Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

Wagyu and Seafood Plazas need to step up their game

By
July 13th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Wagyu striploin, pictured, and ribeye are among the best offerings at Wagyu Plaza, at a cost of $35/$20 for ribeye, and $32/$19 for striploin. This is the $19 portion. You can guestimate the size by the size of the lemon round and pat of butter. (It's smaller than you'd imagine from the photo.) I asked for medium rare but got well done because it continues to cook on the sizzling platter. It doesn't help much if you order rare. A friend ordered that on another occasion and it turned out well-done.

The idea of $45 steak in a food court setting was so audacious, it had to be good, real good to appeal to people more accustomed to paying closer to $10 or max $15 to eat in such an environment.

So, I had some hope that Vintage Cave's Wagyu Plaza and Seafood Plaza at the new Shirokiya Japan Village Walk would be able to bring some of the mystique and extravagance of the original, exclusive Vintage Cave restaurant to this high-concept food court.

Unfortunately, it doesn't. The only thing high-end about the plazas are their prices, starting at about $19 and running up to $45 in the center of a mass feeding frenzy.

Ugh, for what amounts to about $50 to $100 for two, there are a lot more pleasant places I would rather be, with a lot better food.

Food is one thing; untrained staff and lack of customer service is another. They did not consider that people might not finish and want a to-go container. They did not consider people might not be willing to hunt down drinks then bring them back to be rung up, and many other basics better executed by other outlets offering $8 food service.

My full review is in this week's Crave section. This is just a brief sampling.
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Shirokiya Japan Village Walk Wagyu and Seafood Plazas are open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Wagyu katsu is $19 for 100 grams or 3-1/2 ounces, $32 for 200 grams). Even considering the smaller portion, it doesn't look as delicious as in the menu photo below, and is a big meh, not nearly as marbled and juicy as wagyu at other restaurants in town.

plaza meat

Pork katsu fared better.

Wafu burger was plain and undistinctive.

I was satisfied with a $22 tempura bowl with white rice (there's no other starch option). For the price, it included one piece of shrimp, white fish, a mixed fritter of scallops and chopped shrimp, and eel with the muddy taste of lake fish and catfish.

The saffron rice in a dish of paella from Seafood Plaza was delicious, but the shrimp was bland. Mussels and clams were decent. The dish did draw a lot of stares and comments of , "That looks so good," while I was eating. That's how close everyone passes by while you're dining.

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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 nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Got Seoul? Try this sausage

By
June 25th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Temptation on the grill. Galbi sausage to the left, spicy pork sausage to the right.

With wide-ranging interests from punk music to graphic design, L.A.-based brothers Yong and Ted Kim and friend Chris Oh, started making sausages on a lark.

"It was 2012 when we made our first sausage, just for fun. It was just something we were doing on weekends," said Yong. "We didn't think anything of it, but when lightning strikes, you gotta run with it."

So they did, and their Seoul Sausage truck made it all the way to winning the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” Season 3, where their Korean-inspired sausages captured fans' hearts and appetites across the nation.

"From that, we've had opportunities to go to Korea, to New York. We've gotten speaking engagements in Asia, just by being different and going off the beaten path," Yong said.

Brothers Ted, left, and Yong Kim brought their Seoul Sausages to Eat the Street Honolulu last night and they're coming to Kapolei tonight, June 25. Don't miss it.

Ted shows the Korean BBQ galbi sausage layered with garlic jalapeño aioli and kim chee relish. So delish!

The Seoul Sausage Co., crew has been on the island for a week, appearing at the in4mation downtown store to celebrate their T-shirt collaboration June 17, appearing at Honolulu Night Market on the 18th, Eat the Street Kakaako last night, and are set to appear today at a Kapolei block party sponsored by Kapolei Lofts, running from 2 to 7 p.m. on Kuou Street between Manawai and Wakea streets.

Ted said, "When we came here, we had no idea how people would react to the sausages."

