Chronic Grumblers And A Side Street Wedding

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - June 24, 2009
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Chef Colin Nishida and bride Mel Nishioka

I am convinced that some people enjoy complaining more than they enjoy being happy.

I replied to an e-mail last week from a reader unhappy with the treatment he received in a restaurant. Usually I call the restaurant and tell the owner or manager about the complaint, and they almost always invite the unhappy customer back for dinner.

In this case, the manager could not have been more pleasant, offering dinner, apologies and more. Our reader though, would not be comforted and continued to complain about his food. Through further investigation, we discovered he’d insisted on having a steak very well done when the waiter’s recommendation was to try this particular dish medium rare. If you like your steak cooked until it resembles a piece of leather, then you really shouldn’t be surprised when it tastes that way. I think restaurants sometimes take the blame for too much ...

I run from one restaurant to another most days and rarely pause for a complete lunch, but I was stopped in my tracks last week by the furikake-crusted, beer-battered fish and chips created by Jeffrey Vigilla. Chef Jeffrey is the executive chef at Hilton Hawaiian Village, and he’s created the new casual beachside menu for Tropics Bar and Grill. The food is perfect beach-side fare, and the fish and chips, served in the British style (faux newspaper, and vinegar) is fab. I took a few bites after I’d taken a photo and then could barely restrain myself from finishing the whole thing.


Tropics is just one reason to visit The Village this summer. If you haven’t already checked out the Waikiki Starlight Luau, it’s worth the price of admission for the food alone. Unlike most other tourist-driven events, this one focuses on serving locally grown food on the ample buffet. Nalo Farms Salads, Fresh Island Ahi, Thai Lemongrass Chicken, Rotisserie Top Sirloin Round of Beef and Roast Suckling Pork are some of the less traditional dishes on the menu. Look for online prices to get a good deal if you’re going with a group. I took our boys a couple of weeks ago and they were mesmerized by the traditional Hawaiian, Tahitian and Samoan dancers ...

Restaurateurs, chefs, foodies and family gathered happily when Side Street Inn owner Colin Nishida and his longtime partner Mel Nishioka finally tied the knot after a courtship of 17 years. The reception, held at 3660 On the Rise was the kind of turnout you might imagine for one of Hawaii’s most popular chefs.

Even Russell Siu took the night off to enjoy the festivities. “Who’s doing the cooking? ” I asked. “Well, Colin did most of it,” he said of his workaholic friend. Among the drinks served at the reception was something unique: Colin’s own beer. Rogue Brewery owner Jack Joyce, a frequent visitor to the Islands, has dedicated Rogue’s newest brew, Side Street Inn Ale, to Colin.

“The day I opened the bag and pulled out that bottle of beer with my picture on it was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me,” said Colin. And then the wise groom added, “Next to getting married, of course.”

Happy eating!

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