Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Old vs. New: Side Street Inn vs. Kaimuki Grill

I was fascinated by Melissa Chang's post on Nonstop Honolulu about top places to take visitors (I would link to it here, but their website is really difficult to search, and I haven't been able to find it). She lists Kaimuki Grill as one place she always takes people, for when she "knows that Side Street Inn will be impossible to get a table."

In opportune timing, Kaimuki Grill was also featured on Groupon, so I snapped up a coupon. I've actually been twice now; the first time with a friend who was visiting from the mainland. I wanted to take her somewhere local, but she'd already been to Side Street on a previous trip. So I thought, "Perfect! I'll take her to Kaimuki Grill." The second time I went with some old friends who'd never been there but wanted to try it. Both times we loved it (although let me warn you...there's nothing light on the menu. Go hungry and ready to eat something that will kill your diet).

And since I am a die-hard Side Street Inn fan, I wanted to compare them side by side.

Side Street's menu is a beast. It takes forever just to read through it. Being a huge fan of Side Street fried rice (my "must-order" whenever I go there), here's the Side Street fried rice.

We also had the side street kal bi - a little tough and hard to get off the bone (not the best date food! haha)
The Kaimuki Grill menu, on the other hand, is much more manageable. Both sides of a simple table tent. Beers are listed separately on the back of the napkin holder. It's tiny in comparison to side street (maybe 8 tables?) but very homey and comfortable.

I thought these lotus furikake chips were unique to Kaimuki Grill, but I also saw them at Shokudo (or was it at Side Street? I'm completely getting them all mixed up). The furikake flavor didn't come across as strongly as I'd hoped.
Garlic - soy salmon...I was expecting this to be grilled, but in true "bar menu" style it was fried.

Kaimuki Grill fried rice - I had to compare to Side Street. This was great, but I'd have to say that Side Street is still my favorite - the rice is a little stickier is the only way I can think of to make the comparison...

Mac n cheese wedges - Kraft mac & cheese formed into cute little triangles and deep fried. If it wasn't Kraft, these might be the most amazing food.
In sum, I'm still a die-hard Side Street fanatic, but Kaimuki Grill is a great option if you're in Kaimuki or looking for smaller (and cheaper) portions than what Side Street offers.

Kaimuki Grill
1108 12th Ave (in the parking lot near Harding)
732-2292 (they take reservations)
Side Street Inn
1225 Hopaka St (by Ala Moana)
591-0253 (don't also take reservations)
Side Street in the Strip
614 Kapahulu Ave

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very interesting, thanks