The Weekly Eater

By Nadine Kam

Thursday, October 28, 1999

Hana hou, but
alas, crab no mo’

I was about to have dinner at Buzz's when I ran into my mechanic, a guy who knows cars, and a little bit about food.

Conversation veered from pricey steak and shrimp toward bargain buffets, and he steered me toward the Hana Hou Restaurant at Kaneohe's Bay View Golf Park for what he calls the best weekend brunch buffet on the Windward side. I rushed over the next morning and was greeted with a scolding.

"You don't have reservations!?," the hostess asked, horrified. "We get really busy so next time call first."

I was amused that her indignant tone was so much like my parrot's, a feisty African Gray who can ask all day for water -- she likes it best sprayed into her beak with a plant mister -- and when told after the fifth drink, "No water!" answers with an incredulous, "No water!?"



Food STAR STAR Half-Star
AtmosphereSTAR STAR
ServiceSTAR STAR Half-Star

Bullet Address: At Bayview Golf Park, 45-285 Kaneohe Bay Drive
Bullet Hours: Lunch and Sunday brunch 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; dinner 5 to 8:30 p.m.
Bullet Prices: $7.95 for weekday lunch buffet; $10.95 for Saturday and Sunday brunch; $12.95 for weekday dinner buffet with roast beef; $16.95 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday dinner buffet with prime rib; half price for keiki ages 6 to 10; under 6 free. (Beverages, tax and tip not included in prices.)
Bullet Call: 235-4066


Anyway, such histrionics seemed out of proportion to the offense, and after the hostess vented, I was seated right away. But not for long. The food stations beckoned, especially the roast beef and the omelette bar. These two items alone are worth the $10.95 cost to adults.

At the omelette bar I watched two chefs with their differing styles of cooking. One would cook up your choice of onions, bay shrimp, mushrooms and tomatoes in one pan, eggs in another before pouring the first set of ingredients into the egg and adding cheese and green onions. The other would cook the first batch of ingredients, then pour egg over it before folding in the cheese and green onions. Either way, the results are excellent.

After this, the likes of poke, shortribs, teriyaki chicken, bacon, a creamy pasta salad, barbecue ribs and fruit salad were bonuses. Desserts included soft-serve ice cream with chocolate sauce and toppings, apple pie and assorted cakes.

I was aggravated by a woman in front of me who filled her 6- or 7-year-old son's plate with snow crab legs. It took her long enough to fish out the best pieces, enough for two, and just when I thought he would tip over, she turned her attention to filling her own plate. She wasn't the only one. There were a whole lot of people eating nothing but flavorless crab legs.

"I don't see how they can make any money this way," I said to my guest. But I guess the restaurant operators did notice. The popularity of the crab legs has made it necessary for them to remove it from the weekend brunch and offer it for an additional $5 per pound. As usual, it only took a few greedy types to ruin everybody's gig.

It's not an especially pretty place, ranking slightly above a cafeteria. The weekend morning ambience is much like a school cafeteria thanks to all the screaming, running kids trying to beat their parents to or from the buffet line. This is probably comforting news to the parents who tell me having kids means they never get to go out and eat. This one's for you.

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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;
-- very good, exceeds expectations;
-- average;
-- below average.

To recommend a restaurant, write: The Weekly Eater, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802. Or send e-mail to

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