Kiawe Grill's Kobe Burger

Kiawe Grill’s Kobe Burger, $8.65

With two major televised sporting events taking place over the weekend (BJ!!!), there’s no question hamburger, hot dog, pizza, buffalo wings and beer sales across the nation will reach figures high enough to dig us out of this economic crisis. At least, we wish it worked that way!

Like all the other aformentioned armchair quarterback favorites, there’s hamburgers, then there’s good hamburgers, then there’s GREAT hamburgers.

Enter Kiawe Grill’s Kobe Burger. This ALMOST, just ALMOST, was the BEST DARNED BURGER I’ve ever had on Oahu. Or at least as far back as I can remember.

Before I tell you why I said ALMOST, let’s first take a look what’s inside…

Kiawe Grill’s Kobe Burger – topped with iceberg lettuce, tomato and onion

Not sure if you can fathom its size on your computer screen, but this burger is massive. That black plastic plate is your typical-sized dinner plate, so that should help give you some scale. The patty itself is a King-whopping 8 oz., or if it sounds better like this, a “half-pounder” (before being cooked).

Now, just looking at it, there’s one very obvious shortcoming and one not so obvious.

First and foremost, I must note this Kobe beef is sourced from the mainland, not Japan, which may not be as superior, but thankfully my wallet thinks more superior of me thanks to that. Besides, I can’t see paying $100/lb. of prime Japanese Kobe beef only to grind it up and throw it in a hamburger. Laters with that. I’ll take a steak!

Anyway, the obvious shortcoming here would be the ICEBERG LETTUCE. Ack! That may work in a whopper or jumbo jack, but when accompanying the absolute GEM of a patty this Kobe is beneath it, it’s kinda’ like putting a 650 horsepower Ferrari V-12 engine in a Dodge Caravan. It’s gonna’ haul your kids to school and soccer practice faster and more thrilling than they’ve ever been transported before, but it certainly isn’t gonna’ handle like an Enzo. Ya’ know what I mean?

If it had been at least Romaine, or even better, Manoa Lettuce, it would lifted the entire burger to greatness. As it is with the iceberg, it just simply cheapens it. Like washing your brand new Bentley at a drive-thru car wash. Or, God-forbid, parking it next to a Yugo.

The other less-obvious shortcoming was the bun. Not so much the quality or size of it, which was decent, but they missed a SIMPLE KEY STEP in making a great burger, which is to lightly either toast or grill the inside parts that meet the patty and toppings. In my opinion every great burger has to have lightly-grilled or toasted buns. And that’s such an easy thing to do! Just throw ’em on the fire and within seconds, pau and it’s perfect!

The tomato and onion were also rather average in flavor and wasn’t top-shelf stuff. What I love about The Shack’s burger is that they use red onions, which I think has a much better flavor than regular white onions, and aren’t that much more in cost. Using a Kamuela Tomato would be nice, too. The sum of parts such as that can lead to greatness I tell ya’!

While I don’t know what exactly their cost is for the Kobe patty alone is, for $8.65 I’d think Kiawe Grill could use better veggies to accompany it. If not, I’d be willing to pay maybe a dollar more for it. I mean sheesh, all it is, is a a couple slices of a tomato, onion and a few leaves of lettuce.

And I don’t mean that by the price or principle of it, but the ever-important sheer taste & texture as you bite through the entire burger, bun, lettuce, patty and all.

Now that I got the lackluster veggies and untoasted bun out of the way, let’s talk about what could have made this burger not just good, but GREAT, which is that awesome half-pound Kobe beef patty.

Notice how perfectly medium-rare they cooked it, which is specifically how I ordered it. Bea-u-ti-ful. It was also seasoned perfectly, with what tasted like just kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. It wasn’t over or under salted, but perfect. Perfect. Did I say that enough already?

Not only was it seasoned and cooked to perfection, it TASTED perfect. Incredibly beefy, with just a hint of smokiness from the Kiawe wood it’s grilled with, and also incredibly JUICY…

Kiawe Grill’s Kobe Burger drippin’ with juices

OMG! I wan’t another one, like, NOW!

I was gonna’ ask for cheese on it, but decided not to on this first try just so I could fully savor the Kobe beef in all its glory without any distractions. Still, I can just picture this beauty of a patty all smothered with sauteed crimini mushrooms and melted swiss cheese. Unfortunately Kiawe Grill doesn’t offer mushrooms as a topping option, only (American) cheese and bacon. They really outta’ consider expanding that part of the menu to appease everyone. Who knows, maybe an Ostrich Burger would be even more fantastic with an Avocado on it, or Bleu Cheese. Never know until you try it.

What further highlights those comparably-lackluster veggies and untoasted bun was the fact that Kiawe Grill also got the fries right…

Kiawe Grill’s French Fries (Steak Cut), $2.95

How can you get the fries right, but things on the burger wrong?!! Ack!

STill, ohhhh yes. Huge steak-cut fries like this? You kidding me?! My favorite style!

I mean these fries really are HUGE. Biggest cuts I’ve seen yet. Just look at the size of them in scale while on the same plate with that also massive Kobe Burger. We’re talking the Costco-sized baking potatoes that these must have come from. They taste just like Teddy’s fries, so if you like theirs (I love ’em!), you’ll love these. Tender and moist inside and zesty ‘n lightly-crisp with a slight “chew” on the outside. I even finished them when they were cold and they were still delicous. When you can do that, now THAT’s good fries.

See, so Kiawe Grill got just about everything right to make this Kobe Burger “experience” (because it is one) one of the BEST DARNED BURGERS I’ve ever had on Oahu. Kobe Beef patty? Great. Bun? Needs work. Veggies? Needs work. Fries? Great. Darned it! I hate when that happens.

I’d have given it not just 5 SPAM Musubi, but 10 had it got everthing nailed, but those shortcomings actually reduces my rating to not 5, not 4, but 3. Which is still darned good. Not quite the “best darned burger in the world” good, but pretty darned good.

Still, darned it! (slaps thigh)… I was oh so, so, so close to discovering THE BEST DARNED BURGER on OAHU.

