Hawaii eats section
WE'RE CRAVING: 'AHI
It's not New Year's in Hawai'i if there's no 'ahi on your plate, and one of our favorite places to grab a bucket of 'ahi poke to go is at Fresh Catch. Our must-have poke: the limu kohu 'ahi poke (market price).
Fresh Catch, 3109 Wai'alae Ave., 735-7653
At Monarch, even the fish bones are cooked to perfection. You can get anything from pan-fried 'ahi bones to nori-wrapped crab-stuffed 'ahi, all for under $9.
Monarch Seafoods, 515 Kalihi St., 841-7877
NICO'S AT PIER 38
if you like your 'ahi cooked, no one makes an 'ahi sandwich like Nico's. They use ultra-fresh right from the auction, grill it and top it with a wasabi aioli.
Nico's at Pier 38, 1133 N. Nimitz Highway, 540-1377
The menu is a blend of Japanese, Chinese, Korean and local pub fare. It's all good, but nothing beats the ahi yukke. It's served like steak tartare, only it's seasoned 'ahi on a slice of cucumber, topped with a raw quail egg and pieces of Korean pear.
ZenShu, 477 Kapahulu Ave., 739-7017
This little Japanese and Korean place may be one of Pearl City's best kept secrets. And yes, the ahi is spicy – really spicy. You can also get sushi, donburi, kalbi, jun and tempura – it's all there (everything is $9-$15). Try the lunch specials, which allow you to mix and match a variety of main dishes to go with your rice.
Spicy Ahi, 98-1254 Ka'ahumanu St., 488-4851
Pā'ina Cafe's poke bowls are all good, but we really love the spicy 'ahi bowl with taegu ($5.95). Sounds crazy, but trust us: It's addictive.
Pā'ina Cafe, Ward Warehouse, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd., 356-2829
Kailua is the perfect place for gourmet delis and artisan food outlets. Everyone knows that. R. Field, Tamura's and Kalapawai Deli do brisk business on the Windward side. But the addition of the Hibachi fills a niche no one even really knew was there. The local-style gourmet deli, which opened two weeks ago, offers fresh, gourmet food that truly caters to local palates. In addition to a large selection of good wines and an icebox full of imported beers, the Hibachi also sells good old-fashioned beach pulehu food like marinated raw meats, fresh poke and super ono boiled peanuts.
515 Kailua Road
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily
THIS QUESADILLA IS GOOD NEWS
Quesadillas. Not news. Ryan's Grill. Definitely not news. This quesadilla they got going on the pūpū menu? Happy, happy, joy, joy news. No tired green chilies. Or tasteless cheese. Or so-called salsa. Instead, you get wheat tortillas paved with slightly spicy pulled pork, drizzled with something sweet and fruity, served with a chutney made of mango, orange rind, golden raisins and piquant vinegar.
Attend a traditional Japanese New Year's blessing at Damien School 's Hatsumode 2010. The traditional New Year's mochi soup, ozoni, will be served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. According to Japanese tradition, eating ozoni on New Year's Day brings strength for the coming year.
The Willows' chef Jay Matsukawa is offering a New Year's Day buffet today that includes a chilled seafood station with kim chee tako poke, 'ahi poke, king and snow crab legs anda carving station that includes rosemary-crusted prime rib and an herb-spiced rack of lamb with mint-infused demi-glace. The menu will also include holiday favorites such as corn chowder, roast turkey, misoyaki butterfish, roast pork and a crab-crusted salmon with lemon dill sauce. And for dessert? Pumpkin pie, red velvet cake, custard pie, pumpkin spice bread pudding, strawberry cheesecake and an eggnog panna cotta. The buffet is available between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. today and is $39.95 per person for lunch or dinner. Call 952-9200 to make reservations.
Korean restaurant Orine Sarangchae is now open on Ke'eaumoku Street (905 Ke'eaumoku St., 955-0646), and offers a menu that includes a few hard-to-find items such as lamb kalbi, sea grass naengmyeon (cold noodles) and sea squirt. Lunch specials start at $3.99.