Hawaii eats section Matisyahu reggaes on over from Olympics
By Kawehi Haug
Advertiser Staff Writer
CHART HOUSE PAU HANA EATS KEEP 'EM COMING BACK
We eat out a lot. But even with job descriptions that include eating everything that pops up on the Honolulu food scene, we don't always have the chance to write about it in The Advertiser.
That's where you come in.
Every week we get letters, e-mails and phone calls from readers suggesting various restaurants and dishes for us to try. So we thought we'd start taking your suggestions. We'll eat where and what you tell us to, then we'll give our feedback here in this column, Eat on Command.
For our first adventure , we took cues from Susan Tollinger, who wrote:
I've been following your stories in the TGIF section for a long time, always interested in your new finds. But, I can't help but notice the omission of one of my husband's and my all-time favorite pau hana spots — The Chart House lounge.
We've been stopping in after work for many years and always have a great time there. Live music, friendly service, great sunset views over the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. The lounge's pupu menu, in our opinion, can hold its own against all competitors. Be sure to try these goodies, which we have ordered and enjoyed time and time again: nachos (condiments on the side), garlic chicken, pork chops, kim chee fried rice, fresh ahi won tons, Kimmi's Firecracker Unroll, sizzling steak with mushrooms, prime-rib pupu steak, king crab legs and Mudd Pie.
Aloha, Susan Tollinger
We took Tollinger's list of must-try dishes and headed over to the Chart House for last Friday's pau hana. Here's what we tried:
1. Nachos ($9.75). We ordered the dish like it appeared on the menu, but we should have heeded Tollinger's advice to get the condiments on the side, because the chips and cheese were overwhelmed by massive ice cream scoops of beans, guacamole and salsa. Verdict: Pass.
2. Garlic chicken ($8.95). I was skeptical when it arrived at the table, but the chunks of tender chicken were coated in a spicy-sweet batter and fried until crisp, but not heavy with grease. Verdict: Winner.
3. Fresh 'ahi won tons ($8.50). Crunchy won ton spoons piled high with fresh ahi poke and a bite of buttery avocado. Verdict: Winner.
4. Kimmi's Firecracker Unroll ($12.95). It's a deconstructed firecracker sushi roll that took on the form of a poke bowl. Sounds gimmicky, but it's actually pretty great. Verdict: Winner.
5. Sizzling steak with mushrooms ($17.95). One word: overcooked. The steak just didn't do it for us. Next time, we'll go right for the prime rib. Verdict: Pass.
In addition to trying five of Tollinger's recommended 10 dishes, we also tried the garlic cheese rolls ($5.95, pass!) and the stuffed mushrooms — crab-stuffed mushrooms on a bed of mashed potatoes blanketed in hollandaise sauce ($13.50, double pass!).
Overall assessment: The Chart House is a favorite with locals and tourists for good reason. Would we go back? Yes. The firecracker "unroll" and the super-friendly, efficient service have us hooked.
Apartment3, the lounge -nightclub-restaurant owned by club promoters Flash Hansen and Matty Hazelgrove and veteran restaurateur Chip Jewitt, recently announced a few changes at the 7-month-old restaurant at Century Center, most notable of which are a new chef and a new menu. New chef Robert McGee redesigned the restaurant's menu to focus more keenly on utilizing locally grown and produced ingredients, while retaining the place's gastro-pub sensibility, with dishes like macaroni and cheese with aged cheddar, snow crab and house-made chorizo, and pigs in a blanket ó house-made Italian, bratwurst and andouille sausages wrapped in a flaky crust.
Century Center 1750 Kaläkaua Ave.
Hours: 6 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 7-12:30 a.m. Saturdays
HAWAI'I, MEET THE DONER
The new Doner Shack in Chinatown's Maunakea Marketplace is the only place to get German-style Turkish doner kebabs ($4.75). Think Greek gyros, only these sandwiches are stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, feta cheese, spit-roasted beef or chicken (or both) and a drizzle of hot sauce and garlicky yogurt sauce.