2454 E Burnside St., 445-6101, ate-oh-ate.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
While the utilitarian storefront slathered with islands-themed kitsch may awaken memories of a third-grade luau, Ate-Oh-Ate has loftier ambitions—wringing sophistication from a cuisine best known for embracing Spam. Native Hawaiian and Simpatica Dining Hall and Laurelhurst Market co-owner Ben Dyer has invested the food of his homeland with a seriousness of purpose, albeit one indulging the surfer lounge whimsy of a beliquored shave ice or tidal-strength mai tai. The dizzying flavors sparked by the saimin's pleasantly complicated pork-chicken-shrimp broth nudges the noodle dish ($10.95) closer to pho than ramen. Slow-roasted kalua pig ($9.95) mutes its sweetness to showcase rapport with fresh cabbage while the katsu ($10.95) graciously acknowledges crunch as the noblest virtue of panko-crusted chicken.