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Apr 20, 2008 11:20 AM

Big Island Disappointment

We dined at Daniel Thiebaut's in Waimea last night and I can't begin to tell you how disappointed we were (but obviously, I will make my best attempt!). I had not done any research prior to being up at Waimea unexpectedly at dinnertime and did a quick search on my gps for restaurants and the name intrigued me. A quick call to make reservations and check prices confirmed we were probably in for a fine dining treat.

The appetizer crab cakes with Hilo corn in a lobster sauce was the best thing about the meal though not memorable. The phyllo-wrapped shrimp in a lilikoi hot and sour sauce seemed like an imitation of the shrimp appetizer at Chai's Island Bistro on Oahu. And the sauce was very similar to a Roy's recipe I've made for years but Roy uses mango and Daniel "uses" lilikoi. I say "uses" because if there was any lilikoi in there, it could not be tasted and was dominated by the sweet chili sauce. The Lobster Mango Avacado salad that followed had a tasty citrus/mustard dressing, and sweet mango but, being currently from New England, we think we can spot good fresh lobster when we eat it and both my husband and I independently came to the conclusion the lobster had been frozen--it was very mealy. (Our server had confidently reassured us the lobster was fresh from Maine--which is why we ordered it). The lamb chops were overpowered by the hoisin sauce. I could have been eating beef. My husband's risotto had so much goo-ey cheese in it that it tasted like a box mix. We left half our entrees on our plates--which for us, speaks volumes. We decided to end the money bleed and skipped dessert. The biggest thumbs up I can give is to the location. They've done a nice job of restoring the general store.

We will be dining at Roy's (we are on a mission to try as many of his locations as possible--Hawai'i Kai, Chicago, New York, San Diego so far) and Merrimans later this week and hope they are more fulfilling.

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  1. Wow, how times have changed. Had you done your "reseach," you would likely have turned up my glowing recs. for Daniel Thiebaut's, and then I would have to take full responsibility for your evening. Going back, maybe four years, we had reservations, while staying in Waikoloa. We found ourselve upcountry about lunch time, so we stopped in, even though our reservations were for 8:00PM that night. The lunch was so good, that we did not hesitate to travel back for dinner. It too was great, though we both wished that we had not done so large a lunch.

    I am sorry to hear of your experience, as it was #3 on our last Big Island trip, right behind the 4-Seasons' restaurants.

    I used to be a big fan of the Waikoloa Roy's, but since the exec. chef change (some eight years ago) have been less than impressed.

    Please, please tell us of Merriman's.

    Again, sorry for Thiebaut's. It WAS great, when we last dined there, and we are not easy to please, especially twice in one day.


    1. Thank you for the review, and saving us from making the same mistake. Please share your reviews of Roy's and Merriman's, as we are considering both of those on our stay as well.

      1. next need for a culinary fix try the new Holuakoa Cafe in Holualoa...chef Wilson Reed does a spectacular'll need a's becoming very popular and has limited seating