Sample A Taste Of Hawaii In West Boca

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By: Shaina Wizov Contributing Writer

In Hawaiian, the name Kekoa means “brave warrior.”

At Kekoa, the newly opened fast-casual restaurant in West Boca Raton, its inspiration stems from the origin of its name. The creators of the health-driven, fresh concept behind Kekoa believe that, “There’s nothing in your day that you can’t brave with the strength and heart of a warrior when you’re fed well.”

Eat well. Feel well. Live well. That’s the motto at Kekoa, and it shows within the food offered.

The ingredients at this build-your-own bowl spot are freshly caught or harvested, and served in an authentic Hawaiian style. The restaurant is committed to serving clean meat, fruit and vegetables, and everything is gluten-free. Many of the items are also dairy-free as well. The staff is able to accommodate additional allergies with a few simple tweaks as well if you let them know.

So what sets Kekoa apart from other build-your-own-bowl and poke restaurants? The ingredient options are a bit different. The poke concept originates in Hawaii, but not all poke restaurants brand themselves as being authentically Hawaiian. Kekoa does. There is even Kalua pork available that is actually flown in from Hawaii.

One of the prepared bowls offered is a staple in Hawaiian cuisine, the Loco Moco. Although the dish can vary, its traditional preparation consists of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. At Kekoa, the Loco Moco features a house-made hamburger patty, served over white rice and smothered in house-made brown shiitake mushroom gravy, macaroni salad and topped with a fried egg. Non-meaters can enjoy the Loco Moco just as well — there is a vegetarian version of the patty available as well.

If you opt to create your own bowl, the process is simple. Choose the small bowl with two bases and one protein, or the large with four bases and two proteins. Bases include sauteed Asian greens, brown or white rice, stir-fried noodles, Asian slaw, house salad or pasta salad. Proteins include Ahi tuna or shrimp poke, Teriyaki beef tenderloin, Kalua pig, fried pork adobo, lomi lomi salmon, chicken katsu and chicken waikiki.

When it comes to mix-ins, the choices are unlimited — avocado puree, carrots, edamame, cucumber, tomatoes, green onion, krab salad, hijiki seaweed, mago, masago, sweet onion and seaweed salad. Choose as many as your heart desires!

You can top everything off with one of nine sauces, including choices like coconut curry and Sriracha aioli. Just when you think you’ve added enough ingredients to your bowl, there’s still one more left. The last and final step is choosing your “topper” — crispy garlic or quinoa, furikake (Japaese seasoning), red chili flakes or sesame seeds.

Visit Kekoa at 8177 Glades Road, Bay 20, Boca Raton, FL 33434. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and is closed on Sunday.