Korean restaurants have a reputation for not serving dessert, so if you happen to be dining in the “Koreamoku” vicinity and need a bit of post-meal refreshment, just walk over to Cafe Cooland.
From the beginning, Blazin' Steaks' Atkinson Center location diverged from the brand's simple formula of serving up basic grilled steak, chicken and fish with rice and a simple salad.
Kyung Cha thought she was ready to retire when she sold her Keeaumoku Street seafood business. But, thankfully for her fans, retirement didn't last long.
With the opening of North Shore Kula Grille at the Turtle Bay Resort, the sustainable, Hawaiian regional movement veers even more specific with an attempt to focus on produce procured from the North Shore, though generously augmented with ingredients from Maui to Hawaii island.
Creating a healthful kitchen seems to come easily to a generation of up-and-coming chefs raised on quinoa and açai, but crossing over to greener platters represents a big step for one of Hawaii’s premier chefs.
The Royal Hawaiian Hotel has never been known for Sunday brunch, having ceded the territory to the Moana Surfrider and Halekulani. But that has changed.
The hottest restaurant among the Japanese-speaking set is Rinka, where you can't get in without a reservation, and even then, a twosome is likely to end up at the sushi bar, lest they take up valuable real estate at a four-top.
Growing up in a Chinese household, tea was a birthright for Ervin Gong, so it makes sense to find him running an online tea business and tea cafe today. But, it was far from a linear experience.
There comes a time in a young chef's life when he yearns to leave a comfortable nest to realize his capabilities. In the past a chef, backed by family and/or deep-pocketed investors, simply opened a restaurant. That was the expected path.
I was sad to hear that the former tenant at 905-A Keeaumoku St., Orine Sarang Chae, had closed. It was a hidden gem of a restaurant under a tree in the back of all the small restaurants lining Keeaumoku, and an alley away from Keeaumoku Supermarket.
Being spontaneous makes life interesting, but you have to take the good with the bad. On the downside, I'd tried to pop into Morio's Sushi Bistro twice to no avail because the tiny 18-seat sushi bar is always packed, a favorite among those in the know.
The good news is the deviled eggs are back with the reopening of the Spalding House Cafe at the Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House (formerly Contemporary Cafe at The Contemporary Museum).
When I heard a new restaurant had popped up in the space of Ninniku-ya, the garlic restaurant, I headed to Kaimuki, only to overshoot my destination. I knew the general vicinity and, out of habit, was looking for the familiar old building and coconut trees wrapped with lights.
After attending the grand opening of Monkeypod Kitchen, I knew restaurant partners chef Peter Merriman and Bill Terry had a
hit on their hands.
Restaurants are in the blood of Grand Cafe & Bakery's owner, so even when the restaurant closed last summer, its fans found
reassurance in Mona Chang-Vierra's vow to return.
Within the heart of burgeoning Kakaako, Ngon Vietnamese Cuisine is a welcome surprise. As small as it is, it's hard to miss, situated inside Herbal Spa and Saunas, a two-building complex that stands out in bright orange amidst the dull landscape of warehouses and auto repair shops.
Doraku Sushi has opened in the Pacifica Honolulu building, making it more accessible to diners who swear they never drive into Waikiki and have never been to Hawaii's first Doraku, which opened nearly five years ago at the Royal Hawaiian Center.
I was happy to get an email suggesting a visit to Thai Lao in Kapolei, a restaurant I would never have discovered on my own.
After going through several incarnations under Donato Loperfido and Philippe Padovani, the space that has been Elua, then Sapori Enoteca Birreria and the solo Padovani’s Grill, the restaurant in the Uraku Tower welcomed a new tenant over the holidays.
In years past I’ve talked about being bored by the monotony of seeing virtually the same dishes at every category of restaurant while waiting for someone to show some imagination and introduce something new to the dining scene.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the un-restaurant, new establishments that defy the rules of traditional restaurants, throwing out even the most basic notions of set menus and set hours.
For a certain subset of diners, the opening of Sakura Restaurant and Pupu Bar will come as a relief from the excitement of the past couple of years, now that diners need to be adept with a computer, smartphone or electronic tablet to keep up with all the food trucks, pop-ups and other startups about town.
Shirokiya is delivering a wonderful Christmas gift to all of Hawaii with the soon-to-open Vintage Cave Honolulu, one enterprise in what I am calling the new phenomenon of the un-restaurant.
Like our sports and reality television, dining has gone extreme, from the "Man vs. Food" pigouts that involve watching people tackle restaurants' most massive dishes, to following the latest culinary adventurer willing to feast on insects, rodents or anything else that repulses most diners.
Eggs 'n Things Waikiki has been a beloved institution since it opened in 1974, particularly for a generation of Wave Waikiki patrons who found the late-night breakfast spot perfect for recharging depleted food reserves and sobering up before driving home.
You'll forgive the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to the menu at HASR Bistro. After waiting five years for the space adjoining HASR Wine Shop, owner Terry Kakazu had a lot of time to dream up ideas for a restaurant that would dovetail with her wine store and vice versa.
Before the planet started heating up, temperatures here started falling in October to the point where we could dig out favorite sweaters and jackets from our closets. But in recent years the heat has continued well into December.
