Hawaii eats section
TGIF today focuses on cheap eats. In the spirit of fairness, here are some of the best and most expensive eateries, where tabs run at least $85 per person.
ALAN WONG'S RESTAURANT
Only culinary stars like Alan Wong can, year after year, turn out food so good that we keep coming back for more. Wong has made his mark on our palates and in our community. And that's infinitely more admirable than just filling our bellies.
Alan Wong's Restaurant, 1857 S. King St., 949-2526
George "Chef Mavro" Mavrothalassitis' food is in a category of its own. If you're into food and you have the bucks, Chef Mavro is more than a must.
Chef Mavro, 1969 S. King St., 944-4714
Restaurants with a view often mean less-than-spectacular food in Honolulu, but Hoku's gets A's for the panorama and its cooking. If you order the salt-crusted rack of lamb or the butter-poached lobster, you'll know exactly why many say Hoku's has the best food in Honolulu.
Hoku's, Kahala Hotel and Resort, 5000 Kähala Ave., 739-8780
There is no more gracious or serene room in the Islands than this open-air, wood-toned space with its postcard view of Diamond Head. The "Cuisine Soleil" is the essence of France with a touch of Hawaiian sunlight, and more than a touch of Island-grown ingredients and locally caught seafood.
La Mer, Halekulani Hotel, 2199 Kalia Road, 923-2311
OK, so the cost of one piece of sushi here is easily double what you pay at other Honolulu sushi bars. But so what? Every sushi connoisseur should try Nobu's at least once, or maybe a lot more. The whole menu sings a seductive siren song of food.
Nobu Waikiki, Waikiki Parc Hotel, 2233 Helumoa Road, 237-6999
It was a beloved Korean restaurant that closed a few years ago, but it’s back in business, to the delight of Sis Kitchen fans everywhere.
Serving up classic local Korean favorites like mandoo, bulgogi and kalbi, Sis Kitchen also makes a few of the more traditional Korean dishes like soon do bu chige (soft tofu stew), kim chee chige (kim chee stew) and yuk hae (think beef tartare with Korean flavors).
Lovers of the original Sis Kitchen will be happy to discover that the menu hasn’t changed much — except for the prices. For example, the popular garlic shrimp was $12.95 in 2003; now it’s $15.95. But after seven years, and with the current economic climate, a few bucks is a small price to pay for good food.
The restaurant is in the 11th Avenue Atrium behind Big City Diner, where Japanese restaurant Umi no Sachi opened and closed within the same month last year. Umi no Sacho owners Ted and Sara Sung also own Sis Kitchen.
11th Avenue Atrium
1137 11th Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily
MAC AND CHEESE FOR GROWN-UPS
It's no secret that Henry Adaniya of Hank's Haute Dogs (324 Coral St., 532-4265) is the local king of encased meats, but have you tried his truffled macaroni and cheese ($4.95)? Thick, al dente tubes covered in a savory white cheddar cheese sauce infused with truffles and topped with panko crumbs — it's the best highbrow, lowbrow food in the city. Besides his hot dogs, of course.
Moana Surfrider is rolling out a new weekly wine-tasting event titled Wine Wednesdays at Beachhouse at the Moana every Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
The Surfrider’s resident certified sommelier, James Maher, guides participants through several unusual wines that are featured on Beachhouse’s wine list. The event is $10 to $25 per person, depending on the variety of wines and the appetizers created by the hotel’s chefs. For more information, visit www.beachhousewaikiki.com or call 921-4600.
The Sheraton Waikiki has introduced the new executive chef of its tapas and rum bar RumFire. Taking previous chef Colin Hazama’s place is Matthew Naula, a local boy, born and raised in Pälolo. Chef Naula’s new RumFire menu is Latin-Hawaiian fusion fare with offerings like kalua pork empanadas, a pülehu grilled beef tostada and his “Bahawaiian char-broiled beef carne asada.” Naula uses the term “Bahawaiian” to describe his food that “mixes the spicy, hot sizzle of Baja with the fresh, cool tropical touches of Waikïkï.”
The Sake Shop, a new specialty store that is dedicated exclusively to sake, opened this week at 1461 S. King St. (947-7253) The Sake Shop is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.