Posted on: Sunday, June 5, 2005
THE INSIDE SCOOP
Vegetarian dishes abound at local eateries
By Simplicio Paragas
Dining Out Editor
|Travis and Shane Sutton, from left, prepare a healthy and tasty three-course vegetarian dinner for $23.
Photo by Randy T. Fujimori
Finding restaurants, though, that serve tasty and fresh vegetarian dishes has been a challenge, according to these former Austin, Texas residents.
So, Patricia asked, where are the vegetables?
The usual "suspects" immediately came to mind, including Down To Earth (2525 S King St., 947-7678; 201 Hamakua Dr., 262-3838; and 98- 31 Kaonohi St., 488-1375), The Well Bento (2570 S. Beretania St., 941-5261) and Umeke Market & Deli (400 Kalanianaole Hwy., in Kahala Petland complex, 739-2990).
These are fine, as Patricia pointed out, but how about if you want a vegetarian meal out at a more sit-down, full-service-type restaurant.
Yen King's (4211 Waialae Ave., Kahala Mall, 732-5505) Howard Co has made it his personal mission to prove that Chinese food is healthy.
"We serve more than 30 different vegetarian dishes," Co said. "We're not just steak, steak, steak. Our dishes are made with a lot of vegetables, tofu and noodles."
They can also be made with little oil or no oil at all, Co added.
"We'll try to accommodate all requests," he said. "I know people are more health conscious these days so, we'll alter our dishes to suit their dietary needs."
Must-tries include the shredded vegetable combination ($5.95), a veggie lettuce wrap encased with mushrooms and water chestnuts ($7.95) and vegetarian "Eight Treasures" ($7.95).
The Sutton brothers, Shane and Travis, of Le Guignol (1010 South King St., 591-1809) prepare a nightly vegetarian three-course dinner for $23.
This includes a house salad made with North Shore greens and toasted herbed croutons, spinach-and-ricotta-cheese ravioli tossed in a warm vinaigrette and served with a Savoy cabbage ragout, and dessert.
Out of concern for his daughter Elizabeth's diet, Richard Chan established I Love Country Cafe (The Mall at Pearl Harbor (Navy Exchange, 423-6555; Ala Moana Plaza, 451 Piikoi St., 596-8108; and Kahala Mall, 4211 Waialae Ave.,735-6965) 16 years ago.
Daily vegetarian specials are available, featuring such dishes as Italian portobello mushroom lasagna, eggplant Napoleon, veggie fried saimin, Asian-eggplant-and-tofu tower, furikake tofu, spinach-stuffed ravioli and a "Salad of the Day." Prices range from $8 to $9. (Call for the day's special.)
Chai's Island Bistro (Aloha Tower Marketplace, 585-0011) owner and chef Chai Chaowasaree lists three vegetarian dishes on his a la carte menu. As an appetizer, the Japanese-eggplant-and-zucchini souffle ($9.95) wins thumbs-up reviews and so, too, do the wild mushroom risotto ($25.95) and vegetarian terrine ($25.95), which is prepared with layers of grilled asparagus, yellow bell peppers, mashed kabocha and goat cheese.
Kaimuki resident Melanie Kosaka of First Daughter Mediaworks, which produces national cooking shows for PBS, cited Alan Wong's (1857 S. King St., 949-2526) as always having yummy vegetarian dishes. She also mentioned Legends Vegetarian Restaurant (Chinatown Cultural Plaza, 100 N. Beretania St., 532-8218).
But, if you want to prepare a meal at home, she suggested logging on to the Web site: gethealthynowhawaii.com, where Island residents can find such recipes as Roy Yamaguchi's whole wheat vegetarian pizza, and the Kikkoman roasted garlic teriyaki veggie burger from Hawaii-born chef Tony Liu, who now works at the famed Babbo in New York City.
So where are the vegetables? They're at these restaurants, Patricia.