Archive for the ‘Casual’ Category

Yakiniku pops up in Liliha

By
September 21st, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Skirt steak, pork belly and beef tongue on the grill at Ono Sushi & Yakiniku.

The scenery on Liliha Street rarely changes, so I did a double-take two weeks ago when the Korean take-out shop, Ono Sushi & Yakiniku, started looking a little more like a sit-down restaurant and advertising all-you-can-eat yakiniku.

The site had been home to Mama’s Kitchen and Mama’s Korean BBQ, which first-time restaurant owners Victor and Stella Kim purchased two years ago.

The couple earns points for having the creativity to turn part of their take-out menu into a more elaborate experience in a bedroom community where there are few sitdown options.

Start with the eatery’s plate lunches, such as kalbi ($13.99), BBQ beef ($11.99), spicy pork ($11.99) and BBQ chicken ($11.99), and if you like those, you can opt for the experience of cooking these to-go items yourself at the table.

The all-you-can-eat yakiniku dinner starts with a round of all of the above, plus pork belly, inner and outer skirt steak and beef tongue, at a cost of $29.99 per person for a minimum of two people (it’s $24.99 for lunch), and $15.99 per child between the ages of 3 and 10.

After you finish the first round, you can order more of the meat you like. Basic buffet rules apply, especially, don't order more than you can finish on the spot.

The all-you-can-eat yakiniku special starts with a round of eight different kinds of meat.

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Ono Sushi & Yakiniku is at 1805 Liliha St. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Call (808) 524-0024.

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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.

Dean & DeLuca opens mañana

By
September 13th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Dean & DeLuca will open its doors tomorrow, offering to-go and fast salads and lunches, wine, cheese, charcuterie and its own branded candies, pastas, chips, preserves, and more.

Dean & Deluca will open the doors to its first Hawaii location at the Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach at noon Sept. 14.

The gourmet food purveyor first opened in New York City's SoHo district in September 1977 and became known for searching the globe for the finest ingredients and kitchenware, and as a go-to spot for premium food gifts, wine, cheese and charcuterie.

The smaller Hawaii location means its less of a grocery and more of a boutique shop that will also be a site for quick bites to eat, whether purchasing food items by the pound, sandwiches or salads to go, to eat on the spot in a casual outdoor space, or head upstairs to the wine lounge where you can enjoy sips, cheese and charcuterie boards, or panini and bruschetta featuring showcased ingredients. The paninis are wonderful, at about $15 or $16 each.

The curated wine list features unique domestic and international selections with a focus on natural and biodynamic wines where possible. Food is being prepared by sister restaurant BLT Market, upstairs in the Ritz-Carlon Residences, under the leadership of executive chef Johann Svensson.

In addition to Dean & DeLuca-branded artisanal goods, there will also be packaged goods from such local purveyors as Kahala Fresh, Madre Chocolate, Haleakala Creamery, Monkeypod Jam, Choco Le'a, and more.

Dean & DeLuca is in the Ritz-Carlton Residences, 383 Kalaimoku St. and it will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Here's a quick look at some of the selections that await:

Among cheese selections that await in the wine bar are fontina, morbier, port salut and mimolette.

Selections available by the pound downstairs include broccolini with garlic, wild rice with mushrooms, meatloaf, beef rib roast, and below, spinach salad.

dd-salad

Caesar salad with chicken.

Charcuterie available in the wine bar. Sample prices are $12 for 18-month aged prosciutto di parma, $18 for a cheese of the day platter, and $16 for sliced charcuterie and cheese with an assortment that might include prosciutto, coppa, chorizo, salami, cow's milk and goat milk cheeses.

A peek inside the wine bar.

The pastry case and coffee bar downstairs.

Treats for dessert lovers include lilikoi cakes, strawberry shortcake, and macarons, below.

dd-mac

More cheese selections.

Quail eggs.

Dean & DeLuca preserves and products available for purchase downstairs.

Dean & DeLuca branded flatbreads, honey and caramelized onions.

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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.

First Look: Eating House 1849

By
September 6th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

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.
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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.

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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.

