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The Weekly Eater

By Nadine Kam

Thursday, January 18, 2001

Food’s OK,
so don’t monkey
with gimmicks

HO hum, another restaurant and nightclub has opened. Translation: Bar food.

Like I said, ho hum.

But wait, Blue Tropix's bar is a monkey bar. "Ooo-Ooo!" was the reaction of many a soul in the newsroom. Who doesn't love a gimmick, especially one that's cute and fuzzy? Throwing a monkey in the mix changed everything. Now I had to go.

I have fond memories of the dearly departed Pearl City Tavern's large, airy monkey cage, with its many squirrel monkeys, swinging, playing, doing the things monkeys do, so I was disturbed to find Blue Tropix's one lone monkey behind the bar in a glass showcase like a zoo snake house.

Blue Tropix

Food starstarstar
Atmosphere starstarstar
Service starstar
Value starstarstar

Bullet Address: 1700 Kapiolani Blvd. (between Quicksilver and 24-Hour Fitness); free valet parking for lunch and dinner, $2 after 9:30 p.m. with validation.
Bullet Hours: Daily from 11 a.m. with late-night menu from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Bullet Prices: Less than $12 for lunch, $50-$60 for dinner
Bullet Call: 944-0001

PCT was at its peak in the 1960s and '70s. In 2001, we've been too exposed to PETA and other animal rights groups to think it's OK to keep monkeys behind glass, and it's totally unnecessary. The food has its own selling power.

It's for those who've grown tired of Ryan's Grill, Brew Moon and Compadres and want to try something more sophisticated, yet are not quite ready to settle for their parents' fine, if somewhat stodgy, restaurants.

The prices are also adult, and I'm not sure how that will fly with younger patrons, who sometimes complain to me when a sandwich is $6. Here, sandwiches are $7 and $8. These disappear at dinnertime, replaced by $6 to $11 appetizers and $18 to $23 entrees.

Better have a job lined up or hold out for the late-night pupu menu with Pistachio-crusted Chicken Fingers ($5), Crispy Calamari Rings ($7) or a Blue Tropix Burger ($8).

To go with that late-night menu, 21-and-older club events scheduled include Groovy Tuesdays with DJ Kool E. and Lisa D. every week, and Wasabi Thursdays with Dr. Boogie & Crew playing house music.

IF you do want to expand your culinary repertoire, wrap your tongue around Scallops ($11), about five quarter-size specimens, served in a creamy lobster reduction sauce, or Steamed Clams ($10), small but plentiful, awash in a Portuguese sausage-fennel broth.

Less successful was the Beggar's Purse ($8), three bundles stuffed with sauteed vegetables and what seemed to be dried shrimp. The wrapping was more exciting than the filling.

Starters all involved seafood, so those with allergies are warned. Seafood is prominent on the entree list as well. Crispy Moi ($23) made for a spectacular presentation. The fish was fried whole and served belly down in couscous and parsley cream risotto, so it looked like a little shark. Each bite was delicious, if somewhat bony.

Also good was the Hawaiian Plate ($22), steamed opakapaka served with taro and a coconut-luau leaf sauce. Ono.

I didn't taste much of the salt in the Alae-crusted New York Steak, which was chewy, but nevertheless tasty, topped with sauteed and crispy onions and a barbecue demiglace.

Desserts included a lovely Lemongrass Poached Pear ($5.75), served with sauces of lilikoi, ginger cream and mint oil, and Tiramisu ($5.75) in a glass with a touch of Kahlua.

Like I said, they don't need the monkey.

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

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