The Weekly Eater
BEEN spending a lot of time at the malls lately? Some of them seem ill-equipped to manage holiday traffic. I'm not talking parking or valet presence. I'm talking about food. Take Pearlridge. Plenty of shops. Too small a food court.
Food court choices
for mall shoppers
The purpose of offering a variety of places to chow is to give people enough sustenance to re-energize them to keep them on their feet beyond lunch hour and possibly through dinner, lest they head out to Pearl Kai or Waikele.
Here are a few places where you can do some shopping and get something worth eating:
Kahala MallYen King. The shoppers' dream. Walk in and a buffet is waiting for you. Don't even put your purse down before lining up. So alert is the staff that they'll take your drink order as you're walking in and have it on the table before you make your first pass at the buffet.
There are at least 25 selections -- more than you can even nibble at in a sitting -- and the cooks keep the food coming for freshness.
Some standards include Cold Ginger Chicken, Salt & Pepper Shrimp, Spicy Eggplant, Honey Spareribs and Dry Fried Chicken. Specials are rotated every other day. The Tofu and Steam- ed Fish is worth waiting for.
Lunch runs 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. The buffet is $8.50 for adults; $5 for keiki 3 to 12; free for under 3. The evening buffet runs 5 to 9 p.m., at $12.95 for adults; $6.50 for 3 to 12; under 3 free. Call 732-5505.
Pepe's Fresh Mexican Grill. Lime Marinated Chicken is a specialty here, as are Tex-Mex Ribs, a bit heavy on the sauce. Mix and match items such as the aforementioned and burritos, chimichangas and tacos in Uno, Dos, Tres combinations running $4.99 to $8.99. You also get choices of black bean, chickpea, or mango (this time of year!) and pineapple salads, and may dress up the flavors with house salsas. Try the roasted tomato version, or the fiery mango with eight different chiles, including the habanero. The decor is quaint, reminiscent of New Mexico's adobe abodes.
Waikele CenterChili's. This stand-alone restaurant offers haven from the congestion of the littler eateries. Portions are huge here, and much of it is hands-on fare, such as Baby Back Ribs paired with a half chicken ($15.99) and Pita Sandwiches that barely stay closed for all the stuffing, as with the Caribbean Chicken Pita ($8.99) topped with pineapple and canned Mandarin orange pico de gallo and a honey-lime dressing. (The wayward fried tortilla strips sticking out of the thing I could have done without.) Meats are somewhat dry.
Jurison's Inn. This has to be the people's choice eatery. Plate lunches are inspired. In addition to the usual bentos, Mochiko Chicken ($5.75) and Kalbi Shortribs ($6.45), there is Grilled Opah with White Wine Garlic Sauce ($6.95), Pan-Seared Furikake Salmon ($6.95) and Ahi Katsu ($6.99) ringed with nori. Order that rare or cooked through. The rare version is sometimes left to cook longer than it should be, but at prices like these I wouldn't complain.
Ala MoanaLahaina Chicken Co. You only need follow the line to find your way to this counter. Herb-encrusted Rib-Eye Roast and Roast Pork sure look tempting, but these are not as succulent as they appear. Fried Chicken is covered with a whole lot of batter. The Rotisserie Chicken really is the star. A plate with a quarter bird is $5.95; half a bird is $6.95. Combo plates of chicken plus red meat plus two side items run $6.50 to $6.95. Recent specials have included Mushroom Chicken and a thick Hamburger Steak.
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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:
-- very good, exceeds expectations;
-- below average.
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