An April 2003 trip
to Oahu by uyyek
Quote: I was stationed in Pearl Harbor while serving in the U.S. Navy from 1999-2003 and spent a little time exploring the island.
Check the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau website at www.gohawaii.com for information on local events and specials.
We chose the prix-fixe menu, plus wine pairing:
Foie gras mousse with a Banyuls wine reduction -- Served with a crisp wheat cracker, this helped to establish a flavor on our palates for what was to come.
Beer-tempura battered foie gras served over asparagus flan with Banyuls wine reduction -- The creamy, delectable texture and flavor of good foie gras, married with a soft and smooth flan, without the heavy grassy notes I expected. The reduction added a hint of sweetness and fruit, which complimented the aforementioned flavors perfectly.
Tartares of hamachi, ahi, and salmon with Ossetra caviar -- Layered atop one another, Napoleon-style, the fish were cemented by a layer of creamy crab, and served with accents of green pea.
Sea scallops Provencal-style with chanterelles and risotto on a rosary of fresh tomatoes -- The scallops, mushrooms and tomatoes were almost secondary to the fine texture and flavor of the risotto underneath. The scallops were still firm without being rubbery and matched well with the buttery chanterelle mushrooms.
Spiny lobster "Tristan" au gratin on a bed of mushrooms and glazed angel hair pasta with bercy sauce -- The lobsters were sweet, with a light gratin covering them. The creamy sauce married well with the pasta, and the sauteed mushrooms still possessed a lot of their flavor.
Sauteed John Dory fillet with avocado in an orange-basil butter sauce -- Firm, flaky fish with just enough of a crust to give it a certain toastiness. The sauce was light and creamy, with hints of its flavoring ingredients without overpowering the fine taste of the fish.
Mussel soup with saffron -- In a word, this small offering was sublime. It shows the wonders of a simple dish done RIGHT: not too salty, not bland, not overdone.
Lamb with mushrooms, Monte Carlo, and south of France-style vegetables -- The lamb was barded with bacon before roasting and slicing, imparting a wonderfully smoky flavor. It was accompanied by a small, sweet pearl onion and tomato, stuffed with a rice-based stuffing and a zucchini "tart."
Selection of French cheeses -- The restaurant offers about a dozen different cheeses. We decided on Roquefort, a Pont-de-Neuf, a chevre, and another very sharp cheese whose name escapes me but which I loved -- sharp but very soft. Accompanied by walnut bread, walnut halves, grapes, and dried apricots.
Dessert variation "La Mer" -- A selection: pineapple parfait, garnished with a thin, dried slice of pineapple; a fruit compote of fresh berries; a fruit "tart" with fresh strawberry, blueberry, and honeydew melon; a scoop of mango sorbet; a chocolate cup with almond cream and garnished with fresh fruit.
The service was friendly, timely, and well-informed. The view is undeniably romantic, and the food is sublime. It costs a bit, but it's worth every penny. Treat yourself to a dining experience that is unequalled in Hawaii.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 26, 2005
2199 Kalia Rd.
Oahu, Hawaii 96815-1988
Restaurant | "Keo's in Waikiki"
The menu borrows heavily from classical Thai cuisine, with a local touch to some seafood dishes. There are the usual suspects, of course, including firm, flavorful phad Thai noodles with a slightly spicy peanut sauce and tom yum goong (a spicy fish soup). Specialty items include the Evil Jungle Prince, a spicy basil, coconut milk, and chili dish served with your choice of chicken, shrimp, or seafood, and Bangkok duck, sliced roasted duck served with either a red or green curry or steamed vegetables with a plum sauce.
The wait staff is friendly and helpful without obviously promoting menu items, and the food was incredible: rich, intense flavors permeated every dish and were familiar yet exotic at the same time. The only dish that didn't light our fire was the green mango salad -- it wasn't bad, but it was a little bland. Prices were quite reasonable for a restaurant of this caliber. It was definitely high on the list of repeat visits -- we'll be back, and so should you.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 26, 2005
Keo's In Waikki
2028 Kuhio Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
This is one of the few restaurants where you could just walk up and order one of everything on the menu, because EVERYTHING is good here. Although they list it as a special, spanakopita (spinach and feta in phyllo pastry) is available all the time (and it is indeed quite special). The hummous and babaghanoush are very good and just heavy enough with garlic to make it good date food. I would also recommend the avgolemono soup, which is tangy and slightly salty and whets the appetite for more delights to come. Meats for the gyros include roasted lamb, chicken, and a fish of the day.
Bring your billfold, folks -- they don't take credit cards, but it's worth the trouble (hell, I'd pay in Kruggerands if it was necessary - the food is that good). They also don't have a liquor license, but you can bring a good bottle of wine with you and drink it there.
The Olive Tree Cafe is a little out of the way for many tourists and slightly inconvenient for not accepting plastic, but worth the trouble. It has some of the best Greek food this side of Athens and definitely the best in Hawaii!
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Olive Tree Cafe
4614 Kilauea Ave.
Attraction | "Diamond Head"
The trail is paved but steep in places and should be considered carefully for those with health conditions. There is no shade other than in the tunnels (and please don't stop there, because there isn't room for people to stand around), so plan an early morning or late afternoon ascent and bring plenty of water. Bathrooms are located at the trailhead only, so be sure to take care of your business ahead of time. The view, however, is breathtaking. Open 6am to 6pm daily. There is $1 entrance fee per person for trail maintenance
Diamond Head State Monument
Diamond Head Road And 18th Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
There is also an IMAX theatre, a huge gift shop (of course), a main stage for the evening show (included in all admission prices), a cafeteria serving breakfast and lunch, and a dining hall for a more-or-less authentic luau before the evening show. The price varies widely, depending on what extra activities you want to see and do, but is definitely worth the experience. Be sure to plan ahead and arrive the second the doors open at noon; this place definitely takes a while to see.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 27, 2005
Polynesian Cultural Center
55-370 Kamehameha Highway
Laie, Hawaii 96762