Bloggers’ food maps Restaurant-hopping
We asked three notable local food bloggers to give us their ideal progressive dinner routes. Here's how they'd like to eat on the move:
WAIKIKI ON FOOT
This particular route features an evening on foot through the heart of Waikiki. Perfect for entertaining out-of-town guests, it combines a first-class view for appetizers, an edgy, urban-chic entree experience and an iconic dessert finale, all within five-minute strolls of each other.
Appetizers: For openers, what could be finer than a gorgeous Hawaiian sunset at the Sheraton Waikiki's Twist at Hanohano (922-4422), 30 stories above Waikiki? Here, a silky-smooth Kona lobster bisque blends flawlessly with roasted cauliflower truffle essence, while a shellfish "cassoulet" of crispy-skin onaga, tender baby lobster tail and diver scallop fulfills every aspect of an impressive seafood starter, preferably paired with one of Twist's many wine flights.
Entree: Returning to ground level (at least physically), a short walk mauka to Royal Hawaiian Avenue brings us to Yakiniku Hiroshi (923-0060), home of the legendary, butter-soft Kobe beef cuts. The finest breed of cattle in the world, these steaks can easily fetch more than $200 per piece. No worries, though: small, thin cuts fanned over $20 plates, cooked yourself over a grill embedded into your own table, are the best way to experience them. The thin cuts cook in seconds, preserving the luscious, melt-in-your-mouth fats that are so rich, you won't need to eat much. Chase it all down with a bowl of steaming white rice and a pitcher of ice-cold Kirin, and you'll find yourself one with the stylish, Tokyo street vibe presented here.
Dessert: And finally, Roy's Waikiki (923-7697), another short walk over at the Waikiki Beach Walk, has long been famous for its flourless chocolate souffle cake with a molten center. Yeah, no secret here, but it's a dessert which, along with a fine port, cognac or madeira, will be the culmination of a magical and progressive evening you won't quickly forget.
FOR THE LOVE OF FOIE GRAS
My ideal progressive dinner would involve two very special criteria. First, the restaurants along the route would be places where I wouldn't normally dine because they're too expensive for me to eat at on a regular basis. Second, it would include an ingredient that I normally wouldn't have the opportunity to eat regularly because of availability, cost and the skill required to prepare it.
The theme ingredient for my ideal progressive dinner: foie gras.
Appetizers: First stop would be Alan Wong's (949-2526) for the chilled Hamakua tomato soup with the mozzarella, foie gras and kalua pig sandwich, or the seared Hudson Valley foie gras with li hing mui chutney.
Entree: The next stop would be Sake Street (735-2266) for the foie gras fried rice. I heard about it weeks ago, and have been drooling over it ever since.
Dessert: The final stop on my progressive dinner would be Michel's at the Colony Surf Hotel (923-6552) for the flambe strawberries and foie gras on tiramisu ice cream. That's right, a foie gras dessert. It's prepared tableside, and at a price of $22 (with a minimum two-person order) it's probably the most expensive individual dessert that you'll come across, The pieces of foie gras may seem intimidating at first, but it's one of my favorite desserts in Honolulu.
ON THE BEACH
Whether it's a special occasion or just to relax and play tourist, Waikiki Beach is a great place for kama'aina to enjoy 'onolicious food, fantastic live entertainment and, of course, that million-dollar view.
Appetizers: I'd begin a progressive dinner with pupu and drinks at Duke's Barefoot Bar (922-2268) at the Outrigger Waikiki, preferably on a Sunday when Henry Kapono plays. As back-to-basics as it may sound, I especially love the Beach Fries, which are waffle-cut with a mild spice seasoning. The nachos, hot wings and mango barbecue baby-back ribs are also fantastic.
Entree: Dinner would be at Ocean House Restaurant (923-2277) in the Outrigger Reef Hotel, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from Duke's. I've had some of the best seafood dishes at Ocean House, including the pan-seared Kona kampachi and the Parmesan-crusted opah picatta. For those who may not care for seafood, Ocean House also serves a fabulous slow-roasted Hawaiian-salt prime rib.
Dessert: For dessert and a nightcap, head on over to the footsteps of Diamond Head at Michel's. Sticking with the theme, Michel's (923-6552) is literally right on the beach. The pineapple liliko'i cheesecake is the most incredible cheesecake in the world. Michel's also has live entertainment nightly.