Archive for the ‘Burgers’ Category

BLT Market launches pau hana

October 6th, 2016


Among cocktails on BLT Market's pau hana menu are a lilikoi margarita with cayenne salt rim and Lavender Lady made with Capasaldo prosecco, Hendricks gin and lavender.

BLT Market has launched a pau hana menu for those days when hunger kicks in before dinner or you just don't want to go home. Chef Johann Svensson's menu offers an introduction the the restaurant's full farm-to-table menus that offer the surprise of fresh ingredients available on a particular day.

The restaurant is in the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki, 383 Kalaimoku St., on the lobby level. The elevator system might be confusing for those who don't travel much. Just hit "L" outside the door and let technology take care of the rest.

Here's a look at a few items on the new menu, offered between 3 and 6 p.m. daily.

A half dozen oysters served with wasabi cocktail sauce and mignonette. These are from Kualoa Ranch, with a clean, mild flavor—I learned from visiting the ranch—is partly due to the ranch's process of letting the oysters fast in nutrient-free water and poop days before going to market.

Another preparation of oysters from the dinner menu, served with a purée of shishito peppers and crowned with smoked trout roe. So yummy!

Light and fresh tuna poke is served with crisped rice crackers. Recently, $16.

Blistered shishito peppers are served with chipotle crème fraîche. In the gamble to find the one hot pepper in the bunch, I was relieved they were all mild.

The Market burger is wonderful, topped with cheddar, crisp lettuce and onions, and accompanied by truffle aioli and your choice of regular or sweet potato fries. Recently, $24.

Yukon potato croquettes were served with black truffle aioli.

Grilled watermelon with black pepper purée and pistachio is an example of amuses that await dinner guests.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Gudetama at Eggs 'n Things

October 3rd, 2016


A Gudetama loco moco with bacon blanket is part of a three item Gudetama "Sleepy" menu available at Eggs 'n Things through Oct. 28. Gudetama's face is created with edible gel paper.

Two Gudetama set menus are available as part of a Sanrio and Eggs 'n Things collaboration benefit for the Japan Society's Kumamoto Relief Fund for victims of the April earthquakes in Japan.

The offer has Gudetama doing good, in spite of his detached, disengaged nature.

For those who have yet to discover Gudetama, he is Sanrio's popular "lazy egg," who prefers the warmth and security of his bacon blanket, or to hide in his shell, rather than explore his horizons and engage with society. Here's a video:

Gudetama is stenciled in cocoa atop whipped cream and hot chocolate.

Two set menus are available at Eggs 'n Things three locations:
Outside Ala Moana Center at 451 Piikoi St.
Waikiki at 343 Saratoga Road
Waikiki Beach Eggspress at 2464 Kalakaua Ave.

Gudetama is stenciled in lemon frosting onto dessert pancakes at Eggs 'n Things on a promotional menu through Oct. 28.

The $15 Gudetama "Sleepy" menu available from noon to closing features a loco moco with Gudetama egg and bacon blanket, Gudetama hot chocolate with whipped cream, and dessert of Gudetama pancake with lemon frosting, whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce.

The $16 Gudetama "Lazy" menu available from 4 p.m. to closing features a burger with Gudetama egg and french fries, Gudetama iced coffee (or iced cappuccino) with whipped cream, and the Gudetama pancake dessert.

A portion of the sales price will go to the relief fund. For more information about the fundraising effort, visit

Two good things together.

Our photographer Cindy Ellen Russell posed with a Gudetama display piece at the Eggs 'n Things Ala Moana location.

Unwilling to walk, the lazy egg Gudetama was rolled into a media event Sept. 29 at Eggs 'n Things Ala Moana.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

First Look: Eating House 1849

September 6th, 2016


Chef Roy Yamaguchi was tending to business at his newest Eating House 1849 early in the morning on Aug. 25, opening day of both the International Market Place and his restaurant at the market place's third-floor Grand Lanai.

Not wanting to miss any of the action on opening day, Aug. 25, of the International Market Place, media were among the first people on the property. And chef Roy Yamaguchi was another earlybird, hovering around his newest baby, Eating House 1849, which also opened that morning.

Yamaguchi has been on a roll this year, having opened Roy's Beach House Aug. 2 at Turtle Bay Resort, with two more Eating Houses set to open in Kapolei and Maui.

It's exciting to see him break from his original Roy's Asian fusion formula and explore new territory, even if what's new is inspired by the past. With Eating House 1849, Yamaguchi goes back to the roots of Hawaii's restaurant scene to pay homage to Peter Fernandez, who opened one of Hawaii’s first restaurants in the 19th century, and called it Eating House. Fernandez used ingredients available from local farmers, ranchers, foragers and fishermen, a practice our top chefs are trying to reclaim today, after decades of seeing our palates shaped and restaurants co-opted, by sellers of convenience.

The outdoor patio and bar.

The pork and shrimp gyoza with garlic aioli and spicy XO sauce were so good, we ended up ordering up a second serving because one per person just isn't enough.

