GoGo's Hawaiian eatery launches in former Bucharest spot

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PHOTO BY SERENA MARIA DANIELS.
  • Photo By Serena Maria Daniels.
That tiny downtown pickup counter and grill, once housed by the ubiquitous Bucharest Grill, has made way for GoGo's, a Hawaiian-inspired eatery that introduces diners to the many Asian flavors that make up the cuisine of the islands.
 
When the famous shawarma shop exited a few months ago, Park Bar owner Jerry Belanger brought on chef Adam Verville (formerly a sous at Gold Cash Gold and head chef at St. CeCe's) to come up with a new concept. After a series of sporadic soft openings on game days, Verville told us in a conversation May 7 that the spot is now ready for regular, daily service.
PHOTO BY SERENA MARIA DANIELS.
  • Photo By Serena Maria Daniels.
The chef tells us that when he was trying to decide on a unique theme for the menu, he considered cuisine influenced by Southeast Asia or perhaps South America. But going those routes would have been more labor-intensive and would not have served his desire to make food that's both flavorful and affordable (and that also could be executed in the space's short-order setup). He settled on Hawaiian food, which draws from Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and American culinary traditions, and isn't too complicated to prepare.

"Everyone doesn't have to be fine dining, a lot of people aren't looking for the experience or that price, so like, let's do something that you can serve quickly that won't kill you to afford," Verville tells us.

On the menu are several staples in Hawaiian culture, priced between $4-$8 for smaller, grab-and-go selections to $9 and $12 for more substantial lunch entrees.
PHOTO BY SERENA MARIA DANIELS.
  • Photo By Serena Maria Daniels.
There's the venerable musubi ($4) — made up of sushi rice fried, crispy fried Spam (or tempeh), and egg and wrapped nori paper — which are found in just about every corner store on the islands. Think of it as a Japanese version of the Egg McMuffin (only swap out the English muffin for sticky rice and seaweed).
The musubi, pictured here, can be found in diners, shops, and underground hole-in-the-walls all over the islands. - BY SERENA MARIA DANIELS.
  • By Serena Maria Daniels.
  • The musubi, pictured here, can be found in diners, shops, and underground hole-in-the-walls all over the islands.
There's also the manupa ($4) — a steamed bun filled with seasoned meat, that comes with a spicy soy mustard dipping sauce. It's the type of handheld that can easily be munched on while walking to the nearby stadiums.
From left, musubi, seaweed salad, and manupa bun. - BY SERENA MARIA DANIELS.
  • By Serena Maria Daniels.
  • From left, musubi, seaweed salad, and manupa bun.
Verville also plays with Detroit-native foods like the Coney, with his mushroom tofu Coney fries ($8), made with fried tofu or potatoes, shitake miso chili, and mustard; or a variety of Holo Dogs ($5.50), one of which is topped with Spam chili.

Detroit proper does not have much in the way of creative, affordable Asian cuisine (the 'burbs are a different story, with a wealth of approachable Vietnamese, Japanese, and Indian restaurants). Verville is hopeful GoGo's will take off here, as Hawaiian food has long been successful on the coasts. We think he's onto something.

GoGo's is inside Park Bar at 2040 Park Ave. For exact hours and availability of food, call 313-962-2933.


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