By Bob Krauss
My son, Buck, on Maui gave me a used book for Christmas that makes my mouth water. It's called "Bill of Fare, A Guide to Hawai'i's Finest Restaurants" by Harry Lyons, 1972 edition.
Harry Lyons was an Advertiser cartoonist, a gourmet and a lover of good wine, gin, scotch, brandy, ale, stout, bourbon, vodka, etc. He was jovial and witty, able to whip up a cartoon as fast as you can write your name.
The book is a testament to a Hawaiian heritage we don't often recognize: cosmopolitan dining. There's no Hall of Fame here for fine restaurants of the past. So let's start one. The restaurants listed below no longer exist except in rare editions like Harry's. He described 72. Do you remember ...
Pat's at Punaluu Harry called Pat Halloran's South Sea hideaway "driftwood and dreams." Halloran made a restaurant out of old glass fishing balls, heavy nautical rigging and Leeteg black velvets. The menu included Hawaiian curry, Polynesian pork broiled on a hibachi, and oyster pie. Dinners were $3.50 to $8.25.
Kemoo Farm This was countryside New England overlooking Lake Wilson in Wahiawa. It had a fireplace, oil paintings, household antiques, a creaky old cash register. The menu featured homemade soup, country fresh vegetables, thick slabs of meat and special Kemoo Farm teriyaki sauce. Complete dinners for $3.50 to $6.95.
Canlis' Waikiki diners walked through a massive A-frame entrance to be surrounded by lava rock, tikis, flowers growing under waterfalls. How about razor clams from Puget Sound, 'opakapaka or crab legs. The special recipe was for steak tartare. A la carte prices from $4.50 to $8.50.
Columbia Inn Tosh Kaneshiro's center for sports stars, politicians and journalists stayed open 365 days a year on Kapi'olani Boulevard. The walls were covered with photos of athletes because Tosh was a Los Angeles Dodger fan. The menu included Japanese, Chinese, haole and other dishes, you name it. Dinners from $1.95 to $7.15.
Comito's This one was in Waikiki, Italian, with Al Capone's picture on the outside. Waitresses in flapper outfits, black stockings, ribboned garters and toy pistols. Owner Comito played the Godfather. A dinner might go: antipasto, Sicilian roasted bread, chilled broccoli, veal in sherry sauce with a bottle of Soave wine. Price, $6.95.
Coconut Palace This ultimate South Sea restaurant in the Coco Palms Hotel on Kaua'i was the brainchild of Grace Buscher. You could dine in a birdcage and have your flaming bouillabaisse to the beat of a Buddhist temple drum during the torch-lighting ceremony. Dinners from $5.75 to $8.50.
Reach Bob Krauss at 525-0873.