Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

The Weekly Eater

By Nadine Kam

Thursday, March 9, 2000

Brushing up on
dem bones in Waipahu


Food StarStar
Atmosphere StarStar1/2
Service StarStar1/2
Value StarStarStar

At 94-210 Leokane St. Open 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays except closed on Wednesday. Open 12:30 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Call 676-3599.

THERE'S a big beef waiting to happen in Honolulu, and it's got to do with pork.

The skirmish started a year ago with our contest to find the best ribs in Honolulu. We asked readers to nominate their favorite ribs, and through consensus, we gathered up the qualifiers for a taste-off judged by a panel of staffers and readers.

Deb's Southern Comforts in Kailua was the winner.

In Waipahu, Clara Tate of Catfish & Pies, had another opinion. "I don't know why they didn't let us enter," she says in this month's Honolulu magazine, saying her ribs coulda been a contender.

Maybe, unfortunately no one nominated them.

To be fair, I checked 'em out and ... the ribs are good -- fall off the bone tender, with savory pork flavor. Even so, our panelists sought balanced flavor and Catfish & Pies' ribs, though boasting a lovingly made and wonderfully textured sauce dotted with minced garlic and chives, are extremely treacly.

I leave rib lovers to taste and make their own decision.

If you do go to Catfish & Pies, call ahead to make sure they have the ribs ($8.50 for a dinner plate with four bones, $18.50 for a 13-bone slab). These tend to be the first items to go.

Tate will be changing the menu, but for now you'll find sampler plates that offer one to four meat items (fried chicken, catfish nuggets, ribs or sausage) for $11 to $20, with collard greens, macaroni and cheese, candied yams and cornbread. A $14 two-meat plate will feed two.


Food StarStarStar
Atmosphere StarStar1/2
Service StarStarStar1/2
Value StarStarStar1/2

At 94-226 Leoku St. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays. Call 678-8201.

RISING above the fray is Ida Peppers, the "Mom" of Mom's Restaurant, Waipahu's other Southern-style restaurant.

"I'm not competing with anyone," she says. "I always tell my children 'don't talk about nobody's cooking 'cause no one can satisfy everyone."

Peppers serves home-style Southern cooking as taught to her by her father, from Savannah, Ga., and other relatives. You won't find ribs though. Ida used to make 'em in East Palo Alto where she ran a restaurant with an indoor pit barbecue. But this is a feature not allowed here.

There's a lot of heart and soul in Peppers' work. Where many restaurants would pour the same old brown gravy over chicken, beef and pork, Mom's has a gravy for each. She won't divulge her secret blends of seasonings, but she'll allow that her Smothered Steak ($6.50 with two side orders/$5.50 with one) is marinated in garlic, which carries over to the gravy.

Fried okra is heavier than at Catfish & Pies', with gooey centers intact. Virgin palates will find cornmeal-coated snapper (three pieces $6; five $8) a nice alternative to the usual catfish, which is an acquired taste.

Call ahead to inquire about daily specials such as gumbo, jambalaya and chitterlings.

For dessert, both restaurants serve up Sweet Potato Pie heavy on the nutmeg. And of course, sweetened Southern ice tea is a dessert in itself!

See a listing of past restaurants reviewed in the
Do It Electric!

section online. Click the logo to go!

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

E-mail to Features Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin