Archive for the ‘Bar & Grill’ Category

YuZu splashes into scene

November 8th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos

Motoko “Moco” Kubota shows YuZu’s lotus pizza.

YuZu Hawaii hosted its grand opening party Nov. 3 at its location on the ground floor of the Ala Moana Hotel. The casual bar concept described as “not your grandmother’s Japanese cuisine” is the latest project of Isamu Kubota and Motoko “Moco” Kubota—following Kai Okonomiyaki, Kaiwa and Hale Macrobiotic—who continue to feed us in novel ways.

The couple still lean healthy, using veggie-based mayo, gluten-free tamari, housemade dashi and focusing on locally grown produce.

In spite of their having done this countless times before, the restaurant wasn’t quite ready when guests arrived, only to be left standing outside while the room was being set up. Food and drink were also slow to materialize and when platters did arrive, there was so little food on them that a mere six people could clear a whole tray if they merely grabbed two skewers of yakitori chicken.

It got to a point where people stood around the table and swarmed the minute a plate landed. I called it a fish feeding frenzy and Yelper Thomas Obungen corrected that it was more like watching piranha!

One of the restaurant’s pieces of food-related artwork.

Photographer Travis K. Okimoto took this shot over my head, with lots of hungry people patiently waiting for us to get our shots before closing in like zombies after brains! You can see all his yummy photos of the evening on his Facebook page.

I have to admit it was a bit scary, like being in the center of a mosh pit at times when I was just trying to take a photo, surrounded by an immediate circle of photographers, and outer circle of hungry people armed with chopsticks and forks. In those moments, I looked for a gap in the human wall to slip through, without risking grabbing a bite. It made no sense to try to grab a plate either, because by the time you got back, every scrap would be gone.

What I did sample was simple fare of french fries with yuzu aioli, garlic and regular soy beans, and tender yakitori that also paired well with the aioli. There was also a lotus-cheese pizza which could also be doused with Yuzu-It!, a bottled yuzu-pepper sauce.

One big selling point is that most of the menu items are priced at less than $10.

After I left, others who were there tweeted me about the udon I missed. When they’re running up to speed, three kinds—(hoso, thin round), (gokufuto, wide flat) and (futo, thick round), will be prepared fresh daily and cut to order. I look forward to trying it without battling a crowd.

YuZu is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner service  from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m., with full bar service, and parking is free at Ala Moana Hotel, or just walk over from Ala Moana Center after one of your holiday shopping tours.

Organic french fries can be dressed with a housemade ketchup or yuzu aioli.

Garlicky soybeans.

Tender yakitori, umm-umm good! Get them teriyaki style, or spicy. Both are salty, made for the bar set.

Ball-shaped temari sushi are named after the temari balls crafted from kimono fabric. Featured here are hamachi with jalapeño and sake sushi.

Celebration: Dave & Buster’s marks 10 years at Ward

October 7th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos
Dave & Buster’s Honolulu manager Matt Luckett, backed by his staff, thanked the audience for their patronage over the last decade.

Dave & Buster’s marked its 10th anniversary in Hawaii on Oct. 3, with a grand celebration covering two floors of the dining-and-entertainment mecca.

To be honest, I was a little confused when I saw the invitation. Ten years in Hawaii! Couldn’t be. I thought it might refer to the entire chain of restaurants, but no, D&B was born in 1982, when Dave (Corriveau) and Buster (Corley) teamed up in Little Rock, Ark., figuring an all-in-one entertainment complex would keep people on the premises a long time.

But when I thought about it, I realized that so many friends I dined with at D&B when it opened here a decade ago have left for the mainland in the interim. Time sure does fly!

More than 500 showed up to celebrate, purchasing $50 tickets, with half the proceeds going to Aloha United Way to support various community services.

There was a buffet set up in the second-floor Show Room, where I stopped first. There were a lot of families there enjoying a fried food buffet. Strangely enough, I went with a friend who had a dinner date afterward, so didn’t want to eat much, so I figured we’d go upstairs to the rooftop Sunset Bar and Lanai to see what was there before committing.

D&B’s rooftop Sunset Lanai’s lounge area was dressed up with balloons for the anniversary.

It was more adult, so we decided to stay there the rest of the evening, out in the open air, and there was some lighter fare such as fruit salad and poke, plus many items from D&B’s Sunset Bar & Grill menu, including teriyaki bar burgers (four mini cheeseburgers sell for $8.89 on a regular night), huli chicken, and more.

The Sunset Lanai is a great place to show up for Pau Hana Fridays, where you can listen to Hawaiian entertainment from 6 to 8 p.m., and enjoy happy hour from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Or late-night Wednesdays when there’s half off drinks and beer and wine specials from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., club sounds and a dress to impress crowd.Take the elevator up and it’s like the game and kiddie area doesn’t exist, unless that’s your thing.

Fried chicken and fried gau gee, below, were among the array of deep-fried offerings on the second-floor buffet.

Kiwi, honeydew melon, starfruit and mango on the Sunset Lanai.

Poke is always a crowd pleaser. It’s $12.95 on the bar menu.

A lot of people couldn’t handle the North Shore Spicy Garlic Shrimp, but if you like spicy and garlic, you get both to the max. Ten pieces are $15.99 on the bar & grill menu.

My other favorite dish of the evening was the kalbi, also on the menu at $14.95 for a pound.

Dessert of haupia squares.