Great Chart House Dining Deals

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - October 22, 2008
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Blackend Ahi in shoyu-ginger sauce with drawn butter

Jo McGarry is on vacation; This story is written by Don Chapman.

Walking along Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, it was heartening to hear the sound of music, conversation and laughter coming from upstairs. Last Thursday, unlike many restaurants in our town, Chart House was the usual fun and happening place it’s always been.

“We appreciate that local people have been very supportive,” says longtime general manager Scott Okamoto.

Scott and his staff have made it easy to do that with menu changes that make it possible to enjoy an evening out on a tight budget.

New since my last visit a few months ago are several items from the pupu menu marked “Lite.”

For example, a full order of Kimmi’s Firecracker Unroll - a deconstructed ahi tuna sushi roll of ahi poke, nori strips, ogo, radish sprouts, grilled onions and green onions on a bed of rice topped with a spicy cream sauce - costs $12.95. A “lite” portion costs $8.

A full order of Chart House’s famous Oysters Rockefeller - “People who always order Oysters Rockefeller when they go out tell us that ours are the best,” says Okamoto - costs $15.95 (for four). The lite version is just $8.75. That’s a deal on these luscious Pacific Northwest oysters cooked to perfection in the shell topped with spinach and a Mornay sauce unique to Chart House (a tarragon reduction sauce is the secret ingredient).

“We want to make it possible to go out and eat for under $20,” says Okamoto.

We also sampled a lite portion of Blackened Ahi cooked in a shoyu-ginger sauce and served with a cup of melted butter and scoop of wild rice mix. The fish melts in your mouth, and butter does for ahi what it’s long done for lobster. A full order costs $31.95, lite $19.95.

Sizzling Szechwan Shrimp Platter

Another winner is the Sizzling Szechwan Shrimp Platter, tasty and spicy($16.95, but the Tuesday lounge special at just $9).

Chart House also is offering one of the best dining deals in town - a $27.95 Dinner Special with lots of tasty options. First, there’s a choice of Caesar salad or soup of the day. Entree choices include Jake’s Famous Fried Pork Chops with mango chutney; Chicken Piccata, a breast sauteed in lemon buerre sauce; Asian Basa, a tender white fish filet sauteed in a lemon caper sauce; Sizzling Skirt Steak sauteed with mushrooms and onions, and Super Prime Rib Sandwich, New Orleans-style with sauteed onions. Dessert options include key lime pie, crème brule and fresh fruit sorbet. Coffee and tea also are included in the package.

One of the great things about Chart House is the fantastic ambiance and setting - one of the nicest places on Oahu to watch the sun setting. And it’s a fun place to be with a hopping lounge scene where there’s live music seven nights a week. Not to get all pop psychologist on you, but the best restaurants are really an expression of the way their owners see the world. In the case of Chart House, it’s a fun and festive world indeed. Founded by Joey Cabell, the former world champion surfer (and avid snow-boarder and sailor), the Chart House exudes a casual charm.

“This is a fun place to be,” says Okamoto. “From the moment you arrive, we want this to be a fun place. Yes, Chart House is a fine dining restaurant, but the atmosphere is more casual. Joey’s philosophy is ‘hang loose.’”

It’s a combination that obviously works. Celebrating its 40th aniversary this year, Chart House is the oldest singly owned restaurant in Hawaii.

And clearly, you can have a great meal here without getting past the lite appetizer menu.

But not on this evening. Having had the “onos” for prime rib for some time, I had to go with what Okamoto calls “one of our flagship” items on the menu. Chart House works directly with Harris Ranch in California for its beef, raised without hormones and fed corn grown without pesticides. A 7-ounce prime rib costs $29.95, 12-ounce $38.95, and 16-ounce $47.50, and they’re all tender, tasty and juicy - everything a prime rib should be.

Craving satisfied on another fun Chart House evening.


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