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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, February 13, 2005

Keo's wins praise from Island residents

By Simplicio Paragas
Dining Out Editor

Mattew and Linda FitzGerald said their meaty lobster tail was enough for a week's worth of meals.

Photos by Randy T. Fujimoto

Keo's in Waikiki

Where: 2028 Kuhio Ave.

Call: 951-9355

Hours: Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Parking: Valet parking in the evening is available. Plenty of self-parking is available during breakfast and lunch.

Sitting down to dinner at Keo's in Waikiki two Saturdays ago, our dear friends Linda and Matthew FitzGerald recalled how they hadn't been to Keo's since it had moved from its original Kapahulu location more than eight years ago.

Judging by their facial expressions, both were evidently impressed by the exoticism and size of the restaurant, remarking that this current location has maintained that signature Keo's Kapahulu feel, but in a grander sense.

The menu too is larger, incorporating more "Western-style" dishes — such as barbecue ribs and a surf-and-turf of filet mignon and lobster — to what would be an otherwise typical Thai menu. Of course, Keo's signature Evil Jungle Prince and various curry items, continue to be mainstays at the restaurant.

Still chilled from the day's heavy downpour, G.B. and I savored the flavor and warmth of the not-so-spicy lemongrass soup with bits of chicken ($3.50). Meanwhile, Linda and Matthew lapped up the same soup, but theirs was garnished with shrimp ($3.95).

Describing how they always order the same dishes — spring rolls, noodles and a curry dish of some sort — Linda and Matthew allowed G.B. and I to indulge them with our favorite picks.

This included an appetizer plate of bite-size crispy calamari ($10.95), which tantalized the taste buds after being dipped in a medium-spiced chili vinaigrette.

Not wanting to deprive our guests of their usual spring rolls, we ordered a combination appetizer platter ($18.95) that contained these rolls, which Matthew and Linda deftly wrapped in lettuce with cucumber and mint leaves then dunked them in a spicy chili sauce. Curious, I later dipped a piece of calamari in the same sauce, which prompted a gulp of water — it was spicy.

Mee krob (crispy noodles), "Golden Triangles" (tiger prawns wrapped in puff pastry) and Bangkok-style chicken wings were also part of the platter.

When it came to deciding on our entrees, we encouraged Linda and Matthew to have the giant lobster tail, which they said was enough for a week's worth of meals. The tender lobster meat was flavored with a fiery sauce that was slightly tempered by cilantro and lime.

G.B. ordered the cashew nuts with chicken ($13.95), which was mixed with fried whole chili, an ingredient that you don't want to accidentally bite into, as G.B. found out.

I wanted to test the menu and see how a Thai kitchen would fare in offering a 10-ounce charbroiled New York steak served with steak fries and steamed vegetables ($23.95). Just fine! My steak was done to a perfect medium-rare temperature and the fries tasted like fries, and not like the crispy spring rolls.

Good friends, great food —and a memorable story about Matthew mistaking the host podium for the valet desk as we drove up — add up to another memorable evening at Keo's.