Pineapple Room, Hawaii
Furikake Crusted New Zealand, All Natural Ora King Salmon on Ochazuke Risotto.
Located inside Macy's at the Ala Moana Shopping Centre, the Pineapple Room is Alan Wong's casual dining counterpart to his fine dining restaurant on South King Street. Not having dined at either, I was originally a bit reserved about all the reputation surrounding both restaurants, especially when I read that the Pineapple Room is borne of a chef at Alan Wong's expressing a wish to run his own restaurant.
I ordered the Tasting Menu - I always find that the best option if you don't know what to order.
Ho Farms Tomato and Watermelon Salad, with Hawaii Island Dairy Goat Cheese and Li Hing Mui Dressing
Miso Garlic Butter Fish (Black Cod) with Curry Kabocha Potato Salad, Karashi (Japanese Mustard) and Gobo (Burlock Roots)
Braised Beef Short Ribs and "Taegu" Shrimp, with MAO Farms baby vegetables
Walalua Chocolate Candy Bar, with Macadamia Nut Praline Crunch, Hawaiian Salt Caramel, Chocolate Ganache, Triple Chocolate “Brownie” Cookies
The food was excellent - the butter fish was divine and the watermelon salad was amazing in its simplicity and elegance. And did I mention the melt-in-your-mouth short rib? - but what really blew me away was the service. If you don't know already, I really like asking questions, and the service staff not only answered every question I had about the food, they even brought out the sous chef to talk to me about the menu and its development. I had particular questions about the Sea Asparagus - which taste kind of sea salty and capery - and they even sent out a note at the end of the dinner with alternate names so that I could find out more information if I was interested.
The Pinapple room provided me with not only a great dinner, but a fantastic dining experience. Definitely one worth repeating if I was in Hawaii again. Yes, you can get more affordable food on the islands, but this is a place to treat your family and yourself to a nice dinner out. With a true passion for food clearly evident in every member of the staff, this is a dining destination for eager foodies.