Short Attention Span Eater
2065 S. King St. Suite 110 / 944-6622
Nabemono, or the one-pot dish, is removed from the traditional Japanese restaurant and reborn in a high-gloss contemporary environment. The difference in NeoNabe's shabu shabu lies in flavored broths inspired by favorite island dishes and seasonings such as miso, garlic, phó or kim chee. Start with broth, at $5 to $6, add raw entree ingredients ($13 vegetarian to $20 for rib-eye and black tiger shrimp) and get cooking. Night owls welcome. Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The cost is about $35 to $45 for two.
1224 Keeaumoku St. (next to Pineland) / 955-0446
Word of this restaurant has spread as far as Japan, a result of Mai Lan having welcomed models, celebrities and actors such as Takakura Ken. Stardust may draw the herds following in their footsteps, but the fine Vietnamese cuisine is real. Assuming you want to eat, not gawk, get there early: 6 p.m. is good, 5 p.m. is better, to finish before the 7 p.m. crush. Specialties here include $12 grilled beef rolled in la lop, or Thai betel leaves, char-broiled lemongrass lamb chops and curry crab, the latter two not listed on the menu. Meals for two run $20 to $30. Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Sundays.
So Gong Dong
McCully Shopping Center, 1960 Kapiolani Boulevard / 946-8206
This Korean restaurant has multiple personalities. Most obvious is the split between one side that's smoky, lively and lined with booths; the other quiet and spare, with several tables for two. The smoky half is set up for yakiniku, or tabletop grilling. Choose from $18.95 shortribs, rib-eye, tripe, beef tongue and more, and get grilling. The other half is for quietly sipping soondobu, or tofu soup. You can also order everything else in between on either side. Open 10 a.m. daily, closing at 10 p.m. Sundays, 11 p.m. Mondays to Wednesdays, and 1:30 a.m. Thursdays to Saturdays. Meals are less than $10 per person for lunch; about $30 to $50 for dinner for two.