Date of Visit: 2-6-10 @2:00pm
The Skinny:LuLu’s is a new restaurant located at the Cannery Mall in Lahaina. It is related to LuLu’s in Kihei but has different owners. The place was very quiet, in part to the economic downturn on Maui and lunch was pretty much over. I sat at the bar and ordered their Hog BBQ Sandwich with garlic fries and a Hapa pitcher of ale. The service was friendly and quick and my sandwich came right after my pitcher hit the bar. The pork was done just right with enough to overflow the bun and make it satisfyingly sloppy. The fries were hot out of the fryer and really well done. With the ale my lunch really hit the spot!
The Best Thing: A good lunch with a smile
The Worst Thing:It sure is dead at the Cannery Mall
My Recommendation: Go for It!
My 1st review of Sammy’s is here:Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill – Kahului Airport
Date of Visit: 7-19 @ 5:00pm
The Skinny: OK, I went back to Sammy’s while waiting for my flight to Honolulu. I ordered the same “Wabo” Cheddar Cheese Burger with fries that I had back in September and was greatly disappointed. The fries were stone cold! They must have been sitting on the plate for 20 minutes or more. I told my waitress they were cold and she asked if I wanted a new order, which I replied “yes please”. Thinking she would take my plate and return with another fresh order I was disappointed that she just went to the kitchen and left my cold fries on my plate. She came back after my burger was eaten with a small bowl with fries. It was half the serving size of the cold ones still on my plate and their taste was nothing like the ones I raved about in my first review of Sammy’s. They were bland, bland, bland, without the garlic cloves that made them so tasty some ten months ago.
The Best Thing: The Beer
The Worst Thing: Dashed expectations. I expect consistancy, not a roll of the dice when I eat.
My Recommendation: Dump the short order cook, quickly.
April 4Hard Rock Café – Lahaina
Date of Visit: 4-3-9 @12:00pm
The Skinny: Do you remember when it was so cool to get a Hard Rock tee-shirt? “You’re going to New York? You got to go to Hard Rock and get me a tee-shirt!” Well I had collected a few from my visits to Hollywood, Tokyo, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Newport Beach. But the funny thing is I never remembered the food! I wonder why? My wife says “They have a great salad that I want again.” So I found myself talked into a return to the heavy metal palace of Lahaina. I was feeling a bit adventurous and ordered their S.O.B. Burger with fries (as far as I can tell S.O.B. stands for served on bun). The Burger patty is 10 ounces of Angus beef cooked medium-well with grilled onions, guacamole, Monterey Jack Cheese with a dollop of Chipotle Pepper sauce on top. It is served with red onion, tomato, lettuce, and pickles on the side. I added everything except the tomato slice since I determined the sandwich would become impossible to hold with all the slippery ingredients. So how did it taste? It was OK. I found the spice from the Chipotle to be just right but overall the 9 different parts of the burger became indistinguishable in the mouth. It might have been better with the tomato and without the grilled onions and guacamole. I don’t know. As for the fries, they were overcooked. I didn’t finish them. As for my wife’s salad, the Honey Citrus Grilled Chicken Salad was found to be less tasty than remembered. This was in part to the high volume of romaine hearts to leafy greens, which as you all know makes a salad bitter. Upon hearing this, the friendly assistant manager took it off the bill, which was most commendable. Also of note there is a 20% Kama`aina discount, even on their tee-shirts. That Rocks!
The Best Thing: The staff was so nice!
The Worst Thing: No matter where you go Hard Rock’s all look and taste the same.
My Recommendation: Sorry, been there, done that
November 26Hukilau Sports Bar and Grill – Downtown Honolulu
Date of Visit: 11-20-08 @5:15pm & 11-26-08 @5:30pm
The Skinny: This Beer Bar/Restaurant is located in the less than elegant Resort Quest Executive Center Hotel in downtown. Unfortunately I was staying there and was too tired to leave the building. Big mistake! The first visit I ordered their “World Famous Kobe Beef” Hukilau Burger with Cheddar Cheese. Wait one minute, Kobe beef is the finest and most expensive beef in the world, right? So why make it into a $14.00 burger? If it was REAL Kobe beef it would cost at least $50.00 a patty! So they served it with Fries and a topping of avocado expertly cut into a fan. It was bland, bland, bland, and so were the fries. So during my next visit I decided to give it one more try since I was (again) stuck in the hotel and too tired to walk anywhere. Maybe I should get a pizza? How can they screw that up? So I ordered a Margherita pizza with fresh tomato, basil, and mozzarella. It was served on a dinner plate that once handed to me felt very warm. You know, like it was reheated in a Salamander. My first bite confirmed it. Cold and mushy in the center, and the cheese was barely melted. I asked for a replacement pizza. It was served 5 minutes later and found it slightly warmer. The fresh Basil was cut so small as to impart zero taste and the crust was paper thin and tasted like a matzo. I was only able to eat 2 slices and gave up.
