Premium steaks done right at D.K. Steakhouse
By Helen Wu
Advertiser Restaurant Critic
Perhaps low-carb diets have contributed to their popularity. Or it could be the desire for simpler, heartier foods that thumb a nose at contrived fusion stacks piled high on plates. Whatever the reason, a good steak dinner is a luxury many will splurge on without any remorse, calorie- or wallet-wise.
As the newest contender in town, D.K. Steakhouse is flexing its muscles and going head-to-head against the big national boys and some local favorites. Opened last fall, the restaurant is in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, in the spot formerly occupied by Acqua. D.K. Kodama's steak house shares space with his Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar. A central bar separates the two, but no cross-ordering between the restaurants' menus is available unless you sit at the bar.
And that's OK, because if you go for a juicy piece of perfectly cooked beef, you won't need much else to satisfy your hungry-man appetite. If beef steak doesn't make your day, other options round out the menu. Daily entrée specials include a fresh catch ($22.95); during my visit, Colorado T-bone lamb chops ($28.95) and osso buco ($22.95) were also featured. Classics appear on the regular menu such as shrimp scampi ($28.50) with linguine, broiled lobster tail ($36.95) and broiled chicken ($18.95).
But beef is undeniably the attraction here. A whole page of the menu under the listing, "From the butcher," is dedicated to it. Of particular interest are the dry-aged selections. The dry-aging process is costly and time-consuming but yields more succulent and tender meat with developed flavor.
Purist, straight-up meat-lovers can enjoy two cuts that are prime grade and dry-aged in house for 10 days: New York strip ($28.95 for 14 oz.) and filet mignon ($24.95 for 8 oz. or $28.95 for 10 oz.). If unadorned yet well-seasoned steak seems too bare, blue cheese butter ($1.50) can be added.
Saucy types will find satisfaction too. A New York steak au poivre with three types of peppercorns ($30.50) provides some spice. Oscar ($29.95) of filet mignon capped with blue crab and béarnaise sauce, garnished with Waialua asparagus, will appeal to traditionalists. Those who enjoy local flavors aren't forgotten either. D.K.'s spins a light fusion twist with house-made gomadare sesame seed-miso sauce on New York strip ($28.95) and shiitake mushroom demi-glace for the Sansei filet mignon ($27.95).
But the knockout arrives in a 22-ounce prime, bone-in rib eye ($32.95). Aged for 15 days in-house, this specialty is described as their "premier steak." Every bite delivers a melt-in-your-mouth feel with a richness that must be tasted to be appreciated. In this entrée, you can experience the theory that fat equals flavor. You receive a caveman-sized but lean piece of meat with bits of surrounding fat that provide a delicately sweet unctuousness.
Entrées are served Ã la carte, or you can order a complete meal for an extra $5.95. Included are a small soup or Caesar salad; a small side of vegetables usually consisting of baby yellow wax beans, haricots verts and carrots; and a choice of rice or cottage fries.
The daring can opt for heavyweight side dishes meant to be shared. I chose scalloped potatoes au gratin ($4.95) instead of the one-pound baked potato ($5.95) loaded with sour cream, butter, chives and bacon. The gratin was gooey with cheese. Fresh thyme and barely perceptible thin onion slices gave this favorite a boost. Sansei's asparagus Milanese ($7.95) was equally compelling simply elegant, with broiled spears topped by a sunny-side-up-egg and garnished with a splash of truffle oil and a sprinkle of fine bread crumbs.
While savoring the meal, I noticed the thoughtful touches gracing the restaurant despite dim lighting. Intimate wooden booths border the sedate dining room, lending a romantic appeal, especially for parties of two. Accentuating the darkness are tiny bar lights, sparkling glassware and the golden glint of artwork on the walls.
Appetizers are hardly necessary here. But if you must, the Sansei-style crab cake ($10.95) packs a punch with a ginger-lime-chili-butter sauce and cilantro pesto. Monster shrimp cocktail ($11.95) also seems appropriate with a steak dinner. Although the three fresh shrimp are large and paired with a vibrant cocktail sauce, some might reel at the cost.
No room for dessert is a distinct probability here and, in any case, most desserts offered can't match such simply executed dinners. Hefty ice cream scoops weigh them down. Fried warm apple pie ($7.95) was an unexpected disappointment deep-fried wontons stuffed with apple filling are a letdown if you're anticipating flaky crust.
A better way to spend your dollars is selecting a bottle from Chuck Furuya's masterful wine list, which fits the menu like a well-made pair of gloves. It boasts a variety of reds, whether lighter choices that match Asian foods or those that are big and robust. Attentive waiters decant each bottle and pour the wine into fine Riedel glassware.
The substantial fare at D.K. Steakhouse will easily lure anyone with a champion appetite into the ring. A one-two punch of a steak and side dish will make them see stars.
Reach Helen Wu at email@example.com.