Hawaii Edition Pt. 2: Orchids at the Halekulani

Since we were so busy in May – with my sister taking finals and gearing up for graduation and some family affairs, I asked my mom if she would be okay with postponing our annual Mother’s Day dinner until our week on Oahu. I had found the perfect restaurant for me to treat her to – Orchids at the Halekulani Hotel. She was, of course, okay with it and I quickly made reservations on OpenTable.

Fast forward to our first night at the Hilton Hawaiian Village – after a day spent at the beach and pool, we showered and dressed for our nighttime stroll over to Halekulani Hotel. We used the Beachwalk, which stretches from the HHV to the Outrigger Reef, right next to the Halekulani. We were actually early for our reservation at Orchids but they were able to seat us anyways. My request on OpenTable for a patio table was fulfilled and we were seated just in time to catch the sunset.IMG_7867

Our waiter was super nice and helped us take loads of pictures against the backdrop of Diamond Head. It was such an amazing view – Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach on one end and the sunset on the other. There was a light breeze from being so close to the ocean – everything just seemed perfect.

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We started with a lovely amuse bouche of potato chowder, followed by a breadbasket with three spread options: pomegranate with olive oil, butter with Hawaiian pink salt and butter with Hawaiian black salt. All were quite tasty – I particularly liked the butter with Hawaiian pink salt.

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We decided on appetizers to share so we ordered three. They arrived all at the same time but I’ll talk about them separately. First is the Shrimp and Avocado ($18.00) with spiced macadamia nuts and orange dressing. This was, by far, the best appetizer of the night. The avocado was fresh and the shrimp was super sweet. The orange added a sweet and tart element to the dish. I highly recommend this appetizer!

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Next is the Tuna and Foie Gras Croquette ($20.00) served with a tomatillo salsa and green apple-frisee salad. The tomatillo salsa was a bit odd but I loved the croquettes. It tasted like smooth tuna salad!

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Our last appetizer was their Orchids Salad ($14.00), which features Hirabara greens with seasonal fruit and pomegranate vinaigrette. The pomegranate vinaigrette was sweet and tart – matching the flavor of our first appetizer. The watermelon was also very sweet – you could tell it was in season there. This was a very light and refreshing appetizer to begin our meal.

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Both my sister and I went with their Steamed Onaga Orchids Style ($38.00). Onaga, or Long Tail Red Snapper, is steamed with shitake mushrooms. The sauce is made with green onions sizzled in sesame oil and soy sauce. The result was a soft, buttery snapper that practically melted in your mouth. The green onions, sesame oil and soy sauce combination really appealed to my Asian palate. I loved this dish! I can definitely see why it’s considered their signature dish.

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My mom went with their Lobster & Beef Cheeks ($54.00) with butter poached lobster and braised beef cheeks. The dish is served with a side of potato-wasabi puree, which I thought was divine. There was a hint of heat in the potato puree but not so much that it was overwhelming. I could eat a bowl of the puree!

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For dessert, we all split the Halekulani’s Signature Coconut Cake ($11.00). You can’t go to any of the Halekulani’s restaurants and not order this cake! The chiffon cake was as light as a cloud! The coconut-amaretto cream and whipped cream was not too sweet – just enough to be considered dessert. I’m a huge fan of coconut so this was a special treat for me.

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Service was impeccable and I really loved the way our waiter interacted with our table. Both our waiter and busboy were very attentive and we felt like we were treated with the utmost service. I highly recommend Orchids – whether it’s for a celebratory meal or just a night out. The ambiance and view cannot be beat.

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