GastronomePlanned celebrations for my fiancé often go like this: I make a reservation at some new place I’ve been wanting to try, and then we inevitably find ourselves at Ruth’s Chris Steak House anyway.
I always get a little fussy, selfishly complaining that we’ve been there already. But by the time we’re seated, all that annoyance disappears, and it’s for two very simple reasons: The ambiance and service always are outstanding.
So it’s with zero regret that I once again found myself at the restaurant’s Waikiki location recently to celebrate the fiancé’s birthday. Things started off well, with dendrobium orchids decorating the table and a waiter who was easy and fun to speak with.
For my entrée, I did something daring that night and ordered fish at a steak house. Prepared Chinese-style with cilantro and peanut oil, the fish was tender and the flavors were solid.
Still, I found myself longingly staring at the Cowboy Ribeye being devoured across the table from me. For good reason, too: All steaks at Ruth’s Chris are broiled and served atop plates of sizzling butter.
You can’t forget the sides, either. This time we went for the Roasted Brussels Sprouts — a warm and savory-sweet caramelized dish served with bits of bacon — and cremini mushrooms roasted in thyme and garlic.
Before I could even finish everything, I found myself incredibly full … But not so much that I couldn’t dig into a plate of complimentary flamb strawberries drizzled with chocolate and caramel.
So you know what? I think I’m kind of looking forward to being “forced” into eating at Ruth’s Chris again, sometime probably, hopefully very soon.
CELEBRATE Definitely a great place for occasions like birthdays and anniversaries
WINE If you’re anything like me, indulge in a bottle
SAVE ME A SEAT! I highly recommend a reservation, especially on weekends
TRY THIS: 9BAR HNL
SALT at Our Kakaako is a really exciting place to be these days. New merchants steadily pop up while others prepare for business. Luckily for me, it’s all been food-related.
You can read more about Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room in this week’s Barkeep on page 11 — aka my new favorite non-bar bar. But for now, let me tell you about new coffee shop 9Bar HNL.
It’s the kind of place I can easily envision myself working in for hours on end. The only problem is that I’d eat far too much.
As good as the drinks are — the Nitro Cold Brew I sampled was rich and velvety, and an iced Mamaki tea was subtly sweet — prepare to sit for a while and enjoy a pastry, or a few. My favorite was Auntie Sue’s 7-Up Cake with the Matcha Scuffin coming in at a close second.
A scuffin, for those who have not stopped in at 9Bar yet, is the coffee shop’s own creation that combines all the textures and flavors of a scone and muffin. I didn’t quite get the mouth-feel of a muffin after biting in, but it certainly was a good scone.
Also consider sampling 9Bar’s selection of bowls, like the Cali Bowl, which features bacon on top of roasted potatoes, poached eggs, housemade guac and salsa. Now that is something I can get excited about.