But the brothers felt Hawaii was a good fit for their spicy pork sausage and ono Korean BBQ galbi sausage. At Eat the Street, the spicy pork was impressively fiery, tempered by a topping of apple-cabbage slaw. The galbi sausage was topped with garlic jalapeño aioli and kim chee relish. Both were delicious, at $10 a pop, but if you can't take heat, go with the galbi.

"We felt like you already eat a lot of Portuguese sausage, eat a lot of Spam."

If you happen to be in L.A. you can get more at their Little Tokyo restaurant, including an chicken-apple sausage banh mi, and their other specialty, Flaming Balls of cheesy kim chi fried rice, modeled after the Italian arancini.

"We just want to make food fun, easy and approachable for most people," Yong said.

The crew at work.

Among Seoul Sausage's local boosters is restaurateur Sean Saiki, who pitched in behind the hot grill. He's wearing one of the company's T-shirts, available at seoulsausage.com for $20.

Naturally, there was a line. In Hawaii, there's always something good at the end of a line.

Seoul Sausage's local connections run deep. This collaboration T-shirt with in4mation is the result of relationships started a decade ago when the Yong said he was one of "four Korean dudes playing punk music."

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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 nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Hula Grill shows its support for farms and the community

By
March 29th, 2016



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PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Makaweli Ranch tenderloin tartare with pickled ho'io, pecorino, Ululoa amaranth and truffle was my favorite dish of the evening at the "Hula Grill Digs Farmers" farm-to-table event, paired with Ocean Vodka.

Hula Grill Waikiki paid tribute to Hawaii’s ranchers and paniolo during "Hula Grill Digs Farmers," a farm-to-table event that took place at the restaurant on March 23.

Chef Matt Young's menu highlighted the Kauai-based Makaweli Meat Co., with five stations offering food and drink pairings at $65 per person.

A portion of ticket sale proceeds will be donated to the Royal Order of Kamehameha, which supports the Paʻu Riders of the King Kamehameha Floral Parade. June 11, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of the parade that will begin at Iolani Palace and continue down Kalakaua Avenue to concludes at the Waikiki Bandstand.

Guests included several pa'u riders, including pa'u queen Gayle Fujita Ramsey.

The event is part of Hula Grill’s charitable Legacy of Aloha program, supporting local non-profit organizations that foster sustainability in our communities and/or preserve the Hawaiian culture and the culinary arts.

The view from Hula Grill.

For this paniolo-themed event, even the Lanikai Brewing Co. bottles dressed for the occasion. Excuse the spelling of "paniolo" on the inset caption. I was playing with Snapchat and the booboos are impossible to fix!

A snap of Ocean organic vodka. I promise to get a stylus so my handwriting is better!

A different kind of loco moco, made with burger topped with roasted Hamakua mushroom and bordelaise sauce, with 146-degree poached Ka Lei egg and rosemary arancini. Paired with Deep Island Hawaiian Rum.

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Red curry-marinated Makaweli skirt steak was accompanied by coconut-braised taro, Ho Farms cherry tomatoes, and toasted peanuts. Pairing: Lanikai Brewing Co. Imperial Red Ale with Ginger.

Niihau lamb ragu with handmade pappardelle, tomatoes, melted leeks and Naked Cow Dairy feta. Pairing: Lanikai Brewing Co. Pillbox Porter.

Dessert came in a paper bag, accompanied by a Lanikai Brewing Co. Haupia Imperial Stout and Okole Maluna chocolate gelato milkshake. I promise to get a stylus so my handwriting is better.

hula bag2

Larb sticky rice burger pops up

By
February 18th, 2016



COURTESY WANG CHUNG'S

Homestyle Meals larb sticky rice burger was served up during a popup at Wang Chung's in Waikiki.

Leave it to Wang Chung's owner Danny Chang to come up with another attention-grabbing invitation to his popup with Homestyle Meals Ashley Thaira. With her larb sticky rice burger as the star attraction, his headline read: "Me Larb You Long Time," in luring the hungry to sample a $12 Lao-themed family dinner that took place Feb. 11.

