THE reason for Sunday brunch is all but lost to the contemporary heathen. The art of combining late breakfast and lunch was popularized in England in the early 1900s before coming to America. It made perfect sense for a church-going crowd. A person could get pretty hungry sitting and kneeling through Mass or a long sermon.
A hearty brunch one day early
Afterward, having done penance, one was free again for debauchery of culinary or other sorts. And Sunday brunch was a most evil invention. No good could possibly come from an institution that allows one to eat with abandon. Has that stopped the human animal before?
Today, brunch is just an excuse to sleep in late, knowing the food will be waiting when we're ready.
Now the Hawaiian Regent Hotel's Summery Restaurant has broken from the pack and introduced brunch on Saturday. It'll be tough to lure customers from their speedy Saturday/slow Sunday routine - to Waikiki, no less. But it's worth a try, and I'm all for the idea of two lazy days.
The setting is nice enough. It's your basic hotel setup with an expansive open room and relaxing blue-green floral decor.
There are four food stations. Most would start at the circular table of cold items. Here was the sashimi, sliced tako with miso wasabi and cilantro sauce, Southwestern-style black bean salad with onions, green peppers and cilantro, spicy Cajun pasta salad, meaty snow crab legs and fresh greens.
It was self-explanatory, except for the spinach and watercress salad with bay shrimp and feta cheese. The feta was cut into cubes so I mistook it for tofu before biting into it.
HOT items at the next station were limited to vegetable of the day (which might be steamed carrots, asparagus or choi sum), fresh catch of the day (salmon steamed in wine with onions and dill), chicken strips on pasta that was rather dry by the time I got to it, and eggs Florentine, which despite being left in the steamer on its nest of creamy spinach, retained its yellow liquid center.
Herb-crusted leg of lamb at the chef's station was a bit of a disappointment. The delicate meat was left cooking too long and neither the mint nor lilikoi and red pepper sauce could save it.
Desserts ranged from chocolate-dipped strawberries to a chocolate cake with mint frosting to tropical fruit pies.
After such an experience, the rest of the day is shot. Shop? A distended belly doesn't flatter most outfits. Athletics? Can't run or swim after a heavy meal. Clean house? See athletics.
Save it for Sunday.
The Summery: Hawaiian Regent Hotel, 2552 Kalakaua Ave. Free parking for dining guests
Buffet hours: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Buffet prices: $21.95 for adults; $10.50 for children under age 12; $2 discount per person introductory rate offered through June
Robert Cazimero stars at the piano when Kahala Moon Cafe presents its Full Moon Dinner Monday.
By full moon's light
The three-course dinner offers an entree choice of braised lamb shank with cabernet-rosemary demi glace with wild mushroom and tomato risotto, or pan-seared mahimahi, grilled scallop and prawn medallion with lemongrass ginger buerre blanc, black bean glaze and roasted garlic mashed potatoes.
Seating begins at 6 p.m. The price is $50 per person (not including tax and tip). Reservations are being taken at 732-7777.
Nadine Kam's restaurant reviews run on Thursdays. Reviews are conducted anonymously and paid for by the Star-Bulletin. Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants:
-- excellent;To recommend a restaurant, write: The Weekly Eater, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802. Or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
-- very good, exceeds expectations;
-- below average.