The Weekly Eater

Nadine Kam

Atkins mania has us all
treading on egg shells

I don't always have the 750 words it takes to fill this space, and that is what happened in the case of Le Guignol, where a new crepe menu had me thinking two words: "Not enough." Not enough variety, not enough bang for the buck.

"Crepe Monday" represents a bold move in a city prone to copycat conservatism, but much as I applaud experimentation, we just don't have much of a crepe tradition here and growing a market is tough.

Anyone with a craving for eggs at night simply heads for Eggs 'n Things, where omelets can be had for less than $10, about all people care to pay for crepes as well, especially when the similarity of soft textures between the crepe and scallop or sole filling add up to squishy blandness that can be appealing only to senior citizens missing a few teeth. This wasn't helped by heavy sauces that buried whatever character these ingredients might have had.

L&L Drive-Inn's Hawaiian Atkins Plate dishes up two pieces barbeque chicken, a piece of teriyaki beef, a strip of short rib and two fried eggs over a bed of lettuce leaves and chopped cabbage.

The prix fixe menu runs $30 for three courses and $40 for four, but at the price of $60 to $80 for two, including a small lettuce salad and/or soup -- even if it's French onion -- and dessert, it doesn't seem to justify the price.

The limited menu is one way of easing into dinner service on a once-dark night, but I would have liked to see more entree options, if just to serve a companion who doesn't care for eggs.

And there is another save for "Crepe Mondays." Simply reverse the formula and add a couple of regular entrees to be paired with dessert crepes. Can't you just taste the sour cream and strawberries?

For those who do want to give the menu a try, Le Guignol is at 1010 S. King St. across from Thomas Square, and "Crepe Monday" service runs from 5 to 9 p.m.


WHILE CONTEMPLATING the crepe, I was wondering where I had seen that combination of meat and eggs recently. It reminded me of a photo that had been circulating around the newsroom, of L&L Drive-Inn's latest offering, the Hawaiian Atkins Plate.

Restaurateur Eddie Flores responded to public demand by trying to give people what they want, and what we're clamoring for these days -- it doesn't take much to launch a fad -- is a Dr. Atkins diet-style carbohydrate-free meal.

The full plate offers two pieces of barbecue chicken, a piece of teriyaki beef, a short-rib strip and two fried eggs over lettuce leaves and chopped cabbage, for $6. Out of all that, the cabbage is the best thing for you.

I ordered it up and stared at it for a while. The task of devouring it seemed daunting. The two yellow eyes of egg yolks seemed to dare me to dig in. And I couldn't do it -- not in one sitting, at least. The one plate turned into three meals. And that's telling. Anyone on a diet probably should not be eating more than 3 ounces of meat in a sitting, and the Hawaiian Atkins Plate bears at least 9 ounces.

It just goes to show you how a little information can be dangerous, as many have interpreted the Atkins plan to be the equivalent of a high-fat, all-meat diet, which is NOT what the doctor ordered.

Dr. Robert Atkins' "New Diet Revolution" called for an end to junk carbohydrates, as he wrote, "the unhealthy ones -- sugar and white flour, milk and white rice processes and refined foods of all kinds, junk food and the like."

He referred to them as fake foods, and they're recognized as some of our favorite foods, including cakes, pies, cookies, crackers, potato chips, french fries and ice cream.

It is the sugar content of these foods that will do you in. Simply put, sugar raises the body's insulin levels, which is linked to such degenerative diseases as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer's. This part is true for everyone, but a closer read of Atkins' book will also reveal it was written for the obese, 90 percent of whom the late doctor believed to suffer from "disturbed carbohydrate metabolism." The rest of us can process reasonable amounts of carbohydrates just fine, while also limiting those junk carbs.

That doesn't mean the L&L plate must go to waste. Go ahead and order it, and feed your family of four by adding your own generous side helpings of squash, pumpkin and green beans.

See some past restaurant reviews in the Columnists section.

Nadine Kam's restaurant 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.

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


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