Saturday, October 27, 2007

Restaurant Epic - Happy Hour

Restaurant Epic opened its doors to customers in February 2007. After being opened for less than two months, owners David Chang and Kenneth and Jennifer Chan (of Little Village Noodle House) closed their doors due to poor reviews and a dire need for re-organization. Since then, Epic has made changes for the better and the rave reviews just keep pouring in. As I walked past the restaurant on the way to work each day, I noticed a banner that read, "Happy Hour" and I could not resist trying it! I told my boyfriend all about it and he treated me to some drinks and pupus one day after work.

The first thing that I ordered was their signature Mojito and it was delicious!! :) It was by far, the best Mojito I've had with just the right amount of mint and lime!

There were about ten different items on the happy hour menu and let me tell you, it was a tough decision! Everything sounded really yummy and for the price it was really tempting to order one of each! We narrowed it down to three choices a poketini, kalua pig spring rolls, and a sushi.

The poketini was a spicy ahi poke on top of a layer of avocado served in a martini glass. It was an elegant presentation and an interesting spin on the classic ahi poke that you get in the grocery store. I enjoyed the combination of the ahi with the spicy sauce and the avocado balanced out the flavors nicely. On the down side, there were occasional bites of ahi that didn't taste very fresh, leaving a "fishy" taste in my mouth.

The most interesting thing on the menu was the Kalua Pig Spring Rolls. This variation of the classic spring rolls used smoky kalua pork in place of ground pork. Each spring roll was fried to leave a crispy outer shell that was flaky, and not too greasy. The spring rolls were topped with a mango chutney. I have to admit, I thought the chutney was strange at first, and when I tasted it alone, I did not like it. After eating it together with the kalua pig spring rolls, I quickly changed my mind. The spices and the sweetness of the chutney really complimented the crispy, smokey spring rolls. I thought this dish was very creative!

There were a number of interesting sushis to choose from, including one with steak. The one that we chose had a crab, scallop, shrimp mixture with avocado and cucumber topped off with some tobiko. The roll was small enough that I could (elegantly) fit one whole piece in my mouth, which allowed me to appreciate all the flavors and textures at once. Although I usually don't care for sushi with heavy mayonnaise fillings, this one was delicious!

This restaurant offered "Epic"urean worthy food for a bargain price! :) Perfect for my budget...
I'm not sure if the restaurant still offers their happy hour because I haven't seen the banner recently. Nevertheless, their food and drinks are well-worth the regular price! I had a chance to look at their full menu and everything sounded so delicious, I was tempted to stay for dinner too!! I'll surely be visiting Epic again soon!

Restaurant Epic
1131 Nuuanu Avenue
Honolulu, HI

Friday, October 26, 2007


Around the Ala Moana area, Kapiolani Boulevard is cluttered with a sea of adult-only venues. Look closely, however, and you will find an unexpected jewel of a restaurant. Nestled between two strip clubs sits an unassuming Japan-inspired doorway. Step inside and you are taken away from the busy city, into what feels like a little mom and pop restaruant on the side streets of Japan. The aromas, modest decor, and welcoming employees all combine to create a memorable Japanese experience.

My girlfriends and I spontaneously decided to have dinner here one night as we walked toward Ala Moana after the Bridal Expo at the Convention Center. Our first impression was, "kinda sketchy;" however something inside me knew that this place was going to be special. Inside, there are only about 6 tables, the sushi bar, and a side room with tatami floors. The tiny restaurant was busy; but luckily there was one table open with the perfect amount of seats for my girlfriends and I. We were immediatly greeted and served with tea, edamame, and tsukemono.

The menu offers the traditional tempura and grilled fish selections; however I went straight for the sushi! The chirashi sushi included generous slices of ahi, salmon, mirugai (clam), shrimp, and more. As I took my first bite, the buttery salmon melted in my mouth and blended perfectly with the expertly seasoned sushi rice! Delicious!

My girlfriends all decided order the misoyaki butterfish, which was served with miso soup, rice, and salad. The person sitting next to us was enjoying their butterfish so much that they all couldn't resist it! The butterfish prepared so that the fish was still tender and the sections peeled away with ease. Each bite just melted in your mouth!

As we enjoyed our meal, we noticed that people were ordering sizzling platters of scallops topped with a mayonnaise-type sauce. I later learned that these "butteryaki scallops" are one of the restaurant's signature dishes. I will surely try that the next time I visit Akasaka!

Another thing to note is that Akasaka is open until 2am, so the late night crowd can enjoy quality sushi!

1646B Kona Street
Honolulu, HI

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Growing up in Aiea, we were quite deprived of restaurants that served quality Japanese food. I've recetly been hearing a lot about Tadashi, located in the Pearl Kai Shopping Center. I knew that this place was gaining popularity, because every time I attempted to try it, they were packed! My boyfriend and I finally had a chance to try it, and I was pleasantly suprised.

Tadashi doesn't offer much when it comes to ambience, keeping it simple with a few Japanese accents. Becaues they are so busy, it almost feels like they squeezed in as many tables and they could, making it feel a bit tight. As I read through the menu, I initially thought that the prices were a bit high, considering the types of restaurants I was accustomed to in Aiea. I finally decided upon the Salmon and Ikura Donburi and when my dish came, I immediately knew why the prices were more than I had expected.

Atop the layer of sushi rice lay seven generous portions of salmon sashimi and a heaping serving of ikura. My eyes widened as I looked at what sat in front of me. As I took my first bite, I cold immediately tell that the salmon was fresh. The sushi rice was also seasoned quite well.

My boyfriend ordered the zaru soba and some nigiri sushi (salmon and hamachi). The soba was good, however, nothing special. As we sat at the sushi bar, we watched the "sushi masters" slice each piece of fish with precision. It was clear that all the seafood in the glass case was fresh and carefully selected. No bad peices were served, rather they were pushed to the side. Not only were the "sushi masters" carefully attending to their sushi, but they were also carefully attending to the customers who sat in front of them. One guy noticed that I was enjoying the shiso garnish inside my donburi and handed me a whole plate of extra shiso without me asking. He also noticed that I was taking pictures of my food, and offered to take one of my boyfriend and I.

I must say that I enjoyed my time at Tadashi. The price is definately worth it, as you are treated to great quality food and service. Its about time that the Aiea area got some quality Japanese food! :)

Pearl Kai Shopping Center
98-199 Kamehameha Hwy
Aiea, HI 96701.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Green Papaya

I visited Green Papaya with my friend who is a vegetarian. Because I'm a "wannabe vegetarian" I suggested we try this restaurant. Green Papaya is a casual place where vegetarians have a variety of tasty options. Non-vegetarians also can select from a menu of Vietnamese dishes.

For those who like Pho, Green Papaya has a vegetarian version. This broth is made from vegetables rather than the traditional beef broth. It is very different compared to the usual, but tasty.

The Tofu Vegetable Stir-Fry was just "okay." Nothing special. The brown rice was quite interesting, a bit sweeter than the typical calrose brown rice.

I don't have much to say about this restaurant...its nothing spectacular, but I would go back if I'm in the mood for a tasty vegetarian meal.

Green Papaya
3579 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816