Hawaii eats section Guilt-producing grinds we love
By Cymri Chang
Special to Metromix
Put down that beer and try something ... different. We drank our way around town in search of good and unusual cocktails.
'MODERN LUXURY' AT NOBU
With Nobu being primarily a sushi restaurant, you may be tempted to skip past the cocktails and head straight for the sake menu. But you'll be pleasantly surprised at such drinks as the refreshing Modern Luxury ($14), a Japanese cucumber lemonade made with Bombay Sapphire gin and Chambord, garnished with Chambord caviar.
Nobu Waikiki, Waikiki Parc Hotel, 2233 Helumoa Road, 237-6999
THE 'NENE GOOSE SHOT DOWN OVER MAKAWAO, MAUI' AT CHART HOUSE
You'd assume that at the Chart House in Waikíkí, they'd be catering to tourists' preferences for mai tais and lava flows. But bartenders defy this theory, satisfying intrepid tastes of the adventurous by experimenting with strange combinations like the "Nene Goose Shot Down Over Makawao, Maui" ($9), a fierce combination of Yukon Jack, Southern Comfort, creme de banana and pineapple juice.
Chart House, 1 765 Ala Moana Blvd., 941-6669
THE 'GOLDEN GREEN GOBY' AT WAI'OLU BAR
The new Wai'olu Bar at the Trump International Hotel has made an effort to separate itself from the rest of Waikíkí, even when pitted against other high-end competitors. The Golden Green Goby ($14) is made with lemongrass ginger tea and Ty Ku liquor. With other drinks involving Chinese five-spice powder and macadamia nut syrup, this definitely isn't your typical resort watering hole.
Wai'olu Bar, Trump International Hotel, 223 Saratoga Road, 683-7456
'STYLIN' OUT' AT THE MANIFEST
Stylin' Out ($7) is a Mandarin Blossom vodka creation, blended with apricot brandy that brands itself exactly like Warheads lemon candy. With a sweet initial taste, followed by a mellower tartness, it's not one of those girly drinks that induces horrible sugar migraines. Dangerously delicious, all the way to the very last sip.
The Manifest, 32 N. Hotel St., 523-7575
REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUP AND SKITTLES MARTINIS AT OCEANS 808
Titus Nakagawa, resident bartender extraordinaire, makes Ocean 808's signature Skittles martini ($8) while showcasing some of his own original masterpieces, like his Reese's Peanut Butter Cup martini ($8), made with real peanut butter. It's a sinful, indulgent alternative to your typical club-fare thirst quenchers.
Oceans 808, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., 587-5838
Ken and Cindy Wong, owners of Banana Leaf Pasta Cafe in the McCully Shopping Center and the recently shuttered Banana Leaf Bistro in Market City Shopping Center, have opened their most recent food venture, the Anytime Cafe in Market City (735-3888). The family restaurant is named for its eat-anything-at-any-time approach to dining. The cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering everything from Am-french toast (stuffed with peanut butter, if you want it) to burgers, Italian pizza and Asian-inspired fare like jook and shrimp wonton soup.
There's a new lunchwagon in town. Joe Aloha took to the streets a couple of weeks ago with a yellow truckload of smoked meats. Joe is James "Kimo" Akaka, who parks his portable smoker and his lunch truck on Kamake'e Street (between Waimanu and Kawaiaha'o streets, 779-9770). He sells smoked ribs, chicken and sirloin plate lunches ($7) to an ever-growing crowd of regulars. He also sells fresh fish plates, but word on the street is that it's his ribs that keep people coming back for more.
A NEW HOME FOR MEI SUM
No longer in its longtime sun-washed corner spot on Pauahi Street, Mei Sum Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant has new digs at 1170 Nu'uanu Ave., in the old home of Zaney's (next to the post office).
Other than its location and a bigger space, nothing has changed. The place still offers a wide selection of Hong Kong-style dim sum — and, unlike other dim sum houses that don't offer the typical early-in-the-day food for dinner, Mei Sum keeps the dumplings coming all day long. Parking is still a challenge, and the service can still be less than congenial, but it's drawing even bigger crowds than before thanks to the new space that holds more tables.
1170 Nu'uanu Ave.
Hours: 7 a.m.-8:45 p.m. daily
THE TOAST OF THE TOAST
Shokudo (941-3701) is celebrating its anniversary with a twist on its signature honey toast. As if the thick slices of sweet bread topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with honey aren't indulgent enough, the Cookies 'n' Cream Honey Toast ($9.45) comes with crushed Oreos and is drizzled with chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. Available only through March 7.