Click to enlarge

Kiawe Grill
1311 N. King street (Kalihi)

*Other locations include Mo’ili’ili and Aiea

Kiawe Grill menu pdf (current as of 1/09)

Tasty Island Rating:
(on Kobe Burger)

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)

Related links:
Kiawe Grill – The Tasty Island
Kiawe Grill – ‘Ono Kine Grindz
Kiawe Grill – Yelp user reviews
burger kings – Honolulu Advertiser
Burger Wars – Hawaii Diner

Presenting what just might be the LONGEST POLL in the history of WordPress!…

Sneak Peek: New Chun Wah Kam in Kapolei

Diner A and his ohana stopped by the new Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory restaurant outlet in Kapolei this past Saturday for lunch, and while there captured a few photos of the establishment and food. Since they were taken with his cell phone, they aren’t going to make the cover of Honolulu Advertiser’s Dining Out section anytime soon, but at least you get a glimpse of what the new place looks like, in case you haven’t had the opportunity to make it out there yet.

The way the system works here is you pull a number, then when you’re called, one of the customer service staff walks you down the entree selection counter and serves your plate as you point and choose what you want. That same person handles each ticket in its entirety, so if you have a party of 2 or more, that person will handle their order as well, and ring everything up together.

Because there’s so many entrees to choose from, he says it’s best if you first scope everything out by taking a preview walk down the serving counter (like that man in the gray shirt is doing) before standing in line to order. This way you get a head start on what there is (and how it looks) and what you (might) want. Then you go and pull your number and wait there to be called.

OK, looking at this photo, you see just one item (which is steamed lup cheong rice) has a (handwritten) sign on it. Now take notice that all the other items DO NOT HAVE SIGNS telling you what each dish is. So every dish you see, if you don’t recognize it, you must ask your server what it is. That was his biggest peeve and frustration about their system.

Hopefully with them being new, they’re just still working out the details and haven’t gotten to this one yet. All they gotta’ do is generate small, yet descriptive signs using their administrative PC and a laser jet printer and stick them in (replaceable) clear sleeves attached to the front of the display window where it’s visible to the customer. How hard is that?

Shoot, I’d be peeved too. Especially when there’s that many items, and in some cases, when side-by-side make look identical, but aren’t.

Take manapua, where its filling is concealed…

OK, I see that’s baked manapua, but what’s in it?

Dear Mr. Kam, please make signs for your food selections at your new restaurant in Kapolei. Mahalo!

Anyway, off we continue on our guess-n-assume journey of what there is to eat at the Chun Wah Kam Kapolei….

OK, I can tell those fat noodles are Udon, combined with luncheon meat and green onions. The noodles to the right are fried saimin noodles. That’s the starch Diner A chose.

More views around the restaurant…

Notice the contemporary architectural fixtures and interior design.

There’s no shortage of ovens like this to pump out dozens and dozens of boxes upon boxes of fresh-baked Manapua…

Cool hair.

To order, you can either choose a mini entree plate for $6.50, a single entree plate for $7.75, which includes a starch and 1 entree. Or you can order the 2-entree plate for $9.25 which includes 1 starch and 2 entrees.

Or, if you really wanna’ mix it up, for those same prices, you can divide each item into half-portions. So for instance, what you can do with the one-entree plate for $7.75 is get a half-portion of Chow Funn, along with a half-portion of Fried Rice; then for the entree you can choose, say, a half-portion Beef Broccoli along with a half-portion of Sweet and Sour Shrimp. Therefore effectively turning that example one-entree plate into a total “4-choice plate”.

Same math for the 2-entree plate, which also includes 1 or any combination of starch. So for this one you can get, say, a half-portion Chow Mein, and a half-portion White Rice for the starch, then for the entree get a half-portion Beef Choi Sum, half-portion Charsiu Pork, half-portion Lemon Chicken and half-portion Ginger Chicken, effectively doubling all the choices to six. Sweet. Not just Taco Town sweet, but Combo #5 sweet!

The Manapua and various Dim Sum can be added to your plate, but those items will be added to the price ala carte per piece; you can’t substitute them for the regular entree items. Darned it.

Here in all its camera phone glory is Diner A’s 2 entree-turned-4 entree (plus 1 starch) plate from Chun Wah Kam Kapolei…

That’s Shoyu Chicken on the very top, with the two deep-fried ball-shaped items above and below the Charsiu Pork being deep-fried Pork Hash and Garlic Fish to the right, with an order Fried Saimin for starch.

His phone camera takes amazing macros…

Seriously though, he raved about the deep-fried Pork Hash, saying he could eat entire plate of just that. Wow, must be really ono! Everything else on his plate was a winner as well, earning an overall 3-SPAM Musubi rating.

But is Mr. Kam getting trade secrets from Mr. Libby on the current market conditions for Manapua?…

Wow Laulau! Where’s da’ Beef!? …errrr… Charsiu?! For $1.50 each, we want more charsiu! We want more charsiu! We want more charsiu! They’re gonna’ have to join the “Manapua Buns” club along with Libby’s. lol

What looks rather enticing for you budget-busting party planners out there is this featured prix fixe catering selection called the the “House Special Set Menu”, which includes: Beef Broccoli, Sweet Sour Spareribs, Oyster Sauce Chicken, Chow Mein Noodle, Crispy Kau Gee and White Rice for just $7.35/person for 20-200 people, $6.85/person for 201-400 people and $6.75/person for 401 people or more. That’s a very good deal in today’s market as far as catering is concerned.

The new Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory restaurant opened for business on December 16, 2008 (according to staff). They’re located in the also new Crossroads at Kapolei Shopping Center, serving as anchor tenant along with neighbor Simply Organized, a new concept “fashion-forward” organization and storage specialty retailer.

Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory (New!)
in the (also new!) Crossroads at Kapolei Center (adjacent to Simply Organized)
885 Kamokila Blvd
Kapolei, HI 96707
(808) 693-8838 (<—see entire menu there)

One last note on the Crossroads at Kapolei: also slated to open there will be a Teddy’s Bigger Burgers. Yay!

2/19/09 Update:

Here’s a baked Manapua Diner A picked up from the Chun Wah Kam in Kapolei on a subsequent visit since the first time shown previously…

Baked Manapua from Chun Wah Kam Kapolei

Now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout! Choke Charsiu, baby! Ono, da Charsiu too. Flavorful, moist and authentic, without being strange or weird-tasting. As good as local style Manapua Charsiu filling gets. Nice and bold red color too.

Instant Miso Soup

I’ve been under the weather since Sunday with all the symptoms of a bad cold, compounded with a sore back from doing some major heavy lifting domestic chores, and I was not feeling good at all. The chilly night time temperatures only made those conditions feel worse.

