Elegant Dining Away from Waikiki at Alan Wong’s

We saved the best for last: Alan Wong’s, far from the tourist lines of the Waikiki strip. As one of the pioneers of refined Hawaiian food, Alan Wong’s continues to provide an excellent dining experience with efficient service and great food. It was hard to pick what to eat since the menu is so varied between a choice of classics, specials and two tasting menu options.

We decided to start with the Crab “Tofu” Agedashi which came with crab mousse made with a tofu-like consistency, Kona lobster pieces, boiled peanuts and lump crab meat all swimming in a kudzu (Japanese pea starch) dashi:

The “Mini Loco Moco” is always a favorite dish. It is a trio of mochi-crusted (glutinous rice starch) Unagi (eel) ‘meat-loaf’ topped with a fried quail egg. It was drizzled with a wasabi kabayaki (soy-mirin-sugar) sauce:

Another signature dish, “Da Bag,” arrived at the table looking like a giant silver pillow or a UFO:

The server expertly opens and folds the bag to reveal the tasty steamed clams, kalua pig, spinach and shitake mushroom dish:

The Pupule “Crazy Asian” Salad was broccoli florets and greens served with a pupu sampler of char siu BBQ pork skewer, Chinese roast duck breast and a pork lumpia. The hoisin-balsamic vinaigrette and orange supremes added the right amount of sweetness to this not-so-healthy “salad”:

From the classics side of the menu, the Twice Cooked Shortribs borrowed from the Korean culture of grilling soy-braised ribs “kalbi-style.” It was topped with gochujang sauce and shrimps delicately flavored with ginger:

The Seafood Duo offered a creamy rich shellfish (lobster, shrimp and scallop) “lasagne” and a butter-poached Kona lobster served over hearts of palm slices. Rafts of asparagus and a lobster butter sauce reduction completed the dish:

From the specials side of the menu, we opted for the special Big Island British white beef macadamia and onion crusted ribeye steak. It was served with a variety of local vegetables (some grilled and others tempura style) and a croquette:

The steak arrived perfectly rare:

A choice of white rice, brown rice or parmesan-garlic mashed potatoes come with the meat dishes. There was no contest regarding which starch to select and it was super creamy good:

We shared the Waialua Chocolate “Crunch Bars” which is like a very refined version of a Hawaiian Snickers. A layer of macadamia nut crunch was topped with bittersweet dark chocolate mousse. Served with a praline rosette and vanilla ice cream, it was the perfect ending to a great meal:

As if we weren’t full enough, house-made chocolate coated macadamia nuts arrived with the bill:

The only critique we could have is that their wine list could add a little more variety on the red wines. Perhaps they chose to stick with more food friendly white wines such as Rieslings and Gewurztraminers that pair excellently with their food. We opted to go with a bottle of Leitz Riesling Kabinett to go with our meal. It had the right amount of dryness to pair even with the beef dishes.

Alan Wong’s also attracts visiting chefs. The evening we were there, Chef Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto, New York) was also dining there with his family. All of the dishes contained very interesting fusion of Euro-Asian-Hawaiian flavors. The meal was an excellent way to end an excellent vacation.

Note: The BarFlys are vacationing in Hawaii. SF posts will return soon; in the meantime, hope you enjoy these travel-related posts.


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