When I started working as the first restaurant critic for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, I was charged by publisher and foodie Catherine Shen — who was married to San Francisco chef Bruce Cost — to raise the bar on dining in Hawaii.
When people ask chefs and food critics about where they eat on their off-time, it's usually to glean tips about the best restaurants
and dishes in town, but for me it's increasingly about finding food that won't lead to a premature demise.
While watching the female gymnasts compete during the summer Olympic Games, I started thinking about the relative merits of performing first or last. Having performed/competed in music and storytelling in the past, I’m at my best hitting a stage first.
John Dominis restaurant must have been something to behold when it opened in the late 1970s, with its indoor garden and a stream running through it.
After I parked my car behind the Waikiki Joy Hotel, an attendant from another lot came running up to the automated pay machine, urging me to move my car to his lot for half the cost.
A plate lunch usually adds up to two or three meals for me. I tend to stop eating before I reach the point of discomfort because I hate feeling bloated after a meal.
Upon my introduction to Nagasaki champon and sara udon noodles at the newly open Ringer Hut, my first thought was, "This is Chinese."
It's said that bad news comes in threes, so in light of two unfavorable occurrences, I tend to wait for the inevitable. Right now I'm waiting for my third parking ticket in a month.
Honolulu has had a long history of Asian chefs opening Italian restaurants. It started in the 1980s in the kitchen of Castagnola's, where George "Cass" Castagnola trained his staff so well that many became successful restaurateurs themselves — most notably, Thomas Ky of the Assaggio Ristorante Italiano empire.
In a opinion piece, "The New Elitists," that appeared on July 7, writer Shamus Khan described the rise of the cultural omnivore.
Mini Garden was a downtown institution where, until recent years, those with a craving — day or late, late night — could get Hong Kong-style noodles with duck or won ton soup.
As you probably know — but wish you didn't — restaurant food usually astounds because of copious amounts of salt, fat and/or sugar (pick your vice). If you believe otherwise, you're in denial.
Feng shui may be considered a pseudoscience, but there is a lot of common sense in its original principles, from orienting a structure to make the best use of nature's elements, to having a source of life-sustaining water.
One of the state's top CEOs asked recently whether I'd visited Fine Dining Burgundy on Kapahulu where Wasabi Bistro once was. I told him I hadn't been there, asking, "Have you?"
"No, I'm waiting for you to go."
The timing couldn’t be any better for the opening of REAL a gastropub. School’s out and that means the party starts early and no one needs to get home before last call at the place, now open at Ward Farmers Market next door to Marukai Zakka Avenue.
Studying the quiet, peaceful grounds of the shuttered cafe at the Richards Street YWCA, Lance Kosaka imagined casual, leisurely paced service for a maximum 80 diners inside the restaurant.
People often ask whether I re-review restaurants. Sure do. Just give me a reason.
Many people who love food are averse to the chain restaurant. It's not that the restaurants aren't capable of producing good food, but responsibility to shareholders over diners invites assumptions of bottom-line cost measures.
In the year of the dragon, chefs are on fire. After so many years of lamenting the lack of culinary diversity here, we've seen the arrival of Jamaican jerk at Jawaiian Irie Jerk in Kaimuki, Brazilian and Portuguese fare at Adega downtown, and now Latin American fare at Cactus in Kailua.
Servers preface a meal at Kickin' Kajun by informing newbies, "This is going to be the messiest but one of the best meals you'll ever have."
WAILEA, Maui » Alan Wong may not have been officially entered in the Maui Onion Festival Recipe Contest over the weekend, but in my mind, he was.
Hawaii is home to the food-obsessed. The social media realm is always abuzz with a chorus of raves for the best of everything, whether cupcake, tiramisú, ramen or sushi.
Upon returning from Shanghai, I had a short list of restaurants due for a visit. "The List" is subject to change at any time, and a restaurant can jump the line for any of a variety of reasons.
Like many journalists, I started on the city desk. I covered the debate over a rail transit system before being lured to the features desk with the promise of being able to interview rock stars.
I was so happy when I heard about Adega. Finally! The restaurant promised Portuguese fare, which hasn't been available here for mass consumption since the 1980s. As a result, our familiarity with the cuisine rests with Portuguese bean soup.
Last week's arrival of Eden Grinshpan, host of the Cooking Channel program "Eden Eats," provided a good excuse to return to Pacific Gateway Center's Lemongrass Café to see what's new.
My initial response to The Grove was a feeling of disconnect. Where some of the most popular neighborhood restaurants are winning hearts through moderately priced, good eats, here is a Kailua neighborhood bar and grill with resort prices. And, night after night, it's packed.
The Big Island might be called the Napa of Hawaii, with fertile farmland that is home to many of the best edibles in the island chain.
Pete Townshend was 20 when he wrote "My Generation" with the line, "I hope I die before I get old. "Old" being relative, most people that age probably peg a 30-year-old as old. But let's be generous here and set the outer limit at 35.
When in the course of a week, three people ask, "Hey, have you been to the new Nico's?" you know you'd better get there pronto. Naturally, a hundred other people have the same idea, so you have a clue what proprietor Nico Chaize is up against.
