Monday, July 27, 2009

House Without A Key - Halekulani Hotel

So I've been here twice and it's a great atmosphere. It's in the back of Halekulani Hotel in the beginning of Waikiki (the western side or beginning of Waikiki). On the expensive side (for me, entree $25, alcohol midrange was $10 - $12)... so it's on occasion. This would be a great place for a date or just a low key evening out. Beside the restaurant is the pool area. Opposite that is a French restaurant which I hear is supposed to be one of the better ones in Hawaii.... and of course... the ocean. Unlike some of the other places, there is no beach. Just a beach walk (not sure if that's the right term). Always nice to hear crashing waves though.
The lighting is dim and it's an indoor/outdoor seating arrangement. There is a small performance area where local traditional music is played. Often there are 1 or 2 dancers as well. The music is very calming. There are seats around smaller knee height tables in the area for a more casual night out where you can order appetizers and drinks. We chose this arrangement the first time I came here.
The food is local. Last time, I had the lobster roll which was good but left me hungry. It was an appetizer anyway. Also tried there ahi poke sliders which was good (another appetizer). Still left me hungry Then again, I'm always hungry. This time I ordered their fish of the day, ahi. Accompanied by some sauted vegetables and two shrimp. Nice presentation. They could have consolidated it on a smaller plate though. Oh also a bowl of rice. The fish was fresh and had a light flavor. Small filet... couldn't have been more than 8 ozs. I should have asked for it be cooked a little less. My fault for not asking. The shrimp was good but a bit overcooked as well. Honestly the best shrimp I've had is from the shrimp trucks (i'll review those at another time). The portion wasn't that much though. Best thing about the place is the atmosphere. Good food, good service as well... I'd recommend it for ending a night out for a nightcap and light snack. Also note the prices as it can quickly add up if you want more.
For more information, check out the link below:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tokkuri Tei - 611 Kapahulu Ave Ste 102, Honlulu, HI 96815

First off, thank you Kristina for telling me about this place. This place is a very well known, local, traditional Japanese restaurant. There menu is extensive with tons of appetizers (raw and hot), little dish, variety of fresh sushi, entrees. I started with some roasted pepper appetizer and also an eel dish (i'll have to go back to get the names)... the roasted pepper was simple and tasty... the eel appetizer was served in a small bowl. It was fresh water eel, with some bamboo chutes (i think) and in a light broth... The sushi, so fresh... this is by far the freshest tuna I've had. I just ordered the plain old maguro but it's nothing but plain. It melts in your mouth... not tough... and they give you a generous portion per piece of sushi. Also had a catepillar roll (eel, avocado, tuna). I really should have stuck to sushi so I could get a better taste of the place but I'm a sucker for the americanized monster sushi rolls. I'll have to go back and make some notes, my memory is faded already. Dave (the friend and co-worker who went back to the east but taught me a lot about Hawaii in the short time i knew him), Nicole (ex of the friend who went back to the east and is now by best bud), Kristina (the prego friend who uses it as an excuse for everything and a spoil at work by bringing her food), Troy (Kristina's hubby, don't know him too well.. very chill... reserved guy), and I went almost 2 months ago. Irionically the point of that last sentence was to indicate how long ago it was but I got off track. Well I'll be back to Tokkuri Tei. Dad you'd love the place. Oh yeah, good variety of sake. What I noticed here about Sake, they usually serve it in 150 ml portions. Of course that's too much for a shot but they don't give you a little container. It's a shot glass (i've been served the tall thin ones) in a box (looks like a traditional japanese style... see wiki for a pic in the lower right showing a similar looking box... the one in the restaurants had a black lacquer with some designs though). They poor the sake in the glass and let it overflow til the box is full so you drink from the shot glass and box. Anyway... til next time.