I knew we had to get out of the Alan Wong's / Roy's / etc rut (not that it's such a bad rut to be in...) & greatly appreciate all your suggestions.
Dinner at Diamond Head Grill - Seated in 1 of 3 banquettes facing the bar/entryway, so major entertainment as things started heating up. Great service, good reasonable wine list (we had Frank Family chard for $44 I think). Appetizers - lobster tempura v. good, my arugula salad ok, but not exciting. I was going to get the short ribs until waiter described the ahi, which on the menu is "Ahi with Duck Hash with maple sauce" - yuck. Turns out it's seared ahi on a bed of duck confit, cubed foie gras, a few Yukon potato cubes & spinach with a carmelized apple sauce drizzled around - absolutely delicious! Husband had Onaga, Mediterranean style, which was very good, except for the pile of mashed potatoes it was served on. I am soooo sick of food on mashed potatoes - do something new - Israeli couscous or something - please!! Sorry to rant, other than that had a great dinner, wonderful service & totally entertained watching the Friday night scene heat up - thanks Chowhounds!
Chef Mavro's - pre-ordered the 6 course wine paired tasting menu. Really worth it - $134 pp. Again, amazing service, excellent wine pairings & food sooo delicious. Chef came out & was just charming - he really puts his heart into each dish. Only drawbacks - room is dull, nothing like Alan Wong's, be sure you get a booth as sitting in chairs that long would be tough, no pre-dinner drinks offered (guess they felt with 6 4oz wines we would have enough!), but we wanted a martini & champage to relax first & needed to ask for it. Amuse Bouche of hebi sashimi w/ Hawaiian sea salt & a herb (fennel? can't remember) really really good - could make a whole dish out of this. My only real beef was foie gras was the teeniest little piece I've ever been served - it was delicious, but had to chug my Sauternes with every nibble! Onaga dish generous & very interesting. Lamb perfect. Only non-hit was the goat cheese won tons - way too big & goat-cheesy. Needed to be cut with something. Offered us 2 desserts - the chocolate manacotti (OMG - chocaholics dream!) & best malasadas ever. Really worth the splurge & highly recommended - they really only do 1 seating (sometimes 2), but you are never rushed & kindest friendliest service ever.
Sansei - Now in the Marriott. Cute sushi bar on entering, but then you're in a huge caverous room that shares a bar with the steakhouse next door. No charm whatsoever. Sat at the (liquor) bar & really threw bartenders that we wanted to eat there. Serving food turned out to be a bit beyond them. Famous "ahi sashimi" ruined here - wrapped in so much arugula you couldn't bite through it, think crunchy crust & ahi way over-cooked - grey inside. Instead of the delicious wasabi sesame beurre blanc sauce I remember, had some sweet one made with chili sauce - ugh. Dragon roll slimy & hard to bite & no discernable taste whatsoever. Hamachi sushi slimy & old - couldn't eat it. Only good things were the maguro sashimi - very fresh, excellent texture - we ordered another & bottle of Sonoma Cutrer chard for $39. Won't be back there - still amazed how Kapalua can be so good & the offshoots so nasty...
Had lunch at Alan Wong's Pineapple Room in Macy's next day. Sweet service & interesting menu, but after that bottle of Chard the night before, I wanted a burger - probably the best burger ever, though! Great meat, bun, melted cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, avocado 'salsa,' which was big chunks of avocado, sauce, all crowned by 2 onion rings - best hangover cure ever! Got them to substiture Thai macadamia cole slaw for the fries - huge bowl - great stuff. No room, but still ordered the haupia tapioca with fresh fruits & a passion fruit freeze - ate every bite. I think I still like Mariposa best for for view (Pineapple Room has a view of the parking lot), popovers & salads, but this was well worth the visit.
Assorted - ahi sampler at Colony Steak House, Hyatt - 2 out of 3 dishes excellent. Yeas - ahi sashimi & poke (huge delicious chunks, not that finely chopped stuff); nays - boring seared ahi. Shrimp trucks - I still like Giovanni's better than Romy's, but had the cocktail prawns at Romy's & garlic butter scampi at Gio's, so not comparing apples & apples.
Can't wait to get back - much more to try - I always forget how great Oahu is & how much it has to offer!
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