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Sunday, November 28, 2004
Spada’s best feature is
Theater-goers cannot live by Indigo alone. As wonderful as it may be for a pre- or post-performance meal, there are only so many wontons one can ingest before longing for one more option.
Accompanying the first batch of flatbread is the traditional blend of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, pumped up here with pesto and Parmigiano-Romano cheese. You'll double your bread intake if you order a starter of steamed clams ($8.95) with its attendant broth of white wine, garlic and basil that must be sopped up.
After this round of flatbread, I'd really think twice about ordering a pizza or piadine, but it is their specialty after all, so it was my fate. A pizza seemed like overkill at this point, so, per our server's recommendation -- never listen to them if they're younger than 28 -- I opted for the sandwich of smoked salmon ($10.95), capers, onions and dill sauce, only to find it might as well be a pizza, because that's what arrived. It's the diner's job to take the slices and roll or fold before digging in. Which tasted fine and is especially handy for busy types forced to walk and eat during their lunch minute, although when I think of a sandwich, I think of extras of greens and maybe a bit of tomato folded in. As a sandwich, this pizza seemed a little sparse. You'd probably do better with the vegetarian ($9.95) option of grilled vegetables or chicken Caesar ($9.95).
Ceviche ($7.95), was also served without the advertised arugula. Servers should be informing diners when such substitutions are made. It probably wouldn't deter anyone from placing the order, but arugula is quite different from an assortment of lettuces. The ceviche will also challenge your perception of what the dish is all about. Here, a whole fillet is plopped upon said salad, with citrusy flavors that are diluted, but certainly passable. Those who insist on having it all, however, will miss the aesthetic of having their fish nicely cubed and lightly tossed with a pretty relish of fruits, onion and cilantro.
More carbs arrive with the pasta menu including cheese ravioli ($9.95), cannelloni stuffed with ricotta, spinach, pine nuts and cheese ($10.95). Fettuccine Marco Polo ($13.95) is topped with sweet shrimp tossed with diced Hauula tomatoes and a few spinach leaves in what is said to be light, but I deem heavy, cream sauce with a hint of yellow curry.
A lamb shank ($15.95) was cooked dry. The best thing about it was a few flecks of sun-dried tomatoes. On the other hand, Pesci di Spada ($16.95), swordfish lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and steamed with bok choy and fennel, was cooked perfectly. Those who go for heavy sauces will think this dish too sparse, but the fennel, an under-utilized veggie, was quite enough to infuse the fish with a light licorice flavor.
For dessert, you must try the house tiramisu ($5.95), which makes me fear for bank employees, who may grow fat on this addictive combination of lady fingers, espresso, frangelico, mascarpone and cream.
First Hawaiian Center, 999 Bishop St. Suite 150 (street level); validated parking in the building / 538-3332
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, and 5 to 10 p.m. Saturdays
Food Service Ambience Value
Cost: About $12 per person for lunch; $30 to $55 for two for dinner without drinks
Nadine Kam's restaurant reviews are conducted anonymously and paid for by the Star-Bulletin. Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants:
|very good, exceeds expectations;|
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