It's one of many homey, family style popups he has planned for his fun pau hana pupu and karaoke bar, because he's a natural-born social director who just loves bringing all kinds of people together.

As for this particular event, Chung, our hi-energy host with the most, explained that he was celebrating the Chinese New Year in Chinatown when he came upon Thaira's booth serving "the most delicious home-style Lao cooking. They had unique dishes that you don't find here in Hawaii such as Nam Khao Tod (Lao crispy rice ball salad) and this amazing larb sticky rice burger."

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Look mom, no wheat! Gluten-free rejoice! The larb sticky rice burger was the highlight of a popup at Wang Chung's.

Ashley Thaira shows her green papaya salad, also below.

larb salad

The burger is of minced pork, and the patty is dipped in a sweetened fish sauce before being layered with cucumber, cilantro and green onions between two sticky rice buns. Yummers! What's more, it's perfect for this gluten-free era.

Also on the menu was a green papaya salad, Nam Van, a dessert of fresh fruit and tapioca in coconut milk, and Sa Dok Bua, lotus tea scented with pandan leaves.

Beyond the popup, Homestyle Meals and Thaira's $8 larb sticky rice burger can be found at the Mahiku Farmers Market at Iroquis Point 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays at 5105 Iroquois Ave. She's looking for more venues in downtown Honolulu. Let's hope that happens soon and I'll keep you posted when that happens.

Wang Chung's is in the Stay boutique hotel at 2424 Koa Ave. in Waikiki, behind the Hyatt Regency Waikiki. Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Call (808) 921-9176.

Inside Wang Chung's.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

First course: 2 new tenants at Shirokiya Yataimura

By
January 21st, 2014



sukiyaki
All sukiyaki bowls—regular, large and extra large—will be one price, $4.90, on Jan. 22, to celebrate Matsuzaka-Tei's grand opening at Shirokiya's Yataimura.
Nadine Kam photos

Shirokiya's  Yataimura  welcomed two new tenants this morning, Kitanoya, specializing in Hakkaido king and snow crab, and Matsuzaka-Tei, offering inexpensive comfort meals of sukiyaki.

Both will celebrate their shared grand opening on Jan. 22, with an all-day special.

At Matsuzaka-Tei, all sizes of sukiyaki bowls—regular, large and extra large—will be $4.90. The regular prices are $4.90, $5.90 and $6.90. There probably won't be many orders for the small size tomorrow!

In Japan, sukiyaki is available as an inexpensive comfort food, and it comes as a complete meal here with miso soup (the soup is not available for take-out). The tender slices of beef and onions, also called gyu-don, is marinated in a mildly sweet sauce and served over rice.  It's juicy and satisfying.

Add-on toppings are also available for $1 each. They include ontama (half boiled egg), cheese, green onions, kim chee, natto, okra and tororo (Japanese yam).

Kitanoya will be offering a 10 percent discount off all its crab and rice bentos on Jan. 22. Regular prices range from $9.85 to $26 depending on the amount of crab offered. After opening day, only 50 $9.85 bentos will be offered daily.

Kitanoya specializes in crab imported directly from Hokkaido, renowned for its seafood, farm and dairy industries.

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You can't miss the sign indicating Kitanoya crab.

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Only 50 of these $9.85 crab bentos will be available daily. Options are shredded crab with ikura, or shredded crab with a larger piece of crab leg.

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Much more crab is offered in the $26 bento.

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A steer marks the site of Matsuzaka-Tei on the mauka side of Shirokiya's second floor.

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After the main course, cross the aisle to  5&2 Yogurt for dessert. Here, frozen yogurt is buried under fruit, nut and candy options. A smaller sampling of acai-flavored yogurt, below. One plain, one covered with chocolate yogurt, M&Ms and gummy candy.

dessert

 

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