The ‘Taste’ Of Ciao Mein’s Best

Jo McGarry
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Friday - June 09, 2006
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Ciao Mein, the east/west fusion restaurant at the Hyatt RegencyWaikiki, is offering a deal right now that shouldn’t be missed, whether you have something to celebrate or not.

Ciao Mein has been winning accolades at the Taste of Honolulu since the festival began, and has amassed an impressive list of winning dishes. Last year, as a short promotion, the staff decided to showcase these dishes on one menu. The result is an all-youcan-eat dinner that combines the best of fine dining (you get great service in a fine-dining atmosphere) without the downside of a buffet (standing in line and serving yourself).

The Taste the Best menu costs $40.

“The idea was to create a menu that allowed people to get a taste of Ciao Mein as well as letting them taste some of the best dishes over the past few years,” says assistant director of food and beverage, Ann Taketa.

Dinner begins with an excellent minestrone soup served with a basket of Parmesan crisps and fresh bread. Nine more dishes then come to the table with reasonable speed. Two dishes are brought at a time, although in reality, one of each is enough to share. The menu describes the portions as “tasting” size, but they’re just about a “normal” portion of food. Certainly if you do have an extra-large appetite, you will absolutely love this menu and the fact that once you’ve tasted every dish you can start all over and eat your favorite dishes again.

“We have a lot of people who just re-order the steak and shrimp,” says chef tournant, George Lemson. “But then we also have guests who’re really happy just eating the menu once.”

One of the nice things about the dining experience is that the wait staff (an exceptionally good-natured group of servers) really pace the guests and try to judge what they can eat.

“If guests seem like they want double of everything all at once then that’s what we serve them,” says Lemson. “But if we can see that the guests are pacing themselves, we serve them single dishes to share.”

There’s an excellent Caesar salad served in a won ton cup, followed by Penne Campagolo and Petti di Pollo (tender chicken breast), Hot Bean Salmon Alla Siciliana, Honey Walnut Shrimp and Raviolo Aperto (filled with scallops), Szechuan Eggplant, Bistecca di Manzo Alle Erbe (beef). And remember to save room for a delightful tiramisu.

Happy eating!

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