A Few Favorite Dishes

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - February 15, 2006
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About twice day I get asked one of two questions: “What’s your accent?” and “Where’s your favorite restaurant?”

I have a pretty good answer for the first question, but the second one presents more of a problem. For all the eating out I do, as part of my job I can’t actually say I have a favorite restaurant. But it occurs to me that I do have dozens of favorite dishes from restaurants that represent a broad spectrum of Honolulu dining. Thought you might be interested to hear a few of them. At many of these restaurants, I have more than a few favorites, but these are the dishes that stand out for me, and the ones that I would order if I only had one choice. Of course, there’s never room to list everything and everyone, but this is a pretty good start. I’ll try to refrain from commenting on each dish, but forgive me if I slip in some notes on certain places. Here you go, some of my favorite dishes at some of my favorite restaurants.

The Lobster Potato Ravioli at Sarento’s.

New York Strip (medium rare) at the bar at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, with a big glass of Pinot Noir (Paraduxx, by Duckhorn, when I’m feeling festive).

Pad Thai at Spices on South King Street, or Stuffed Chicken Wings (the biggest and juiciest ones around).

Ahi Sashimi at Chart House - always fresh and always excellent.

Smoked Salmon and Capers at Murphy’s Bar and Grill.

Fresh Crisp Fried Artichokes at Longhi’s, along with the Steak Longhi and their wonderful chopped salad.

Puttanesca Sauce over almost any kind of pasta at the wonderful Café Sistina.

Pork Chops at Side Street, of course, with Fried Rice or Yakisoba noodles.

Chicken Deluxe kiawe grilled burger at Kiawe Grill, with a side order of well-done steak fries.

The stuffed mahi mahi at Hiroshi’s is delicious.

The house Smoked Salmon for breakfast with bagels and capers at Michel’s is some of the best around.

The Steak Alaea at 3660 On The Rise, or a dry-aged New York steak at d.k’s Steakhouse are always incredibly good.

Filet mignon of bison in a black truffle sauce is the creation of Chef Guillaume Burlion at Diamond Head Grill.

Potstickers at Seafood Village in Hawaii Kai.

Almost all of the dim sum at Mei Sum in Chinatown.

The guacamole dip at El Charro and the newly created Mexican shrimp cocktail are great for sharing.

Ribs at Sunset Grill, WHILE sitting at the bar with a glass of cold, crisp Riesling and lots of napkins.

Fresh fish at Nico’s is always great, as is his burger.

Roast turkey plate at Kakaako Kitchen, with Nalo Greens on the side.

Chef Chiang’s special dried beef at Shanghai Bistro.

The healthy bento plates at Umeke Market always have me wanting more.

Grilled Garlic Chicken with asparagus at Kai.

Whole Tomato Salad with ume vinaigrette at Alan Wong’s.

The slow braised and char-broiled short ribs at Roy’s are hard to beat.

The Crisp Fried Mozzarella Fresca at Vino is delicious, and I’d like to say I love their pizza but it’s been sold out the last few times I’ve asked.

A Carrot Ice Cream Cake from the deliciously decadent Cold Stone Creamery is irresistible.

The Chocolate Crunch Bars at The Pineapple Room are addictive.

I order Haggen-Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream wherever I can find it.

At Big City Diner there’s no better dessert than a Thomas Kemper Root Beer Float.

And I could go on and on and on. Now you can see why it’s so hard to give just one answer to where my favorite restaurant is. If you’re interested, there’s an even longer list on my Website, www.wineanddinehawaii.com

Happy eating!

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