Chibo moves to Beach Walk

By
August 15th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Negiyaki is one of my favorite dishes at Okonomiyaki Chibo.

Okonomiyaki Chibo has a new address, having moved out of Royal Hawaiian Center and onto Beach Walk Avenue, next to Bill's restaurant. The move into what was formerly Bill's downstairs cafe has meant downsizing from more than a hundred seats to fewer than 50, making it a lot cozier.

With the move, there's also been some menu changes, including making a few "hidden" menu options official, with a permanent spot so that everyone can enjoy them, not just those in the know. These dishes have a lot to do with comfort, such as okonomiyaki-style omelet of egg and slices of pork, and potatoes two ways (hash browned and sautéed) with bacon and onions.

They're still acclimating to the change, but for now, below is a sampling of a few dishes available.

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Okonomiyaki Chibo is at 280 Beach Walk Ave., Suite L-106. Open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m. daily. Happy hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

This hidden menu combo of pork and egg is now on Chibo's menu for good.

This hidden menu combo of pork and egg is now on Chibo's menu for good.

Salads cut the guilt involved with eating out, and Chibo offers several options, including this tofu salad.

A Korean salad features a spicy dressing and sprinkling of sesame seeds over lettuce, beet strings, carrots, red cabbage, onions and fishcake.

A carpaccio trio of maguro, salmon and tako are part of a new tapas menu.

A carpaccio trio of maguro, salmon and tako are part of a new tapas menu.

Paper thin crispy gyoza is one of the specialties at Chibo. That little bit of sauce packs an intensely salty kick.

Grilled opakapaka is a welcome addition to the menu at Chibo.

Fluffy garlic fried rice and miso soup are staples for accompanying any dish.

Potato lovers will be drawn to this duo of hash browns and sautéed potatoes with bacon, though the bacon was rather flabby. Crisp mo' betta.

Well this is an interesting dish for teppan steak lovers with vegan friends. This is faux steak made with konnyaku, or potato gelatin, known for being high in fiber and low in calories. It looks like steak, but its bounce factor is recognizably konnyaku. It's $8 vs. $38 for Prime New York steak here.

A strawberry or pineapple slush is a refreshing treat on a hot day. There's ice cream on the bottom. It's $8.

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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.

Sea Dragon finally worth a visit

By
August 10th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Sea Dragon Cold Noodle House's namesake cold noodles with ban chan including fishcake, fantastic roasted eggplant, beansprouts and daikon kim chee.

I wasn't very interested in Sea Dragon's various shape-shifting evolutions, from Sea Dragon Table to Chukaya Sea Dragon Table, because I just didn't find the Japan-style Chinese cuisine as good as our own. After one visit, I just never went back. Even when the name changed slightly every few years, that old "once bitten-twice shy" phobia had set in and I wasn't going back until a major rehaul happened.

So I was surprised when a friend wanted to take me there, saying it had changed to Korean cuisine. The Sea Dragon name is still there, but attached to it is Cold Noodle Restaurant. The perfect draw for another hot summer.

And it turns out, the food is the best being offered on this site since the Shanghai dumpling restaurant Jin Din Rou brought this corner to life in 2011. My review is in the paper today.
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Sea Dragon Cold Noodle House is at 1491 S. King St. Call 941-2929.

I've been seeing "L.A. galbi" popping up on more Korean menus lately, which is what this bone-in cut is called in Korea. But it's also been Hawaii's style for years due to the proliferation of Korean fast-food and casual restaurants, vs. the all-meat wang galbi, or "king's cut" galbi available only at high-end restaurants. Sea Dragon's is plenty meaty for our taste.

The start of the spicy pork stone pot bi bim bap, before all the ingredients are mixed together on the skillet to make what is essentially fried rice with nice crispy crust.

One thing I didn't care for here was the steamed mandoo, veggies served in a Chinese-style bao bun. Too much carbs without an equal flavor payoff.

Goat stew is not for everyone because the meat is as gamey as lamb. The goat meat shares the pot with sesame seeds, green onions, chives, water parsley and kkaenip, also called sesame leaf in Korea, although it is more closely related to mint than sesame, and has a strong herbal taste that I liked less than the goat.


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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.

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