One of the hardest reservations to get in the City is for this modern take on Hawaiian cuisine, Liholiho Yacht Club. So, when Jason asked if we should take another couple’s reservations unexpectedly, you know I jumped up and immediately said, “YES!” We had to plan out the logistics quickly, told Dahlia we were going to have a date night, and off we went. We originally planned to come here for our anniversary last September and even tried to book it with our Concierge service at work (yes, we were that desperate), but opted to go early to take our friend’s reservations because WHY NOT?! (Thanks, Charles & Therese :))
Both Jason and I love Hawaiian food with a passion and try to go to Hawaii each year if we can and though nothing can replace the comforting food straight from the Islands, we always love to try out restaurants that have their own take on the cuisine that’s near and dear to our hearts.
We started off with cocktails because they all sounded delicious even though they had a good-sized wine list for a place like this. We got the Pineapple Peat (left in photo; $13 – ingredients: Great King St. Glasgow Blend, Martaletti Vermouth, pineapple, lemon) and the Yacht Club Fancy (right in photo; $13 – Ingredients: Plantation Pineapple Rum, Amaro Nonino, Hidalgo Manzanilla). Though a bit pricey for the size, the drinks were good, not too sweet and just the right amount of kick, but we’re honestly suckers for anything pineapple and me, a fancy glass.
Dinner is served ‘ohana’ style where you share the plates like tapas and with so many items to choose from, we knew we couldn’t go too crazy so decided on a variety of items that all seemed different from each other. We usually like to pick things on the menu that seem original and unique to the restaurant and something not everyone has. We also like to try new things and new ingredients as well (so long as they sound good on paper!).
We started with the salad (photo below; beets, radicchio, shiso ranch, sunflower seeds, crispy sweet potatoes – $14) because I am a sucker for rainbow colored veggies. I think I saw a neighbor table being served this dish and had to try it. This was probably one of my favorite dishes as I loved all the flavors and crunchy textures.
Then we tried the beef tongue, kimchi & cucumber in a poppy seed steam bun (pictured below – $13.50), because where else can you eat beef tongue besides the corner taco truck’s lengua tacos. This was just okay to me, the bun was a little bit more firm than I like them to be (tee hee) — I prefer the soft steamy buns. The poppy seeds added texture, but I don’t know if it was needed because the cucumbers already provided some crunch. The beef tongue did have a distinct flavor but nothing I could rave about.
Then came our “mains,” the bigger plates. We ordered off the menu and got the homemade spam that we’ve seen so much of in pictures and were happy to try it because they only make 20 servings a night. SCORE! This dish (pictured below) felt like eating a deconstructed spam musubi. It came with four huge helpings of the homemade spam over rice sprinkled with nori and furikake seasoning among other things. This felt very Hawaiian –homemade Hawaiian. The dish was a biiig portion that we had to take some home and you better believe we ate it for breakfast with an egg on top.
Also pictured below is the twice cooked pork belly we ordered. This dish came with daikon, meiwa kumquats, fennel and thai basil and tasted delicious. It was a thick slab of meat with the savory sauce, veggies on top and the caramelized pineapple — a dish that makes me salivate just thinking of it!
After our filling dinner, of course we had to have dessert! Trust me, I always save room — just ask my husband. There was only one choice for us to try it being our first time there and it was their baked Hawaii. This is an amazing dessert that I could probably eat every day if I could. I feel like I was in pineapple heaven because of the pineapple ice cream inside. It is definitely a must try!
Overall, we had a fabulous early anniversary dinner and though we ate a lot, we still felt like we just dabbled a bit which mean we will definitely be back! I’d love to try the fried chicken dish and the short ribs with escargot next.
And speaking of next, after dinner, we headed downstairs to their restaurant/bar inside of Liholiho called Louie’s Gen-Gen Room. A more informal place to get some food/snacks and drinks, this is definitely a place we’d like to try as well and a nice surprise to find after an enjoyably delicious dinner. We will definitely be back — and just remember, we’d be happy to take your reservation if you can’t go ;).