Thankfully I had this easy-to-prepare instant miso soup featured here to help nurse me along the way to a warm recovery. When I’m feeling sick like this, toggling between hot showers, piping-hot Chicken Noodle Soup and Miso Soup is my usual course of action to feeling better.

Like any other highly-regarded prepared dish, soup can’t be beat when home-cooked and made from scratch, but when my body isn’t able to take on that task, instant or canned is A-OK with me.

We all know instant ramen by now, as it’s been around for decades, ever since the late and great Momofuku Ando invented and first introduced it to market in 1958.

While I couldn’t dig up the history of instant miso soup, I can personally say I’ve only seen it around our local supermarkets within the past 5 years or so. At least these here Japanese brands.

Probably the most popular flavor is the Tofu shown above. I’m also a spinach fan, so I grabbed that flavor as well recently to try…

If you’re wondering what those round white doughnut-shaped items are, according to the ingredients list, they’re “wheat cakes”.

Each of these bags include 8 servings made up of packets, with one containing the miso paste, and the other containing the dehydrated seaweed, tofu and other garnishments…

Miso Paste and bonito soup base in packets on bottom, dehydrated garnishments in top packets

One thing always appreciated with foreign imported food products is translated instructions into English…

Easy enough. Add contents of packets to bowl then add 2/3 cup boiling hot water. Here’s how the contents look before the water is added…

With water added…

Looks oishii to me.

Now here’ the spinach instant miso soup before water added…

Add mizu…

That looks oishii as well.

The dehydrated garnishments, as advertised, instantly come to life with vibrant color and full-bodied texture. It’s especially appreciated how much volume gain the wakame (seaweed) increases by. The Wakame also retains much of its original “seaweed-ish” flavor. The green onions (negi) also have retained much of their as-good-as-fresh flavor, which helps bring out the flavors of the garnishments even further. The spinach is full-bodied as well. The rehydrated tofu isn’t nearly as good as fresh, and also cut rather small due to packaging consraints, yet FWIW, not having to buy and prepare that, plus everything else separately, I’m absolutely good with it as is. The round wheat cakes seem to be in there mostly as an appearance and texture enhancer and don’t add much as far as flavor except to absorb the miso broth quite well.

Then there’s the miso broth itself, which is kinda’ generic, yet it’s still flavorful and true to what it is. I’m not complaining. As long as it’s piping-hot, you should be happy with it. Also make sure you have it diluted properly, which is 2/3 cup of hot water.

You could easily doctor this by adding fresh-cooked clams (asari) or even additional fresh tofu.Or shoot, even canned clams would work. I LOVE clams in miso soup.

When making Miso Soup from “scratch”, the only real hassle is getting everything together that’s otherwise all packaged and ready to go with these instant types.

We have this tub of Shiromiso (white) on hand for scratch use next time….

And learning from my girlfriend’s Nihongin friend from Japan, when making Miso Soup from scratch, I make the broth stock starting by boiling a piece of saba or any other white flesh fish in water, along with Kombu and a some dashi. This really adds depth to the the finished product. Again, clams also are the BEST when making miso soup from scratch.

Another variant of Miso Soup I was immediately fond of after trying it is Tonjiru…


This was served at Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin in Waikiki.

Speaking of Tonkatsu and its traditional accompanyment, Miso Soup, waiting on the backburner is my soon-to-come Tonkatsu Sauce Shootout…

Top row left to right: Katsu Sauce Dobuzuke, Ikari Tonkatsu Sauce, Kikkoman (US), Bull Dog Vegetable & Fruit Sauce (Tonkatsu Sauce). Bottom row left to right: Seasoning Sauce Mitsuya Tonkatsu Sauce, Kikkoman (Japan), Tokiha Sauce Tonkatsu Sauce, Pole Star Tonkatsu Sauce

What? Instant Miso Soup – Tofu and Spinach varieties
Who makes it? Miyasaka Brewery Co., Ltd.
Where did you buy it? Don Quijote Kaheka
How much did it cost? $3.79 sale price per 6.04 oz. package (8 individual servings)
Big shaka to: Easy and convenient to prepare. All the garnishments are in the bag. Instructions translated in English. Wakame especially flavorful and bulky in volume. Tofu and wheat cakes add nice texture and reasonable genuine flavor FWIW. Satisfactory miso broth. Helps chase away a cold. Loosens stiff joints. Healthy (besides high sodium). Good value @ just 43 cents per serving.
No shaka to: Miso broth, while satisfactory, is a little on the generic side as is. Getting sick. Lifting heavy ceramic tile boxes without doing stretches first.
SPAM Musubi rating: 3

Whole Foods Eats: Olive Tortilla Chips

Olive Tortilla Chips (It’s a cracker, too!) Made with Black, Green and Kalamata Olives, Garlic, Sea Salt

Whole foods’ debut Hawaii location in Kahala Mall opened relatively recently back in September 2008, replacing former tenant Star Supermarket.

I finally made it in there myself a few weeks ago to check it out for the first time, and was honestly very impressed, while also being sticker-shocked at the same time. I’ve been told the average bill at the check out will easily reach $50 for just one bag of groceries, or perhaps even double that if you’re buying 100% organic and top-shelf gourmet products, which is certainly in abundance there. it’s just about everywhere you look.

While the price point at Whole Foods certainly isn’t their most attractive attribute, their incredible selection of hard-to-find, unusual and most often health-conscious food products absolutely is. Enough at least to keep me coming back to browse for a couple hours at a time, perhaps choosing a thing here or there to take home and try out. Seriously, you could easily spend an entire day (and even perhaps night!) perusing through their aisles just reading over the labels of the mind-boggling array of goodies that fill their well-stocked shelves.

Like Costco, Whole Foods is also a great place to find those unusual snack items that you otherwise either wouldn’t have noticed, or wouldn’t be able to find at all in the “regular” supermarkets.

Not to sneeze to at the likes of locally-rooted Foodland, Times and Star Market, who are doing a great job renovating and reinventing their brand to keep up with the latest consumer trends in Hawaii’s competitive grocery retail market segment. So kudos to them. And, FYI, I am a regular at those places too.

But Whole Foods Kahala is new, and that’s always a fascinating novelty.

