May special seems like déjà vu
The slowing economy hasn't yet stopped the pipeline of new restaurants. I noticed even in the last downturn, there was never a lack of new places to dine. Maybe the spaces weren't glitzy, but at least they sustained our hunger and longing for novelty.
It just goes to show you what an optimistic/naive/arrogant/brave (pick one) bunch of people restaurateurs are.
Aloha Tower Marketplace / 599-4877
Hours: 10 a.m. to midnight Sundays to Thursdays, and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Cost: About $50 for dinner for two without drinks
There are three places I'm currently excited about, and people who follow me on Twitter know one of them. That's one of the benefits of the Internet. You can instantly rave, pan or dish any time of the day. It wasn't all that long ago when, aside from television or radio, the newspaper was a fast medium, and the quicker you could put out a cohesive thought, the better.
We now feel the pressure of time and space constraints. As much as I would like to talk about my new favorite restaurant NOW, along comes Gordon Biersch with a seasonal Maibock menu that runs only through May 18, leaving such a brief sampling time frame that it takes precedence over menus that will be in place months from now.
It presented a good opportunity to revisit the restaurant, which I haven't returned to since it opened with the Aloha Tower Marketplace. There are different restaurants for everybody, and I'm afraid I don't fit the Gordon Biersch profile, but you know, people and establishments change.
COURTESY GORDON BIERSCH
A beautiful sunset is a plus with any meal served at Gordon Biersch.
Gordon Biersch hasn't changed. We used to joke about Waikiki's 1950s time-warp cuisine. Sitting outdoors with a beautiful sunset behind me, Gordon Biersch's menu took me back to the early '90s, about the time the restaurant was conceived. There's nothing wrong with that. There are people who only want to see steak, shrimp and potatoes when they dine out.
Make that a lot of people, because you'll find bistro steak medallions ($23.50) served with crab-stuffed shrimp and gorgonzola potato wedges on the regular menu, and you'll find top sirloin ($23.50) layered with shrimp etouffée on the Maibock menu. What steak has to do with spring, I don't know, but it did bring out the sweet, malty flavor of the medium-bodied Maibock, and it's pretty clear that beer is the selling point here, with food as the accompaniment. The waitress didn't ask how I wanted the steak prepared, and it arrived well done, which has little to do with actually being well done. The phrase is synonymous with "dry."
While the trend is toward lighter cuisine, there's no such move here. Lobster mac & cheese ($22.95) is accompanied by cheese-covered bread, perfectly understandable, but does there really need to be an extra layer of mayo under the cheese?
I was expecting more of a German menu, but I guess that's too foreign for the typical Gordon Biersch patron, who would feel more comfortable with Kobe beef sliders ($11.95 for a trio) or dijon-crusted salmon ($19.50), also on the special menu.
If you do check it out, don't forget to enter the company's "20 Years, 20 Ways to Celebrate, 20 Ways to Win" sweepstakes with a grand-prize trip for two to San Francisco and more than a week of Gordon Biersch 20th-anniversary celebration festivities. Entries must be received by May 18.
Back to regular programming next week.