Hawaii eats section
WE'RE CRAVING: PūPū
AKU BONE LOUNGE
Aku Bone on Kona Street always serves up great pūpū at good prices, cheap drinks and, unexpectedly, the best rack of lamb in town. Cooked to a perfect medium and served with a tangy mango chutney dipping sauce, the lamb is hardly typical bar grinds.
Aku Bone Lounge, 1201 Kona St., 589-2020
BRASSERIE DU VIN
The moules frites at Brasserie du Vin are a pile of succulent mussels topped with crispy golden fries, and we can't get enough. But these fries aren't a vehicle for grease — they're used to sop up the slightly briny white wine and garlic broth that bathes the mussels. And when we run out of fries, we move on to the bottomless basket of warm, crusty french bread.
Brasserie du Vin, 1115 Bethel St., 545-1115
FORT STREET BAR & GRILL
Colin Nishida, owner of the famed Side Street Inn, also owns Fort Street Bar & Grill, a little hole in the wall on Fort Street that happens to make amazing pūpū steak — and it makes Side Street's signature fried pork chops.
Fort Street Bar & Grill, 745 Fort Street Mall, 523-1500
Oceans 808's poke shooter is one of the best ways to kick off a happy hour. The bite-sized dish is made with well-seasoned chunks of fresh ahi, and though it isn't really made for shooting, it still tops our list.
Oceans 808, Restaurant Row, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., 587-5838
From the crab dip to sweet potato fries, Ryan's is always a sure bet for good pūpū at good prices.
Ryan's Grill, Ward Centre, 1200 Ala Moana Blvd., 591-9132
The steak in Wolfgang's Steakhouse's steak sliders is tender and perfectly cooked to a rosy medium-rare — and dipped in Wolfgang's signature steak sauce; the mini 'wiches are a perfect bite.
Wolfgang's Steakhouse, Royal Hawaiian Center, 2301 Kalākaua Ave., 922-3600
FRUIT, ICE AND EVERYTHING NICE
After opening its first location in the Royal Hawaii Center in 2008, Tropical Iceland has opened a second spot at Ala Moana Center, which means a fresh fruit-topped snow cone is never very far away. Specializing in super fluffy ice and fresh, healthy fruit toppings, Tropical Iceland is the antidote for gummy bear- and Froot Loops-topped frozen yogurt. A long menu of shaved ice and topping choices includes mango, kiwi fruit, strawberries, bananas and even all-natural fruit sorbets. And if you need a hit of sweet to counter all the freshness, get your cone drizzled with sweetened condensed milk, or skip the ice altogether and order the chocolate fondue.
DECADENT TWIST ON LOCAL CLASSIC
Sansei Seafood Restaurant's (2552 Kalākaua Ave., 931-6286) dungeness crab ramen ($16.95 ) comes with Thai basil, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and real crab meat. The black truffle butter dashi, though, is what makes the dish addictive. The truffle essence adds an earthy, rich, buttery flavor that takes it well beyond the classic ramen.
— Melissa Chang
Old-time local favorite The Ranch House is reopening Feb. 15, and will serve up the same homestyle cooking that made it a beloved dining staple in the 1970s. The 2010 version of the restaurant will open at 449 Kapahulu Ave., on the second floor of the Hee Hing Plaza.
In celebration of The Old Spaghetti Factory's 41st anniversary, the Ward Warehouse restaurant is rolling back prices on Jan. 12 and 13 and offering its signature pasta meals at a 41 percent discount, which means diners can get a full meal for about $5.
The discounted price is available for lunch and dinner for two days only. The anniversary special includes a complete meal, with a salad, bread, entree, beverage and dessert. Kids' meals will cost about $3.
Get spaghetti with tomato, meat, mushroom or clam sauce; the signature spaghetti with mizithra cheese; the Sicilian meatballs and Italian sausage entrees; or a number of other menu items, for $4.71 to $6.48. Call 591-2913 for more information.
3660 On The Rise (3660 Wai'alae Ave.) chef-owner Russell Siu has a stash of Oregon white and black truffles that will be the stars of a six-course, prix-fixe menu Jan. 26. Seating for the $90 gourmet meal is limited. Call 737-1177 for more information or for reservations.