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Meal Pacing in Hawaii


Restaurants & Bars 26

Meal Pacing in Hawaii

ChemWork | Jul 23, 2008 08:59 AM

I first want to thank all of the contributors to this board who have provided such in-depth reviews of restaurants in Hawaii. A friend and I just got back from two weeks in Hawaii (five days on Oahu and nine days on the Big Island). We had four dinners at high end restaurants: Roy's Waikiki Beach Walk, 3660 On the Rise, Alan Wong's at the Four Seasons, and Merrimans. The food at all four restaurants was generally excellent, although the desserts at all of the places did not measure up to the appetizers or entrees. We had a variety of seafood, beef, and lamb appetizers and entrees and all of those were excellent. None of the desserts really measured up to the other courses and we were disappointed by that. At Roy's we ordered a bottle of wine, but at 3660 and Merriman's we asked the server to pair wines for us. We did the tasting menu at Alan Wong with the wine pairings. The wine service at 3660 was outstanding. Neither of us really knows a lot about wine and the server was very helpful. When the appetizers and entrees arrived, he arrived as well with two different wines for each of us. He brought me a spoon specifically to taste the sauce and then try the wine. He was careful to explain why he had selected the wines and what the difference was between them. In contrast, at Merriman's the server suggested the same wine for both of our dishes (one steak and the other lamb). While we enjoyed the wine, it did not seem that the server had put as much thought into the selection as the server did at 3660. We certainly enjoyed the wine pairings at Alan Wong's and the server was very helpful in explaining the particular pairings. The one problem we had at all four restaurants was the pacing of the meals--everything arrived too quickly. At Roy's the appetizers were cleared as the entrees arrived. I thought that was an anomaly and that things would be different at 3660. I even remarked to my friend as the appetizer plates were cleared that there was no way the entrees would be arriving as fast as they did at Roy's. Unfortunately, right after I said that the entrees did arrive. I didn't even have time to finish my wine from the first course (as a review earlier noted, 3660 serves a lot of wine in one glass!) Before we started the tasting menu at Alan Wong's, I explained to the server the problem that we had had at the previous two restaurants and he assured me that the pacing would be leisurely. However, we still felt quite rushed through the courses. I forgot to say something at Merriman's and the second course arrived immediately after the first. I did ask the server to delay dessert and even gave her a time (15 minutes later) to submit our dessert order to the kitchen. The dessert still came out earlier that requested. I should point out that none of the restaurants were full and no one was waiting for tables. Furthermore, all of the meals started between 6 and 7 o'clock so I doubt they were in a hurry to close the restaurant. My friend and I enjoy talking about the food and recapping courses and we never really got the chance in the restaurant. We've never really had this experience at other high end restaurants around the world. Was our experience unusual? When I go back do I need to ask the server for a 10-15 minute break between courses? Thanks for all of your help.

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