OK, that’s enough with the introduction about Whole Foods, let’s get down to our very first snack item to try out from there, which is this bag of Olive Tortilla Chips (it’s a cracker, too!) Made with Black, Green and Kalamata Olives, Garlic and Sea Salt. It’s made by a company named FoodShouldTasteGood™. Founder Pete Lescoe explains more about his company like this:

A Simple Idea…

I love food and have been working in grocery stores and restaurants sicne starting my first job in high school. The most important thing I learned along the way is taht food tastes best when it is made with quality ingredients and thougtful preparation. This simple idea inspired me to take wholesome, all natural ingredients and capture their great flavor by baking them INSIDE a chip to create a new kind of snack. It just felt right to call my company FoodShouldTasteGood. It’s a lot of work to live up the name, but I wouldn’t want it any other way

Pete Lescoe
Founder, FoodShouldTasteGood, Inc.

There are seven flavors in their snack chip line-up, including this Olive flavor, along with Jalapeno, Chocolate (really?), Multigrain, The Works!, Buffalo and Sweet Potato. All sound (and looked) enticing to buy and try each one, but one at a time please, onegaishimasu, lest my blood pressure blow my head off. lol

Here’s how the chips look outside the bag and stylishly-plated for your viewing pleasure…

Olive Tortilla Chips

Now scroll back up and take a close look at the fine print beneath the ILLUSTRATED chip on the bag, and it says “Enlarged to show texture and detail”…. of an ILLUSTRATION! Well, fortunately now you can see exactly how the REAL chips looks like thanks to the photo provided here.

This particular Olive flavor is described as such: “A combination of real black, kalamata and green olives offers a genuine flavor which punches up a quick snack and perfect base for dips like hummus.”

They also claim these are all natural, gluten free, good source of dietary fiber, not genetically modified, kosher (orthodox union), trans fat & cholesterol free and lactose free.

Ingredient are: Stone ground corn, high oleic sunflower oil and/or safflower oil, black olives, green olives, kalamata olives, corn bran, garlic powder and sea salt.

Manufacturer’s recommended accompaniments for this include Spinach & Artichoke Dip and Hummus.

So how are they? Very crispy, with a pronounced corn tortilla flavor. You can certainly taste the olives that are mixed in little bits and pieces throughout the masa dough, but it ‘s more of just a hint instead of being the dominant flavor force. Yet the three types of olives in there provide enough of a difference to take this tortilla chip away from being purely Mexican to more of a Mexico-meets-Greece Mediterranean fusion affair. It really is a refreshingly new and interesting surprise. Enough that my eyes and palate lit up with delight upon the first few bites. What’s probably the best part about it is it’s not just some processed, high sodium artificial and natural flavored POWDER that they coat on it like say Doritos®, but actual whole pieces of olives that are mixed right in with the corn tortilla masa dough.

The only real gripe I have with this, as I do with many snack chips, is they’re a bit too salty. Even if it touted as having sea salt, there’s just a little more than it needs in my opinion. Which could further complicate what kind (or brand) of dip or toppings you choose to jazz it up further. Even plain, straight out of the bag, I could only eat about 6 chips before my mouth starting drying up, blood started boiling and causing me to quickly reach for a glass of water to dilute the effect. Perhaps your palate can tolerate salt more than I can, but I’m fairly senstive to it.

To try jazzing it up myself, since I didn’t have any hummus or spinach and artichoke dip on hand, I went with what I did have, which was dollop fresh sour cream, american parsley and Mezzeretta brand bottled roasted red bell peppers…

Olive Tortilla Chip with a dollop of fresh sour cream, slice of roasted red bell pepper and sprinkle of chopped american parsley

How was it like that? Very good. The cool, creamy, slightly tangy sour cream countered the salty tortilla chip while helping to tie the bold zestyiness of the olives and roasted red pepper together, while the American parsley provided an added dimension of herbal bite and texture.

Even better though was when I substituted that with Philidelphia Cream Cheese and chopped green onions…

Olive Tortilla Chip topped with Philidelphia Cream Cheese, Roasted Red Bell Peppers and Green Onions

Oh yeah, much better. The cream cheese is an even more effective (albeit richer) vehicle to bring out the flavors of both the olives and the roasted red bell pepper. The chopped green onions were also more effective in helping out all the flavors than the parsley.

I’m certainly game for the sweet potato flavor next.

There’s just so many other interesting and unusual items to try at Whole Foods, not sure when again I’ll try another flavor of this brand of chips. Eventually I will though.

Now if only Hawaii could get a Trader Joe’s!

What? Olive Tortilla Chips (It’s a cracker, too!) Made with Black, Green and Kalamata Olives, Garlic, Sea Salt
Who makes it? FoodsShouldTasteGood, Inc.
Where did you buy it? Whole Foods Kahala Mall
How much did it cost? $3.50/6 oz. bag
Big Shaka to: Bits of of the 3 types of olives in the corn tortilla give this chip an interesting Mexican-meets-Greek Mediterranean fusion twist. Tortilla chip is very crispy and fresh-tasting, with a rigid, sturdy thickness to it as well. Excellent with cream cheese, roasted red bell pepper and green onion topping. All natural ingredients. Kosher. Fair price considering the quality. Other flavors by manufacturer sound enticing to try. A glass of ice water. Fusion Mexican-Greek Cuisine.
No shaka to: A bit too salty for my taste. Its flavor profile tips more in favor of the corn tortilla than the olives. Not having any salsa, spinach and artichoke dip, hummus or guacamole on hand to contribute to this review.
SPAM Musubi rating: 2 plain; 3 with sour cream, roasted red pepper and parsley topping; 4 with cream cheese, roasted red pepper and green onion topping.

What? Whole Foods Kahala Mall
Big Shaka to: Incredible selection of hard-to-find, top quality, health conscious food products. Beautiful store design and merchandising displays. Comprehensive layout. Overall very comfortable, shopper-friendly ambiance. Massive deli. Nice paper grocery bags.
• No shaka to: Pricey. Parking in that part of Kahala Mall can often be a challenge. No Trader Joe’s in Hawaii.
SPAM Musubi rating: 3 (bring the prices down and I’ll give you a 4)

Kalihi Eats: Pho Dillingham & Grill

Pho Dac Biet

Pho Dillingham & Grill Vietnamese & American Food Restaurant recently opened for business on December 10, 2008, replacing the former popular local grinds hot spot, Spot’s Inn, who closed their doors on August 23rd, 2008.