Yamaguchi explained that the first food purveyors were likely the equivalent of today's bed and breakfasts, where people seeking room and board were fed simple meals. Entrepreneurs like Fernandez offered an alternative.

Of course, this being Roy, don't expect your great, great, great grandfather's chicken hekka or Porgtuguese bean soup. Though rooted in our plantation heritage and the chef's taste memories of his grandfather's cooking, dishes are thoroughly contemporary to suit today's more adventurous, sophisticated palate. Something like Eating House 1849's "Huli Huli" kim chee pork belly, with its combo of pork belly laced with go chu jang and miso aioli, and draped with kim chee would probably have made your ancestors' heads spin and their eyes pop out of their sockets. The audacity! The explosion of flavors! But for us descendants, it is oh so good.
Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi is on the third floor Grand Lana at International Market Place, Waikiki. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner. Call 924-1849.

Most people don't think of vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts as an adequate pupu, but these are fried with toasted pine nuts, Golden raisins and tossed with balsamic vinegar to become the appetizer of your dreams.

Hawaii's Portuguese heritage is celebrated with this dish of Manila clam and Hawaiian tako cataplana with housemade linguica. The mild tomato sauce left something to be desired, as did the sweet bread, though I get the connection. With more Italian restaurants out there, people just assume red sauce = garlic bread.

After doubling up on the gyoza, it was really tempting to do the same with "Huli Huli" pork belly. This dish with go chu jang, miso aioli, kim chee and green onions amounted to a party in the mouth, in a good way, without trashing the premises. Flavors were balanced and got on well together. So awesome!

Sometimes sequence is everything. After the pork belly, Lola's pork adobo lumpia seemed rather staid; served with a small green papaya salad and sambal tomato that wasn't particularly memorable.

Housemade corned beef reuben gets an assist from local Naked Cow Dairy Swiss cheese, Mul kim chi and the brightness of Thousand Island dressing.

It's not local without a loco moco, and the Hawaii Ranchers beef patty with Hawaiian mushroom gravy makes this one outstanding. So juicy!

Kiawe-smoked ribeye + chimichurri sauce. 'Nuff said.

Dessert of molten lava cake and vanilla bean ice cream will make you appreciate the evolution of restaurants since the days of the original Eating House.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

On the menu for Father's Day

June 16th, 2016


A5 wagyu carpaccio will be on the BLT Steak menu for Father's Day.

For all the times dad cut the food on your plate into manageable, bite-size morsels, time to return the favor. Here are a few restaurants running specials that will help you honor dad on Father's Day:

A5 wagyu is aging and awaiting day 25, when it will be ready to serve at BLT Steak Waikiki, where the well-marbled wagyu will be available as carpaccio, one of the Father’s Day specials June 17 through 19. The wagyu will be served with confit heirloom tomatoes, pickled shiitakes, Maldon Sea salt and Parmesan tuile.
BLT Steak Waikiki is in the Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk, 223 Saratoga Road. Call (808) 683-7440. Complimentary validated parking available. More information:

Long live dad, at Chef Mavro, where guests will be able to enjoy Chartreuse, known as the elixir of long life, in cocktails and dessert.
But before you get to that point, the restaurant is offering a four-course barbecue menu June 18 and 19 in honor of dad, with each dish taking its turn on a charcoal grill.
The four-course meal is $105 and will feature a veggie course of charred asparagus, leeks, heart of palm and fennel with avocado-lemon purée dressing; grilled opah with bean-potato ragout; Niman Ranch pork and Hobbs Shore bacon skewer with Hamakua mushrooms, confit shallots and poha berry barbecue sauce; and dessert of BBQ peaches with chartreuse semi-freddo and white peach shave ice.
Chef Mavro is at 1969 S. King St. Call (808) 944-4714 or email Reservations from 6 p.m.

On June 19, any guest who announces to his/her server, “My Dad is a BFD” (with dad present, of course) will receive the restaurant's signature 1/3-pound burger.
Premium proteins and premium toppings are extra. The offer is for one burger per dad with paying guest. Dine-in only.
The counter is at Kahala Mall, 4211 Waialae Ave. Call (808) 739-5100.

The hotel is presenting the ultimate Father's Day barbecue, welcoming pitmaster Myron Mixon to a Honolulu BBQ Festival Weekend.
Mixon, known as “The Winningest Man in Barbecue," will reveal the secrets of great barbecue during a 5 to 8 p.m. June 17 cooking class that will have participates preparing a full barbecue spread from the ground up, from rubs to a rack of ribs, BBQ chicken, sides and more, in classic Southern style.
Mixon is a three-time world barbecue champion and chief cook of the Jack’s Old South Competition Bar-B-Que Team. He's the executive producer and host of “BBQ Rules” and star of two other hit television shows “BBQ Pitmasters” and “BBQ Pitwars” (a competition show that Mixon has won in each of its two seasons) on Discovery’s Destination America. He is also the host of the new show “Smoked,” airing summer 2016.
The cost for the class is $149 per person, that includes two tickets to Saturday's Honolulu BBQ Festival, and a goody bag.
For those who just want to eat, the festival will take place 3 to 9 p.m. June 18 on the Hilton's Great Lawn, where guests can indulge in a barbecue feast prepared by Mixon. The for-purchase menu items will include smoked Southern-style hog, smoked turkey, chicken, dry-rub ribs, brisket, sausage, Hawaiian imu-style hog, a variety of southern BBQ sides and a Georgia-inspired dessert station. There will also be entertainment by Kahulanui, Kalapana and other special guests.
Admission to the fest is $20 per adult in advance, $10 for military with valid I.D., and free for keiki younger than 15. Tickets at the door are $30. (Note that food and beverages is available for individual purchase.)
Self-parking is $8; valet is $13.
For more information, visit or call (808) 947-7955.