The Best Thing: Cold beer and ESPN
The Worst Thing: The food
My Recommendation: Avoid at all cost
October 27Giovanni Pastrami – Waikiki
Date of Visit: 10-22-8 @ 7:15pm
The Skinny: Boy I needed a Pastrami! I have for months. You know a juicy stacked sandwich with mustard and dill pickles. I discovered this place that had Pastrami in it’s name the night before while walking off dinner on Lewers Street, and I had to come back… back for my Pastrami fix. It’s a combo sit-down pizzeria and sports bar broken into 2 levels with a pleasant decor. I asked the girl outside the front door if they had Kama`aina discounts. Unfortunately she didn’t know what it meant. After by brief Hawaiian lesson I sat down at the bar and ordered their “New York Style” Hot Pastrami, Cole Slaw, and a beer. The Pastrami was DRY. No juice to speak of and very very lean. The rye bread was just like store bought.. nothing to write home about. Yellow mustard was not available, only brown-dijon style. So let me make a point here. “New York Style” Pastrami sandwiches have some fat on them. Rye bread needs to have some weight (or density) to the slices to hold it all together. And you need Yellow mustard. That is what makes them so satisfying! OK now about the Slaw… it was slightly warm. Last time I checked you keep veggies COLD. Especially when it has mayonnaise in it.
The Best Thing: The cute girl in front now knows what Kama`aina means!
The Worst Thing: $13.95 for the sandwich when you can get a great one stacked a lot higher in NY for under $10.00
My Recommendation: Skip it, it’s just a place for tourists.
September 22Sammy's Beach Bar & Grill – Kahului Airport
Date of Visit: 9-21-8 @ 5:15pm
The Skinny: Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill is the namesake of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Maui resident Sammy Hagar, former lead singer of the rock band Van Halen. I ordered a “Wabo” Cheddar Cheese Burger with fries and a drink. Although the patty was a bit small I found the burger very tasty. As for the fries well…. they were exceptional! They were fried up with whole garlic cloves. How totally different!! What a great paring!! I was a happy boy!
The Best Thing: One-hundred percent of Sammy Hagar’s profits from the restaurant chain will be donated to local Hawai‘i charities via the Red Rocker Foundation, an organization Hagar and his wife Kari are establishing to help support children’s organizations.
The Worst Thing: You have to be flying to eat here.
My Recommendation: Show up an hour early for your flight to enjoy the good food and drinks.
August 7LuLu’s – Kihei
Date of Visit: 8-6-8 @ 5:30pm
The Skinny: LuLu’s is just off of Kihei road on the 2nd floor with good views of the beach area and all the local tourist traps. It’s clean and bright, which is a nice change from some of the other sports bars that I have been to lately. Ordered the “MagnumPI” burger (includes cheese, bacon and avocado) with onion rings at the spacious bar. It was big, very juicy, and held together well. It was in one word, Satisfying! The onion rings were really good too. The prices are reasonable and you can feel comfortable while dining. I really like this place!
The Best Thing: Nice atmosphere, friendly staff and good food.
The Worst Thing: It can be hard to find for the first time.
My Recommendation: Definitely worth a return visit.
August 6The Ale House – Kahului
Date of Visit: 8-5-8 @ 5pm
The Skinny: One of the best burger and beer combos on island. Always consistent, their burgers are hearty with all the fixins needed. The new super crinkle-cut fries are also hard to stop eating. It’s the best sports bar (and only one) in town.
The Best Thing: The prices are hard to beat, live music is very local, friendly staff, and ESPN is on over 10 TV screens.
The Worst Thing: The Wendy’s Burgers next store
My Recommendation: Do it if your hungry and thirsty!