Hawaii eats section
THE NEW BOOTS & KIMO'S
Boots & Kimo's Homestyle Kitchen (151 Hekili St., 263-7929) recently moved to a new location just up the street. The new space — at the corner of Hekili and Hahani streets — offers double the seating (about 60 seats), customer restrooms and a small parking lot.
Even with bigger digs, the line is as long as ever, but the turnover on tables is still fast and efficient, with parties being called in as soon as groups exit through the front door.
As a means of expediting service, the old Boots & Kimo's used to take diners' orders as they waited outside. That practice has been done away with, but the servers now use an electronic order-taking device to send the orders from the table directly to the kitchen, skipping the note-taking and computer-inputting steps that restaurants typically use and thereby speeding up the process.
Not much has changed with regard to ambience. The Denver Broncos are still a decor theme, but owners and brothers Jesse and Rick Kiakona have expanded their collection to include memorabilia from other sports as well. Televisions tuned to sporting events complete the sports-theme atmosphere.
We also noticed that the prices have gone up. Some dishes were only a few cents more, while others were higher. For instance, the $7.99 pancakes used to be $7.59.
We couldn't visit Boots & Kimo's without ordering the pancakes and famous macadamia nut sauce ($7.99 regular order, $6.99 short stack). The sauce is just as good as it's always been, but the pancakes didn't seem as fluffy as they were at the original location. We're hoping we just got a bad batch of batter.
Other must-try dishes on the menu are the fried rice with bacon and Spam ($6.50) and the pulehu short ribs ($5.99). Rice lovers should try the Onolicious Fried Rice Omelet ($10.95) — a fried-rice-stuffed omelet with melted cheese.
Overall, the new Boots & Kimo's is an improvement over the old space. Despite some kinks, we love that the new location is bigger, the service is still fast and efficient, and most important, the food is as good as ever.
— Edward Morita
SAKE TO ME
The BYOB izakaya joint has just found its perfect match. The Sake Shop, a specialty store devoted exclusively to sake, opened on South King Street on Jan. 9. Owner Nadine Leong, with the support of her husband and fellow sake enthusiast Malcolm, took the leap to open the niche store in response to what they say is ever-growing popularity of sake. The Sake Shop plans to expand its inventory to include about 150 different brands of sake, ranging from the moderately priced ($10 a bottle) to high-end bottles (more than $90 a bottle). Sake-drinking accoutrements like cups and carafes will also be available at The Sake Shop within the next few weeks.
THE SAKE SHOP
1461 S. King St.
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays
RAISE A PINT, GO ORGANIC
As if the Liliko‘i Wheat Ale and Black Sand Porter aren’t proof enough of Kona Brewing Co.’s slick brewing skills, the brewery has just unveiled Hawai‘i’s only certified organic Belgian-style beer, the Oceanic Organic Saison. The straw-colored unfiltered beer is crisp and lemony with a hint of pepper — and it’s only available on tap at the restaurant (Koko Marina Center, 394-5662).
Blue Hawaii LifeStyle cafe opened its second location this week at 1111 Bishop St (566-0088). The flagship cafe in Ala Moana Center is a popular destination for health-conscious eaters, and is best known for its best-selling acai bowl. BHL is expanding to the Mainland with its first of five planned San Francisco locations, scheduled to open in May. The company is planning to go international with a Shanghai location opening in 2011.
Alexander Alioto and Maui chef Ivan Pahk will collaborate with Vino chef Keith Endo to prepare a five-course country-style Italian dinner Feb. 3 at Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar (Restaurant Row, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., 533-4476). Seatings for the prix-fixe meal are at 5:30 and 7:45 p.m. The dinner is $50 and $75 with wine pairings. On the menu: red-wine-poached egg with shaved beef carpaccio and Parmesan cream; classic risotto; seared snapper in a seafood broth with olives and capers; veal loin with swiss chard and garlic chips; coconut panna cotta topped with fresh tropical fruit and caramelized almonds.
The Willows restaurant (901 Hausten St., 952-9200) is reviving its Poi Thursdays event starting Feb. 4, with an all-you-can-eat Hawaiian-food lunch buffet and live lunchtime entertainment available from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Thursday ($17 in advance, $20 at the door).