Bravo For A Great Lunch
Wednesday - January 16, 2008
Jo McGarry is on vacation.
Warning: This is a very biased restaurant review. I love Bravo in Pearl City and have since the first time I dined there many years ago. Love everything about it, including the colorful, lively ambiance.
Now some people might criticize an Italian restaurant where condiments include ketchup, Tabasco and French’s mustard. But as manager Greg Duldulao told me over lunch last Thursday, making no apologies, the fare here is “Americanized Italian.”
But they do make their own pastas - spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, rigatoni, capellini and fusilli - and pizza crust, and it works for this American. Apparently it does for lots of other folks too, because the place is packed by noon - business folks, military, young couples, retirees, ladies catching up over lunch. (For large groups, there’s a private room that seats 24.) And any restaurant that survives 20 years in this town - Bravo celebrates its 20th anniversary in a couple of months - must be doing a lot of things right.
To be honest, I’ve never had dinner there. (Aiea residents Jerry Coffee and Susan Page tell me Bravo is one of their local dinner faves.) But when this Windward guy is on that side of the island at lunchtime, Bravo is the choice.
“People love us for lunch,” says Greg, cousin of Gil Duldulao, Janet Jackson’s longtime choreographer and dancer. “We emphasize fast service, so you can get in and out.
“And we have a special lunch menu with smaller portions.”
My favorite in recent years has been the Sausage-and-Spinach Ravioli with a Caesar salad, both half-portions ($8.49), served on a wooden platter. Vegetarians might prefer the Spinach-andRicotta Ravioli and a salad.
On this day, however, I set out to try some new tastes.
But first, as always, come the Garlic Rolls, although Garlic Puffs might be a better term. Fluffy white dough with garlic, parsley and olive oil, they are unique to Bravo and one of my favorite starter breads anywhere.
If you like clams, try the Linguine with Clams in a light, broth-like butter-garlic sauce, served as a half-portion with salad ($8.49). The clams are tender and plentiful. I may have discovered a new favorite.
Unless it’s the pizza. The crust is thin and crispy, yet also moist. You can order a 10-inch pie ($9.99 tops) or two hefty slices with salad ($5.99).
If you’re hungry and love seafood, Seafood Harvest with Linguine is a memorable dish ($16.99). It’s sauteed shrimps, scallops, calamari and Manila clams in a light tomato cream sauce.
“But you can mix and match our sauces,” Greg says. “We have a lot of regulars who have been coming here for years, and we know that they prefer a sauce other than what’s on the menu, and we’re happy to do it. We aim to please.”
The aptly named Harvest is such a large portion that most of it went home in a doggie bag.
Alas, there was no room for a sandwich, but those I saw going past on their way to other tables looked quite tasty. They include Homemade Meatball with Marinara sauce on an Italian roll ($7.29), Spicy Sausage with Marinara, melted mozzarella and sauteed peppers and onions ($7.49), Chicken Parmigiana ($7.99) and even the 10-ounce Bravo Burger ($8.49), which would explain the ketchup and mustard.
For steak lovers, there’s a 12-ounce New York strip ($18.99, most expensive item on the menu.)
Bravo also has a bar that serves mojitos and a wine list that is not long but is good. That’s a Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay in the photo.
The dessert menu is also impressive, including a yummy tiramisu and something called Death By Chocolate (both $4.99). And there’s pie from Anna Miller’s, located just upstairs ($3.49). Both places are owned by Stanley Miller.
Apple pie may not sound real Italian, but like everything else at Bravo it is real good.
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