Sunday, July 23, 2006

Review: Town (Kaimuki)

3435 Waialae Avenue

Finally (after hearing about it ALL summer long) we went to Town for dinner tonight! It was great, there were 5 of us, so we got to try a whole bunch of the dishes (the menu isn’t that long, so we got to try almost everything.

The restaurant is right on Waialae Avenue in Kaimuki. As it was Friday night, we couldn’t get a table inside. While it wasn’t unpleasant sitting outdoors (practically on the street), it wasn’t ideal.

*view from the street*

*front door*

*our table*

For starters, we received two types of bread (focaccia & baguette), butter and olives. The bread was a little hard, since neither had been warmed up.

We split three appetizers: ahi tartare on pan-fried risotto cakes, roasted figs with prosciutto and goat cheese, and steamed mussels.


They were each amazing in their own unique way. The ahi tartare was probably my favorite: a mound of the tartar (basically like poke) on top of a ‘cracker’ of risotto. The fig dish looked kind of funny but tasted truly unique: the figs blended so well with the prosciutto, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette. Finally the mussels were so fresh and came in a lemony broth with leeks and tomatoes.

For our entrees, we shared salmon on risotto, fresh gnocchi, and a side of bitter greens.

*main courses*

I don’t usually like to eat gnocchi, because they can be rather bland lumps of dough. But these gnocchi were something else: soft and airy with a hint of nutmeg or allspice. They were then tossed with baby corn and plum tomatoes. The salmon & risotto was probably my least favorite dish of the night: neither had any unique flavors. The bitter greens, stir fried with golden raisins and pine nuts were excellent, nice and bitter.

Finally, I had to order dessert. We got both the plum crisp with vanilla bean gelato and the buttermilk panna cotta.


The plum crisp was fantastic: bursting plums topped with a nutty oatmeal topping and a big scoop of gelato (which tasted just like vanilla ice cream). The panna cotta, while I would probably choose the crisp again, was more spectacular just because of its unique flavor. It tasted like full milk yogurt combined with Yoplait ‘thick & creamy’ yogurt, but better. It was served with papaya slices and drizzled with local honey.

Overall, that was by far one of the best meals I’ve had in Honolulu. Chef Ed Kenney takes flavors to another level, combining simple ingredients in creative ways that just pop in your mouth. He doesn’t use a lot of ingredients in each dish, but he utilizes such fresh, flavorful ingredients that each different flavor shines through.

Here's the menu in case you are curious:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know how this restaurant gets good reviews. IT’S TERRIBLE! In 2006 I had a pleasurable experience with town but its day is over. Took a friend for dinner 7/16/2011 and wish I hadn't. The decor, what there is of it, is old and tired. We had an 8 pm reservation and stood at the hostess stand until 8:15 starring at our empty table. After being seated ordered drinks, Waiter was pleasant. About 10 minutes later waiter came back and took our food order. Both of us ordered MA’O organic salad and Ono with fresh vegetables. Salad came before drinks. Drinks came finally and were Martini served in a Daiquiri glass? And wine that wasn't even 1/4 of the small wine glass @ $12 a shot and a shot was about all it was. The Ono had no taste and looked like the frozen pieces you buy from Costco. The vegetables were also of frozen variety and looked and tasted like it. They were not "Local Fresh" as they contained varieties that don't grow here in Hawaii. Overall for $120.00 spent on dinner I could have done better in a microwave, which I don't use. Go somewhere else; Town has seen its day! The whole experience isn’t even worth one star.