They’re located on the corner of Dillingham and Kokea street across Honolulu Community College. If that isn’t enough of a landmark to help you find it, the beautiful Hawaii Kai Marina-like Kapalama Canal is nearby. Or there’s also a radio tower towering behind it.

Let’s start with their name, PHO DILLINGHAM & GRILL, which sounds grammatically incorrect (not that my grammar on this blog is any better). Perhaps “DILLINGHAM PHO & GRILL” might sound better. Or, “PHO DILLINGHAM & KOKEA”. Or even “PHO & NEAR DILLINGHAM”. But to combine the location with “& GRILL” just doesn’t make sense. Kind of like saying “THE SHACK BAR & HAWAII KAI” in reverse. Ya’ know?

Anyway, just had to get that off my chest.

Pho Dillingham & Bar…. oops, I mean, Pho Bar & Grill.. oops, I mean, Pho Dillingham & Grill describes themselves as specializing in Vietnamese & American Food. Yet, considering the shoes they’re filling (Spot’s Inn), they really should include “local grinds” in there somewhere, as that does make up a noticeably-contrasting variance of their menu, which otherwise is predominantly Vietnamese.

Speaking of which, let’s get right to that by clicking here to download and view Pho Dillingham & Grill’s menu in PDF format. Did you get that? If you didn’t, see a Geek Squad expert at Best Buy Iwilei and they can help you get it. Or even better, drive up mauka on Alakawa street, make a left Ewa-bound on Dillingham, and just a block up the street you’ll be right there (actually on the left) at Pho Dillingham & Kokea… I mean Grill. lol


Notice the radio tower behind it, which you can see pretty much from anywhere around central Honolulu.

Like most other fast food & plate lunch joints around, as you walk in here, you’re greeted by a front ordering counter with a lit menu board above and behind. Here’s Ben, the owner (and very nice guy) taking an order from a customer…

Ben (da’ ownah) takes an order

If you’re wondering whether he’s Vietnamese (you know, ’cause he really looks French), yes he is, and speaks his native tongue quite prominently when calling (more like yelling) the orders to his cooks (one of which may be his dad or uncle) in back. Yet his English is very good, so no worries on that part.

While this place is relatively new, they seem to already have a following, as was evident by the steady stream of patrons arriving to order while I was there…

You can dine in or take out here. If you decide to eat there, there’s a substantial amount of seating in the air conditioned dining room…

This is actually just the right and back side of the dining room. The front side along the windows were filled with folks.

That bottle of Thai Chili Sauce to the far left with the cap off seemed to be a popular condiment with patrons dining in.

With PHO being the primary part of their name, you’d expect that dish to be their specialty, which is exactly what most folks were ordering during my visit. . As went out yet another Pho Combo bowl, along with a side of Summer Rolls…

Dine-in order of PHO (combo) and side-order of Summer Rolls

Looking back at the take-out menu PDF the Geek Squad Expert so kindly helped you download, notice it’s not separated by category. Well, the menu board in the restaurant is, so I’ll explain which is what, to help you make your decision what to order.

Obviously the first item listed is the breakfast…

Ben should extend the hours to 10:30am, just to stay in check with McDonalds. I’m a little disappointed the selection here doesn’t including anything uniquely Vietnamese. Isn’t there a Pho-flavored sausage of some kind? Or, perhaps use Quail eggs instead of chicken eggs. And Jasmine Rice instead of short grain white rice. Ya know?

What I admire about the rest of the menu is that every item is NUMBERED, along with alphabetized sub-selections. Very nice. EVERY restaurant should use the alphanumeric menu system to reduce screwing orders up.

• #1 ~ 3 = EGG/RICE NOODLE (Mi, Hu Tieu)

• #4 ~ 11 = NOODLE SOUP/PHO (One size large

• #12-18 = BEEF STEW

• #19 ~ 25 = VERMICELLI RICE NOODLE (Dried Bun)

• #26 ~ 32 = RICE PLATES – Co’m Dia

• #33 ~ 36 = FRIED RICE – Co’m Chien (Egg, Pea & Carrot)

• #37 A ~ D = PAD THAI (Pho Xao Sauce Thai)

#38 = SALAD (Goi)

• #39 ~ 41 = VIETNAMESE SANDWICH (Banh Mi)

• #42 ~ 44 = CURRY (with Rice or French Bread or Rice Vermicelli)

• #45 ~ 50 = VEGETARIAN FOOD

• #51 ~ 59 = LOCAL PLATES (Served with 2 Scoops of Rice & Toss Salad)

• #60 ~ 64 = BURGERS (Served with French Fries, Lettuce & Tomato)

finally, there’s DRINKS

Notice there’s a POST-IT® covering the Strawberry and Avocado flavor. Could those be the hit flavors that sold out quickly? Dunno. French Coffee with Condensed Milk sounds interesting. I’ll have try that next time there.

So what did we get? Diner A ordered the Pad Thai #37-A…

PHO DILLINGHAM & GRILL: Pad Thai – Fried Rice Noodles, Veggies of Special Thai Sauce & Ground Peanuts (Pho Xao Sauce Thai) with Chicken (or you can choose beef, shrimp or tofu), $8.75

Diner E went with the French Bread with BBQ Pork Vietnamese Sandwich…

PHO DILLINGHAM & GRILL: French Bread with BBQ Pork Vietnamese Sandwich, $5.00

Accompanying that, he also got some Summer Rolls…

PHO DILLINGHAM & GRILL: Summer Rolls (Goi Cuon), $4.95

And yours truly went for the signature dish, the Grilled Dillingham. Oops, I mean the PHO…

PHO DILLINGHAM & GRILL: Pho Combo (Pho Dac Biet), $7.75

Usually I’m apprehensive about ordering any kind of soup for take-out, mainly for fear of it spilling as I drive to my destination, but this time took a chance. Besides, I need to begin earning my stars as a seasoned PHO tasting expert, especially with so many new shops popping up all over Oahu to try out.

Speaking of which, there’s a little shop on King street named PHO MAI, which always makes me chuckle when I pass by there. lol

And I’ll come straight forward and say this is truly the very first bowl of PHO I’ve ever had for myself. The only time having tried it before was back at Bac Nam where Diner C shared some with me to taste. From that time on, I knew PHO, like Ramen, was something I coulld REALLY get into.

