked Chicken.

This dish is made from 20 different spices and slow baked with no oils and served with rice, Egyptian salad, and dessert. The Egyptian salad is a mixture of romaine, tomato, and a special dressing made from vinegar, herbs and spices, such as dill and cilantro. The desert, baklava, is sweet flaky filo dough, (called kataifi) made with nuts and brown sugar.

There are also vegetarian options on the menu. One of the most popular is falafel, a vegetable and fava bean ball served with a special yogurt sauce.

If Egyptian cuisine is not for you, the restaurant also has a menu of 15 different sandwiches to choose from, including anything from a Philly steak to an avocado sandwich. All are generously portioned at a great price.

Ahmad and wife Ako are always cooking an assortment of foods, and on any given day diners can find anything from fish, shrimp, lobster, or even lamb on the menu.

A typical day for Ahmad and Ako, starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 1 a.m. “We have to prep stuff for the next day and work on books or order stuff,” said Ahmad.

For $6.50 a plate, diners are sure to get their money and their stomachs’ worth here. Sandwiches range from about $3.50 to $3.75. Smoothies range from $2.75 for 16 ounces to $3.75 for 32. Soymilk can be an alternative for the sorbet used in all smoothies. Aloe, honey, and protein boosts can also be added for an additional 50 cents.

The “Dolla Menu” which attracts many customers includes 18 specials that are generously portioned and that include chicken nuggets or a shrimp bowl with rice. And the sweet, chewy baklava goes for only $1.

The smoothie portion of the menu includes a variety of mixes that are sure to please any palate.The names of these smoothies are often amusing, such as “Da Kine,” which is a blend of strawberries, bananas, passion orange, and mango sorbet, or the “Cocoa Ono” which is a blend of haupia, soymilk, and banana.

For a meal that hits Da Spot, go to 908 Pumehana St. Call (808) 941-0707 for catering or takeout. Visit www.daspothawaii.com.



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