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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, July 24, 2005

Culinary trip includes three tasty stops

Island residents can start or end their culinary tour of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort at Ciao Mein.

Photo by Randy T. Fujimori

Hyatt Regency Waikiki Resort Restaurants

Where: 2424 Kalakaua Ave.

Ciao Mein: 923-1234, ext. 6280, Third floor, Ewa Tower

The Colony: 923-1234, ext. 6510, Second floor, Diamond Head Tower

Musashi: 923-1234, ext. 6280, Third floor, Diamond Head Tower

Parking: Validated

Web site: hyattwaikiki.com

Residents take dine-around tour of Hyatt's premier restaurants Plans to offer an all-you-can-eat "Taste of the Best" menu at Ciao Mein are now in the final stages, according to Jeff Wind, the Hyatt's food and beverage director and executive chef.

"It'll be like a grazing menu with small portions," he said. "We're hoping to have the menu finalized by the end of the month and roll it out toward the end of August."

For the time being, however, Wind recommends that Island residents take an international, mini culinary dine-around tour of the hotel's three premier restaurants, with each one offering its own distinct cuisine.

Located on the third floor of the Diamond Head Tower, Musashi offers Japanese teppan and washoku dinners. At the opposite end, Ciao Mein surprises guests with its Italian-and-Chinese-style dishes. Meanwhile, chefs at The Colony Steak & Seafood prepare classic Continental cuisine.

"I would start at Musashi with some sushi," said Ann Taketa, assistant food and beverage director. "And then again, I like Ciao Mein's antipasto platter. I think I'd probably have to come back to do another tour because I have so many favorites."

Among them is Ciao Mein's shaved-ice-size Caesar salad in a won ton cup, which won this year's Taste of Honolulu's "Best Salad" category.

"It tastes just like the regular Caesar salad except that it's presented in a won ton," Taketa said. "It's a fun dish. And yes, you can eat the won ton."

Other Ciao Mein signature appetizers feature the Szechuan eggplant, beef carpaccio, and the Ciao Mein house-special or Chinese salad.

For their next stop, Wind and Taketa agreed that guests have to go to The Colony Steak & Seafood, which lives up to its first-class reputation for providing premium meats and fresh fish.

"The kiawe-broiled rib-eye steak took top honors this year at the Taste, winning the 'Best Beef" competition," Wind said. "One bite and you'll know why."

Two other recommended entrees feature the French-inspired Chateaubriand and "The Colony Hukilau." Each must be ordered for at least two people.

And if guests decide to remain at The Colony for dessert, the two must-tries include the decadent, 16-layer "Chocolate in Paradise" or the Oreo cookie cheesecake.

"They're both really good," Taketa said. "But I'd have to say that Ciao Mein's tiramisu tastes just as good as both of them."

"We've got a reputation for quality," Wind said. "Locals know us for our food. And soon, they'll know us for the 'Taste of the Best,' which will feature all the dishes that have won awards at the Taste of Honolulu. So you know they're all going to be good. "