Thankfully the folks here pack PHO-TO-GO (hey, that would be another catchy name for yet another PHO restaurant!) very well, separating the precious hot broth in one sealed container, the noodles and meats in the main bowl which is also sealed, and the veggies in a plastic bag, which I transferred onto this tray…

PHO Combo take-out kit

According to the menu, the Pho Combo is made up of sliced beef, meat ball, brisket, tendon and tripe, served with bean sprouts, basil, lime and hot green peppers.

So when you get it in unassembled form like this, the thin slices of beef are served raw…

Deconstructed bowl of PHO (sans broth)

Here’s a better look…

Looks like a tongue, huh?

Check out this solid slab of FAT…

If not for anything else, all I can think this is in there for is MOAH FLAVAH.

Now with the hot broth added, you can see it immediately begins to cook the raw beef…

Pho with hot broth just added

I actually nuked the broth for about a minute-and-a-half in the microwave to get it scalding-hot again.

Here you can see underneath all that meat is a bed of vermicelli noodles…

But what the heck is that tentacle-lookin’ thing in there? Take a closer look…

Could this be a decendant of the elusive GIANT SQUID? Or how about the testicle of an alien? But alas, according to Diner E and C, they think it’s Tripe. I guess. It’s kinda’ rubbery and “meaty” in a fatty way, but otherwise not much flavor, yet it does add an interesting texture to the dish.

Another mystery was that meatball…

I COULD NOT make out what this meatball was made of. As long as come Monday I don’t start becoming attracted to female cats or dogs, I’ll be OK with this. Meow. Seriously, it wasn’t beefy, nor porky, nor chickeny nor shrimpy (are those valid words? lol), but kind of gamey in a nondescript way. Interestingly, this was the only solid items that was kept in the broth. Perhaps they’re some kind of magic PHO Balls that bring the dish good luck. Dunno.

So how did I like this Pho? Simply said, it was PHO OUT! Seriously, coming from my amateur Pho palate, I’d easily grade it a 5 SPAM Musubi rating. Just excellent. The broth had a rich beef and star anise flavor to it without being overpowering. It wasn’t too mild nor too salty. It did detect a hint of sweetness to it, which I imagine is why they give you the lime to counter that.

There was an abundant amount of beef in it, as well as other meaty goodies and also an abundant amount of vermicelli noodles. In other words if Campbell’s made a CHUNKY® version of Pho, this would be it. That, along with the fresh veggies to top it was as perfect as I could imagine Pho being. I didn’t make much use of the accompanying Hoisin sauce, as I don’t care for Hoisin. The broth had enough flavor as is anyway.

I have yet to try that Pho restaurant on or near River Street in Chinatown, who I hear is the benchmark Pho restaurant in Honolulu. So until I do get to try a bowl of what everyone proclaims as benchmark PHO, this one gets a solid 5 SPAM Musubi rating from me.

Diner A wasn’t as fond about his Chicken Pad Thai. I tried some and agree, it was soggy for one, and also a little dry. And the sauce it was mixed didn’t wow us. The problem seems to be that it tasted like something they have already made and sitting in a steam pan waiting for service. It certainly did not taste cooked-to-order. Diner A also said there was TOO MUCH peanuts. I’m nuts about nuts, so I don’t think I’d have a problem with that, but he didn’t care for it. With that, he gave his Chicken Pad Thai 1 SPAM Musubi.

Finally we have Diner E’s BBQ Pork Vietnamese Sandwich. If you scroll back up and look at the photo of it, notice the pickled Vietnamese style veggies are tucked way back into the inner crevice of the bun. Well, if you look at the sandwich before he cut it in half, you’d think it didn’t have ANY veggies, which he was initially dismayed by. Still, even after cutting it to reveal what veggies there were in there, he was still bummed there wasn’t any CILANTRO. Now go back and look at the photo of the sandwich on the menu board, where you’ll see it’s depicted as having CHOKE cilantro and veggies piled high on it. Well, that’s not what he got.

Fortunately the saving grace was the delicious, char-grilled teriyaki pork, which he really enjoyed. In fact, he wants to get the plate version of that next time. That along with those pickled veggies was a winner. The only other shortcoming he mentioned was that the french bread’s crust wasn’t as “crusty-crunchy” as he’d prefer, such as the one at Ba-Le Sandwich Shop. Still a decent French Bread, just not as good as Ba-Le’s in his opinion.

As for his Summer Rolls, he said they were good, but not great. Pretty much standard fare.

That said, for his BBQ Pork Vietnamese Sandwich and Summer Rolls, he gave them an overall 2 SPAM Musubi rating.

Still, this polished-off plate just might be an indication there are better things to be had than what Diner A and E tried…


That must have been really ono!

Again, my bowl of PHO, coming from the palate of an amateur, was STELLAR. If anything, try that. The BBQ Teriyaki Pork was also highly favorable. If you order the sandwich and like plenty of veggies, make sure to tell Ben that, and I’m sure he’d be more than happy to accommodate your request. He’s a really nice and friendly guy.

There’s ample parking in the strip mall its in, but I can see it easily being full during peak lunch hour. Fortunately someone had just pulled out when I arrived.

I’m certainly returning here, as I think the place has promise; and the blunder of not having Cilantro in the sandwich could have easily been fixed had we been eating there at the restaurant. Next I’d like to try their curry.

On the corner of Kokea and Dillingham (across HCC)
Tel. 843-2263
Menu (2-page PDF document; current as of 1/09. Prices and selection subject to change without notice.)

The Tasty Island Rating:
(Averaged from Pho being 5, BBQ Pork Vietnamese Sandwich & Summer Rolls being 2 and Chicken Pad Thai being 1)

(2) Good. I’m glad I tried it. (Ono)

Catering Excellence Continues at Kahai Street Kitchen

Kahai Street Kitchen: Rustic Tomato and Mozarella (Caprese) Salad with Sliced Black (and Green) Olives and Chiffonade of Fresh Basil

When you see not just one review, but an eventual subsequent repeat of many on one establishment alone on this blog, there’s only one thing that indicates: they’re good. Actually, better than good, they’re excellent! Just like the title says here, which we’re talking about once again with commander-in-Chief Nao Iwata and crew over at Kahai Street Kitchen in Kalihi.

Due to all the wonderful experiences our company has had with Kahai Street Kitchen’s catering services in the past, we looked no further than them once again to serve our lunch time hunger.