One casualty of the diverse restaurant scene as it’s grown over the decades is the buffet restaurant. While most were not as extravagant as those in Vegas, the idea of a mountainous plate of food appealed to those with ginormous appetites and/or a taste for variety.
I often find my enthusiasm for local restaurants wanes in light of my experiences in other cities, as well as reading about menus elsewhere, like Boulud Sud's in New York City, with its octopus in marcona-almond purée and kibbeh (lamb meatballs) with feta and pine nuts.
When the latest Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory opened its doors last week, a couple of employees were dispatched to stand outside the restaurant at the corner of Pensacola and Waimanu and wave menus at drivers and pedestrians.
If you find yourself in Chinatown for any of the lunar New Year celebrations and need a moment's escape from the crowds, storm of lion dance drums and cymbals, and din from thousands of firecrackers, you might find reprieve at King Sha.
Even for those who don't like change or feel no need to change, there's nothing like the demarcation of the new year to spark
the recognition that some things do change, in spite of our action or inaction.
New Year comes with a little warning. Over the years, a few scams have been perpetuated in my name due to a combination of high visibility and pseudo-anonymity. I wrote about it only once, but sometimes a message bears repeating.
In the competition for diners' hearts and minds in 2011, it was no contest: David won over Goliath.
Sakura Terrace offers the slimmest of menus — donburi with a few salads and sushi thrown in — but simplicity appears to be
When temperatures dip, thoughts turn to steamy bowls of soup, and here we have the option of soups of Eastern and Western origin.
The fast-sushi movement that began here in the early 1990s left its imprint on a generation of casual sushi enthusiasts content
with a selection of a mere eight to 10 kinds of seafood atop their nigiri, if that.
When good little restaurants turn up, you wish them the best, in patronage and eventually growth. I reviewed Da Spot shortly after Ahmad and Ako Ramadan opened in tiny quarters on Pumehana Street five years ago and assumed growth on the basis of their popularity but said, "I would hate it if they lost that laid-back vibe."
It's always exciting to see a new project from Isamu Kubota and Motoko "Moco" Kubota, who never seem to run out of ideas.
I heard about Ming's Chinese Restaurant some time ago from a reader who appreciates excellence in unexpected places.
Considering that more people have fewer dollars to dine out, I'm surprised that the number of new restaurants has been higher
this year than any other year in my 23 years of reviewing restaurants.
There are few things I find as cringe-worthy as hearing someone I know saying, “I’d love to open a restaurant.”
It's easy to assume that those headed for a sushi bar are going to eat mostly raw fish.
If the Star-Advertiser's ‘Ilima Awards ceremony had been slated a week later than this past Monday, Prima would have surely made the list of best new restaurants of the year.
Just like the Italians, the Japanese had their own “pasta” tradition, though with noodles more likely to be paired with seaweed and negi rather than tomatoes and basil. Who would have believed more than 20 years ago that combining both styles would result in a harmonious mixed marriage?
After being informed by a gloating Kailua resident that a certain popular restaurant was opening in Kailua, my response was, "Good for you; just rub it in."
The opening of Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, brings a couple of more dining options to the Leeward coast, which is great news for west siders looking for another weekend or special-occasion spot. But east siders might as well stay put.
Robert McGee is not a household name yet, but in the year-and-a-half since he arrived in the islands, he’s made quite an impression among food cognoscenti who have sampled his work at Apartment3, 12th Avenue Grill and, for a brief time, at SALT Kitchen & Tasting Bar.
Earlier this summer, I was observing the goings-on at Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha as the finishing touches were being built into its Aina Haina home. I figured it would be just one of many stops on the warm-weather shave ice circuit.
I first spotted the Jawaiian Irie Jerk truck zipping from place to place before I noticed it had settled in the parking lot next to Century Center. The site is not in an easy place to pull into unless you're headed Ewa on Kapiolani. Every time I saw it, I was en route elsewhere and told myself I'd check it out some other time. Some other time soon stretched into five years, and my first trip to the truck came at an Eat the Street event early this year.
Every entrepreneur dreams of overnight success, but empires are generally built over time. For restaurants, a type of business often perceived as least likely to survive five years, a second outpost can take a long time to materialize.
The franchise ideology is one of standardization, addressing the sort of diner who never wavers from his/her favorite dishes
and who doesn't appreciate many surprises.
The first wave of teppanyaki restaurants in the United States focused on steak and seafood, a marriage most Americans in the
Maybe it's because I'd just returned from East Coast escapades that I was searching for ways to keep the post-vacation glow alive, and SHOR American Seafood Grill, the Hyatt Regency's third-floor dining spot, provided ample excuse to kick back and relax in the open air.
Everyone has an opinion, but finding someone to trust isn't easy. When it comes to opinions about food, I always apply my litmus test: 12th Avenue Grill or Town? Contemporary neighbors, but a world apart in style and spirit, the answer tells me everything I need to know.
Whenever there's a line, you can be sure that I'm going to steer clear of it (unless it's work-related). I've never believed in followingthe crowd and never will, so I'm always curious about others' attraction to lines.