The Kaimuki restaurant is offering a Father's Day special entrée of Duroc pork porterhouse ($36) with house bacon, smashed new potatoes, crispy Brussels sprouts, Maui brewing Co. Pueo pale ale and manchego mornay, and a dessert special of a Manoa dark chocolate s'mores tart ($9) with Graham cracker crust, Crown Etates dark chocolate, and housemade bourbon marshmallow.
The Sunday Supper special will be Hawaiian sea salt-crusted Hawaii Ranchers prime rib with twice-baked potatoes, roasted asparagus, horseradish crème fraîche rosemary au jus, and sea salt caramel apple tart; at $38 per person.
12th Ave Grill is at 1120 12th Ave. Call (808) 732-9469.


Take dad out to a Father’s Day champagne brunch that will run 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 19, with many stations set up to offer soup, salad, a selection of local favorite entrées and dessert, a cold seafood bar and a carving station.
Among dishes on the buffet are a California crab and avocado salad, several types of poke, oysters and mussels on the half shell, kiawe slow-roasted prime rib, char siu-glazed pork, made-to-order omelets, shrimp scampi, kalua pig and cabbage, Korean-style chicken, BBQ beef brisket, seafood jambalaya, and more.
The cost is $46.95 for adults, $25 for children 12 and younger; and free for children younger than 5 accompanied by a paying adult.
The Ka’anapali Beach Hotel is at 2525 Kaanapali Parkway in Lahaina. Reservations are required. Call (808) 667-0124.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Beyond burgers at The Counter

May 27th, 2016


Korean BBQ steak fills one of the new sandwiches at The Counter, and it is da bomb!

If you haven't been to The Counter Custom Burgers in a while, it may be time for another visit. The Kahala Mall restaurant specializing in create-your-own burgers has launched a new menu that includes a handful of options to the beef burger, just because many diners want a little more variety in their lives.

New protein options on the create-your-own burger menu include a jumbo lump crabcake, Southern fried chicken and Korean BBQ grilled skirt steak that's a new favorite of mine. In chef Matthew Lindblom's hands, it's true to local expectations. Order these your way with your pick of dozens of toppings and sauces, or order it their way as described in the photos below.

Also new are:

WTF ("Why the Face" sandwich): A ground turkey patty is topped with provolone, applewood-smoked bacon, pickles, and house mustard on a Hawaiian bun, accompanied by salt &and vinegar kettle chips. Currently $12.50.

Crab Encounter: a jumbo lump crab cake sits atop a salad of organic mixed greens, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, applewood-smoked bacon, scallions and chopped egg, with honey dijon dressing.

Loaded tots:

The Counter's loaded tots are rolled in pimento cheese with bits of applewood smoked bacon, sprinkled with green onions and served with buttermilk ranch sauce.

And, although alcohol is served here, it's still a kid-friendly place, with an activity book and crayons for little ones with excess energy.
The Counter Custom Burgers is at Kahala Mall, 4211 Waialae Ave. Call 739-5100.

Following the flirtation with Korea, it's back to the U.S. and Southern inspiration with this buttermilk-brined fried chicken sandwich with jalapeño jack, coleslaw, fresh jalapeños, and honey dijon on a brioche bun. Recently, $14.

The "Bison & Brie" salad is great for carnivores who want to balance their meat-eating habit with greens once in a while. The brie blankets the organic bison patty that sits atop a kale salad with accents of carrots, cranberries and jalapeño slices.

The "Holy Crab" sandwich comprises a thick housemade crabcake topped with jalapeño jack, tomatoes, pickles, coleslaw, sliced jalapeños and housemade Thousand Island dressing on a sweet Hawaiian bun. Recently, $17.

There's more than one way to drink in one of The Counter's shakes. Brandon Maxwell tackles the "Birthday Cake" that includes confetti cake mix and rainbow sprinkles. Other options include the "Pineapple Upside Down," "Caramel Java Malt," "Apple Crumble" or "Nutella & Salted Pretzel." Spiked shakes are also available, or just make your own from their roster of ingredients.


Housemade fried dill pickles are served with apricot sauce, but for those who don't do sweet-sour, request the ranch.

There's a nice spice to grilled wings drenched in a sweet Sriracha sauce, then served with celery and a Sriracha dipping sauce that really isn't necessary. There's plenty of flavor in the wings. There's also a standard Buffalo-style option.

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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