On today’s menu, Kahai Street Kitchen provided the Caesar Salad, a Rustic Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad, Chicken Medallions filled with Spinach and Mushrooms, Sauteed Mahimahi Dore with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce and Steamed White Rice.

As you’ll soon see, there was also a mouthwatering spread of home-made desserts supplied potluck style by several of our talented staff.

Let’s get right to it and see what’s on the buffet line, starting with Kahai Street Ktchen’s Rustic Tomato and Mozzarella (Caprese) Salad…

Kahai Street Kitchen: Rustic Tomato and Mozarella (Caprese) Salad with Sliced Black (and Green) Olives and Chiffonade of Fresh Basil

Salad fever continues with a Caesar…

Kahai Street Kitchen: Caesar Salad with Croutons and Parmesan Cheese

Like every good Caesar Salad should be done in catered form, Nao carefully separates and packs each component separately, keeping the leafy-green and fresh cut Romaine Lettuce isolated in a chilled pan tightly-sealed by plastic wrap…

Romaine Lettuce for Caesar Salad

And in a separate, handy-dandy “kit”, there’s the Caesar Dressing and grated Parmesan Cheese…

Caesar Salad Kit: Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese, Caesar Dressing and Mixing Gloves

Notice in the caption I said those gray latex things are mixing gloves, which are also included in this Caesar Salad “kit”. Now that’s what you call attention to detail!

And don’t forget to add the crispy, herby croutons…

As along with the other dishes, Nao instructed our “Food and Beverage Director of the Day” exactly how to combine the components for the Caesar Salad justbefore service.

The sum of those parts after combined results in the ready-to-serve, fresh-as-can-be Caesar Salad shown preceeding it.

After this, there was a pan of white steamed rice, which you already know what looks like, so next up after that are the two main entrees, including the Chicken Medallion…

Chicken Medallions filled with Spinach and Mushrooms with Natural Jus and Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

Note that this includes a ‘Natural Jus’, which is delivered to the site separately in a container like this….

Natural Jus for the Chicken Medallion

Nao instructed our ‘Food and Beverage Director for the Day’ (Diner T) to pour this on just before the lunch is served, which she did. This really made the chicken moist and punched out the flavors. So ono.

Accompanying the Chicken Medallions is this most excellent Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli…

Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli for the Chicken Medallions Filled with Spinach and Mushrooms

Adding the surf to the turf and rounding out the main dishes from Kahai Street Kitchen, we have the Sauteed Mahimahi Dore with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce…

Kahai Street Kitchen: Sauteed Mahimahi Dore

To that, again just before lunch (or dinner, or a midnight snack) is served, you pour on the Lemon Butter Caper Sauce…

Lemon Butter Caper Sauce for the Mahimahi Dore

Sauteed Mahimahi Dore with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce poured over the left row of fillets

Diner T’s theory on this was to give folks the option of sauce or no sauce. I’ll take SAUCE!

That rounds out the simple-yet-effective spread from Kahai Street Kitchen. The rest of what is shown was provided by the great team that makes up our office. Well OK, this next one wasn’t made by the contributor, but actually purchased from Golden Coin, and that would be none other than Lumpia…

Pork and Shrimp Lumpia with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce from Golden Coin

Now to the desserts, all of which were made by our talented team, starting with Diner EB’s almost too beautiful to eat Raspberry Cheesecake…

Diner EB’s scrumptious Raspberry Cheesecake

Just as visually-impressive is this “cupcake tree”….

Impressive, I must say!

Then a tray of caramel-laced brownies…

Like any other pie, custard doesn’t always have to be made in a round-shaped pan…

Going back and getting our Filipino groove on, we have this Fruit Salad, done in that style…

And a pan of Diner C’s Kakanin..

Kakanin Filipino Rice Cake, courtesy of Diner C

Wow!!! WHAT A SPREAD. Let’s make a plate!…

or two!…

Or three…

Ssshhh, hush, don’t tell her, but this plate shown above belongs to the Guest of Honor. He he.

Here’s my plate…

So how was it? Winnah, winnah chicken dinnah! Or, errr, make that lunch.

My personal favorite was that Rustic Rustic Tomato and Mozzarrella Cheese Caprese Salad, which, if I didn’t tell you, you may have thought was a Tofu Salad.

The combination of the firm and cold yet still flavorful mozzarella, along with the sweet ‘n acidic cherry tomatoes, and bold ‘n pungent olives, all coated in a Pesto dressing was power-packed with flavor, yet refreshing and light. Absolutely delicioso!

You could easily take that and throw it on a pizza crust or slice of french bread, then throw that in the oven until the Mozzarella melts and… BAM! that would make one fantastic Rustic Tomato and Mozza’ Pizza or Bruschetta snack!

Everything about the Caesar Salad was spot-on as well. While obviously not quite a made-from-scratch tableside-prepped affair, it still stood up to its name with respect. Actually, in a way it still was made table side, just not by a waiter in a 3-piece suit.

The Chicken Medallions filled with Spinach and Mushrooms was also so delicious. I especially loved how the “natural jus’ – which was in essence a chicken stock – really livened and moistened the rolled-up and roasted chicken. That, combined with the zesty, yet buttery Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli married it all together just beautifully. So beautiful. All that could have been desired more of this would have been if it were hotter, temperature-wise. Other than that, next to being fried, I don’t think chicken can get better than this. Honestly.

The Sauteed Mahimahi was also very moist and cooked just right, not overdone. Personally I think the lemon butter caper sauce from Kahai Street is too thick and dominating, but many I overheard talking about the food were raving about this one. To each their own of course. With that, I’d prefer a lighter sauce, like say a Ginger Soy and Sesame (Alan Wong’s), but dont’ get get me wrong, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

That completes the review of Nao’s most excellent-yet-again creations in catering on this occasion.

As for the other dishes, the Lumpia from Golden Coin was also masarap, so thanks go out to Priscilla on that! Diner questioned what was in it, and so did Priscilla herself, which I stand firm it being Pork and Shrimp. Firmly I stand by that. The dipping sauce tasted (and appeared like) a thinned-down Mae Ploy Sauce.

