I’m a huge fan of restaurants that offer items from their regular menu on their Restaurant Week menu. This allows me to try something that a restaurant would normally offer and determine if I want to come back when Restaurant Week is over, which I think is should be the while point of the event. Telepan falls right into this category. Their RW lunch menu allows patrons to pick an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert off of their regular menu for the low price of $25.
The moment Restaurant Week reservations opened up, I quickly snatched reservations for lunch at Telepan for a Friday afternoon (taking full advantage of my summer Fridays!). We arrived early for our reservation but they sat us anyways. The dining room was quiet despite having a few other tables filled. Our waiter stopped by with the offer of water and left us to peruse the menus, which had the biggest selection of options I’ve seen during Restaurant Week.
For my appetizer, I went with the House Smoked Brook Trout with corn blini and green onion sour cream. This dish was divine. The smoked trout was flavorful without being too salty or fishy. The corn blini was soft and served as a perfect foundation for the smoked trout.
The Boyfriend had the Poached Egg and Frisée Salad with wild mushrooms and mustard vinaigrette. We were both pleasantly surprised when we each took a bite. This salad is simple – there are only a grand total of 4-5 ingredients in it but it was so flavorful! Each bite tickled our taste buds and left us wanting more.
For my entrée, I had the Roasted Chicken with carrots vinaigrette, organic grits, and wild spinach. The spinach was a bit bitter but everything else on my plate was perfection. The chicken was so tender and soft, I barely had to chew each bite. The carrots vinaigrette was very good – it felt more like a sauce/gravy than vinaigrette, which suited me just fine. I think this is one of the best pieces of chicken I have ever had.
The Boyfriend had the Maine Pollock with salsa verde, heirloom tomatoes, and eggplant. The portion size was very generous and he really liked it. There was a nice crunch to the Pollock and it was very nicely flavored.
For dessert, I had the Telepan S’more, which was heavenly. It comes with a dark chocolate brownie with marshmallow in the middle and graham cracker ice cream on top. The marshmallow was fluffy and slightly melted. It was also a bit warm, which tasted so good when mixed with the coldness of the graham cracker ice cream. I highly recommend coming to Telepan just for this dessert!
The Boyfriend had the Coconut Cake, which comes with coconut whipped cream. We both thought the dessert was a bit lackluster and didn’t quite belong on the menu. The cake was very crumbly and the icing tasted like it might have been cream cheese. The end result was a slice of cake that was a bit on the heavy side. Compared to the delicious and airy coconut cake at Orchid’s in one of my previous posts, this one was legions away. The coconut whipped cream was tasty though, so that was the saving grace.
Service was attentive without being overbearing. Our dishes came out in a reasonable amount of time – we had enough time to chat and enjoy our courses without feeling rushed. I huge pet peeve of mine is a rushed meal! I would definitely return to Telepan – even on a normal basis because their dinner prix fixes aren’t even expensive! Keep in mind, however, that for the rest of Restaurant Week, they only do lunch Wednesdays to Fridays from 11:30 – 2:30.
Delmonico’s has been on my radar for a while now so when my mom mentioned she’d like to have dinner during Restaurant Week, I quickly made reservations. The restaurant has a lot of history – dating back to 1837. It’s credited as the 1st American restaurant to allow its customers to order a la carte, instead of prix fixe. The building itself is a site to behold – it’s on the corner and the restaurant takes up the entire bottom floor. At first glance, it might be easy to walk past it. But once you’re inside the restaurant, it’s like you’ve been transferred to another much older world. You feel like you’ve walked into another time!
Our waiter came by with menus, explained the Restaurant Week menu and left us to peruse our options. Delmonico’s menu is pretty similar to other Restaurant Week menus – there are three options for appetizers, entrees, and desserts. There are three addition options for both appetizers and entrees with supplements. If you want one of their more classic dishes like Lobster Newburg or Delmonico’s Steak, you have to pay extra.
Both my sister and I opted for the Chef’s Chilled Soup of the Day since it was so hot outside (boarding around 95 degrees). The soup of the day was a Butternut Squash with lobster chunks. It was so good – it wasn’t very cold, which was nice. The butternut squash was strong and nutty, which mixed well with the lightly salted lobster. I think this was my favorite dish of the night.
The Dark Chocolate Mousse was my favorite – there was a nice crunch at the bottom of the mousse. The dark chocolate was nice because it cut the sweetness of the mousse. The Baked Alaska was a bit underwhelming – I found it a bit too sweet. And I have a sweet tooth so if I think it’s too sweet, that’s saying something! It’s also a huge portion so it’s definitely sharable.
Service was attentive throughout dinner and all our dishes came out very quickly. We barely waited 5 minutes between courses. I didn’t particularly feel rushed but it did end up being a quick dinner. Delmonico’s is a very classic and well-oiled steakhouse. I’d probably return again to try out their classic Delmonico’s steak with sides (I spied them on the table next to us!).
Even though we had three amazing and delicious sit-down dinners, I feel like some of the best eats we had were from little stops all over the island of Oahu. Often times, it is these little stops along the way that makes the trips more fun and exciting. It’s also these little stops that offer the most authentic, Hawaiian island feel.
Our first full day on Oahu took us away from city and along the coast line up to the North Shore. We made our first top at the Dole Plantation, where we stopped for some light souvenir shopping (Dole’s pineapple macadamia nut cookies are by far, the best) and Dole Whip! Every single time we’ve been on the island, we’ve had Dole Whip. It is just that good! I’ve had the Dole Whip at Disney and my cousin has had the Dole Whip at Leonard’s but none of them compare to the one at the Dole Plantation. The whip is creamy and sweet – not overly tart at all. Most people write off the Dole Plantation as a tourist trap but we will always make a stop for the Dole Whip.
Along the way back from visiting the North Shore, we hit up the famous shrimp trucks. I’ve had Fumi’s and my cousin has had Romy’s – we both agree that Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is the best. The shrimp is de-veined and headless – perfect for eating. All the shrimps are pretty much the same size and you get a heaping portion of rice with garlic sauce with each order. The garlic is definitely the strongest here – you’ll smell it in your car for days! Be sure to get a side of their mac salad, it’s pretty darn good to go with the delicious Shrimp Scampi.
Dinner that same night was a hurried stop at Pa’ina’s Café for some delicious poke. They close at 6pm on weekends so we had to rush back from the North Shore to pick up some poke bowls. We ran in at 5:45pm and managed to order their Ahi Tuna Crunch Poke Bowl (XL). The portion sizes are unreal – the amount of ahi tuna inside my poke bowl was so generous that two of us couldn’t even finish it. The ahi was super fresh and tasted oh-so-good. Be warned though – the crunchies can get soft if you don’t eat the poke bowl right away.
Another hidden gem that I absolutely love is Nisshodo Mochiya, which my cousin introduced us to the first time we visited Oahu. It’s located inside a warehouse and you literally cannot find it unless you have a GPS or someone to show you. Nisshodo sells homemade mochi products, but my favorite is their Chi Chi Dango, small pieces of plain mochi that are squishy, soft, and just a little sweet. They’re super affordable and very easy to just gobble down an entire pound.
I don’t have a picture of this – because I keep gobbling them down before I take a picture, but the Poi Doughnuts at Kamehameha Bakery are literally one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It doesn’t taste like taro at all – it just tastes like sweet, pillowy heaven. The doughnuts are so soft – even after a 10 hour plane ride back to NYC.
Jump into your car and venture off into the tiny pit stops along the road – they have the best eats and the most authentic Oahu feel. While I love a sit-down meal with waiter service – I also really love discovering delicious, cheap eats.