The Real Deals For Meals

Jo McGarry
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Wednesday - November 02, 2005
| Share

taste the best
Ciao Mein manager Ronnie Sakata and Chef George
Lemson with the “taste the best” dishes

With gas prices the way they are, and the cost of living seemingly soaring out of control in Hawaii, I’ve been looking a little more carefully for dining options that are really good deals. Lots of promotions come my way in the course of a week, but many of them aren’t as attractive as they sound. Coupons often come with lots of restrictions, but let’s face it, if you’re going for a special night out, you don’t really want to be worrying about the small print on the clipped ad in your wallet. So, this past week I’ve been looking to see if there really is such a thing as a free lunch - and the answer is yes. Well, sort of.

There’s a free lunch being given at Brew Moon this month if you buy another when you’re there. It’s a genuinely good deal - I went for lunch the other day to check out both the offer and the food and was impressed with both.

The food at Brew Moon has improved tremendously in the past year and they offer a wide variety of ethnic dishes that include some excellent Thai dishes by their straight-from-Thailand chef, as well as some very good sandwiches, pasta dishes and fairly hearty entrees. Their pupu menu is designed to go well with selections of handcrafted microbrews, and the atmosphere at lunch is quite pleasant. The free lunch was designed to encourage lunchtime business, and general manager Lyle Matsuoka says it’s working well. “We’re seeing a lot of new people in the restaurant who are really impressed with the food,” he says. He grimaces slightly at the thought of all the free lunches they’re giving away, but then smiles as he acknowledges the return in investment. “We’re seeing as many as 20 new people a day for lunch.”

There are lots of similar offers around - though none so explicitly simple as a “free lunch.” But my favorite find of the week has to be at Ciao Mein, the “fusion” Italian/Chinese restaurant on the third floor at the Hyatt Regency Resort And Spa. I hadn’t been to Ciao Mein in a couple of years and I was keen to taste their food. Ciao Mein has been winning awards at the Taste of Honolulu for the past decade or so, and they figured a new way for people to experience the eclectic menu would be to feature all of the dishes at once.

Here’s the deal. The “taste” menu features 11 award-winning dishes, listed under seven different headings (best salad, best pasta, etc). Guests choose two dishes at a time from the tasting menu, and then choose more. And more. “We serve two portions at a time so people can see what they really like,” says Ciao Mein manager Ronnie Sakata. What people really like is almost everything. Guests who already know about the promotion have been coming back in droves to enjoy dishes that include Caesar salad, Szechuan eggplant, risotto, pasta with shrimp, grilled salmon, honey walnut shrimp, scallops with pasta, steak, and a divine tiramisu.

And yes, you really can order all you want. So, if you love their Spicy Ginger Garlic Shrimp, or can’t get enough of the risotto - just keep ordering until you’re done. There are no hidden charges or “no-no’s” or small print warnings to be wary of. Everyone at the table has to order the “Taste” menu, though, so if you go with a large party be aware of that. For dinner for two or four or more, this is a delightful way to eat - and at $30 per person, it’s truly a great deal.

Happy eating!

E-mail this story | Print this page | Comments (0) | Archive | RSS Comments (0) |

Most Recent Comment(s):

Posting a comment on requires a free registration.



Auto Login

Forgot Password

Times Supermarket


Wine And Dine Hawaii



Tiare Asia and Alex Bing
were spotted at the Sugar Ray's Bar Lounge