My favorite of the desserts was everything. That Raspberry Cheesecake was great, as was Diner C’s Kakanin. Here’s a better shot of her fabulous Kakanin…

Diner C’s Signature Kakanin Filipino Rice Cake Dessert

Oh, did I mention this was in celebration of a baby shower for our controller in accounting? Well it was, which also included these here handy-dandy Lauhala Box-wrapped Chocolates…

Awe, da’ cute! Notice the safety pin accessory and baby’s foot and hand prints tablecloth: the kind of details guys like us (or at least me) would normally overlook faster than a $10,000 Louis Vuiton handbag held in the hands of a gorgeous supermodel running across the street. lol

And for the expecting mom, “Diner T” (conratulations!), were – among MANY, MANY GIFTS! – this cool Whirly Gig presented by Diner S…

So the next time you have a baby shower, bridal shower, or are just too lazy to cook after taking a soapy, sudsy hot body shower with fifty or more of your closest, most attractive friends (now that’s HOT!), call up Nao at Kahai Street Kitchen in Kalihi and he’ll hook you up with da’ supah’ ono ‘kine grinds!

Kahai Street Kitchen
Plate Lunch and Catering
237 Kalihi Street (Kalihi and Kahai st., makai of Nimitz)
tel. 845-0320
fax, 842-4273

The Tasty Island rating*:
*Based on this catered menu of Caesar Salad, a Rustic Tomato and Mozzarella Caprese Salad, Chicken Medallions filled with Spinach and Mushrooms, Sauteed Mahimahi Dore with Lemon Butter Caper Sauce and Steamed White Rice.

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

Related (Tasty Island) links:
Catering Excellence from Kahai Street Kitchen
Two Plates from Kahai Street Kitchen
The Catered Bento Lunch Hunt

Lunch at The Pineapple Room

The Pineapple Room: Pan Steamed Onaga “Chinese Style”– Long Tailed Red Snapper with Honda Family Tofu, Lup Cheong, Shiitake Mushroom, Ginger Soy Sauce and Sizzling Peanut Oil

Continuing inauguration fever, we have here a few dishes for lunch from The Pineapple Room in Macy’s Ala Moana Center. One of two very successful Honolulu-based restaurants under the hands of highly-acclaimed Hawaii celebrity chef Alan Wong.

What does the Pineapple Room have to do with our 44th President you might ask? Well in case you missed it, The Honolulu Star Bulletin published a very interesting story interview yesterday with Chef Alan Wong about President Obama’s visit to his signature restaurant on King street in Honolulu this past December while on vacation back in the islands. See ‘Like being in a movie’ here.

The big question for foodies is, what did he eat!? Fortunately Chef Wong was willing and able to answer that question to inquiring SB food columnist Betty Shimabukuro (thanks for getting us that one, Betty!), saying then President-elect Obama ordered the Tasting Menu, which features a number of Chef Wong’s signature dishes. Yet he did make one special request that apparently must have not been on there, also asking for the Nori-Wrapped Tempura Ahi.

Hmmm, interesting. ironically, I happened to have featured the scrumptious appetizer version of that a few years ago here after attending a birthday party at Washington Place that was catered by Alan Wong. Here’s that dish…

Catering by Chef Alan Wong (not from The Pineapple Room): Nori-wrapped Ahi Tempura Skewers with Creamy Wasabi-Sesame Sauce (click on image for zoomed-in view)

Another item I can share with you The President likely enjoyed as part of that Tasting Menu at Alan Wong’s is the Chef’s super-tender, broke da’ mout’ Twice Cooked Shortribs, Soy-Braised and Grilled “Kalbi” Style…

Catering by Chef Alan Wong (not from The Pineapple Room): Twice Cooked Shortrib, Soy-Braised and Grilled “Kalbi” Style (click on image for alternative view)

Well, those are just two of many amazing head of state-worthy dishes to be had under the skilled hands of Chef Alan Wong and staff.

Now let’s get back to where we were originally supposed to be talking about here and check out the dishes my girlfriend “Diner K” and her friend the birthday gal “Diner J” enjoyed yesterday (ironically on inauguration day) at Chef Wong’s other popular eatery, The Pineapple Room.

She said they both shared everything family style, starting with the “Pineapple Room” Caesar Salad with Lomi Tomatoes and Huli Spiced Grilled Chicken…

The Pineapple Room: “Pineapple Room” Caesar Salad with Lomi Tomatoes Choice of Kalua Pig or Huli Spiced Grilled Chicken (Huli-Spiced Grilled Chicken chosen and shown here)

Then once again from the first photo, another angle of that Pan-Steamed Onaga…

The Pineapple Room: Pan Steamed Onaga “Chinese Style”– Long Tailed Red Snapper Honda Family Tofu, Lup Cheong, Shiitake Mushroom, Ginger
Soy Sauce, Sizzling Peanut Oil

Where there’s surf, there must be turf…

The Pineapple Room: Kiawe Grilled Kalbi Short Ribs Fried Rice, Kabayaki Sauce, Chili Oil, Home Made Kim Chee (click on image for alternative view)

They opted for white rice under that Kalbi Short Ribs, and ordered a bowl of The Pineapple Room’s Fried Rice on the side…

The Pineapple Room: Fried Rice – Trio of White, Brown and Jasmine Rice, Portuguese Sausage, Bacon, Ham and Kalua Pig, eggs and green onion

Not sure where this fits into the gastronomic picture here, but they also got an order of fries…

The Pineapple Room: Fries

Finally for dessert, birthday gal “Diner J” was brought a complimentary Chocolate Haupia Ice Cream Pie with Oreo Crust…

The Pineapple Room: Chocolate Haupia Ice Cream Pie with Oreo Cookie Crust (compliments of the house for the birthday gal). Otanjobi omedeto gozaimasu, Jo-san!

How did they enjoy their meal? Overall 4-SPAM Musubi rating. Other than messing up on one order, along with the less-than-stellar dressing with the Caesar Salad and meat-overkill (too many different kinds) in the fried rice, everything about their lunch, including the food and service on this particular visit to The Pineapple Room was a winner.

The Pineapple Room by Chef Alan Wong
Ala Moana Shopping Center
Macy’s, 3rd Floor
Honolulu, HI 96814
945-6573 – Official site

The Tasty Island rating (via Diner K’s guest contribution):

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

Related links:
‘Like Being in a Movie’ – The Honolulu Star Bulletin (1/20/09)
Obama Dines at Alan Wongs – KGMB News Report (12/29/08)
The Pineapple Room – a visit by Donna @ (12/18/08)
A special birthday catered by Chef Alan Wong – The Tasty Island (8/03/07)
The Pineapple Room – Yelp user reviews (dynamic)