In many ways, it’s a little perplexing why Hawaiian cuisine has never really fulfilled the potential of its incredible mélange of cultural influences. This might soon change if a trio of Thomas Keller alumni has anything to do about it. Styled as a modern Hawaiian restaurant, Noreetuh’s biggest gamble – apart from the sheer chutzpah of repackaging its Pacific cuisine with a contemporary bent – is opening in New York’s East Village, a foodie haven notorious for its fussy diners. The name of the 42-seater restaurant means ‘playground’ in Korean and, indeed, there is a light-hearted touch in the kitchen’s imaginative salvos. Framed by architects Scrivner + Wilkanowski’s moody timber-lined space – outlined with honeycomb wood panels, subtle turtle shell motifs, and hexagonal stone tiles – chef Chung Chow (sous chef at Per Se) parlays his Hawaiian heritage into a menu accented with Japanese, Korean, Filipino and East Asian notes. A wine-list culled mainly from Burgundy and Bordeaux alongside craft beers and sakes accompany shared snacks and mains inspired by North Shore food trucks: think Big-eye tuna poke with macadamia nuts, pickled jalapeno and seaweed, garlic shrimp served with rice, romaine and pineapple, and crispy mocha waffles draped with whipped peanut butter, honey and Hawaiian salt.