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Honolulu report: Mavro Letdown, Alan Wong Decent, Ono shines

After much research I decided to do Chef Mavro, Alan Wong, and Roy's Waikiki during my visit over Memorial Day weekend. Chef Mavro was such a big let down and Alan Wong, while good, was not the experience that I was hoping for. We cancelled Roy's and went to Tamashiro's to buy some fresh seafood to cook at back at the hotel. The meal was much more enjoyable than either Chef Mavro or Alan Wong.

Ono was awesome though. The laulau was delicious.

Chef Mavro:

We got the 4 course tasting and added the Tamarind roasted sablefish from the 6 course menu because we liked the items on the 4 course menu better. We got the premium wine pairing. The wines were pretty unremarkable and didn't really accentuate any of the dishes. The only exception was the 2005 lignier pairing the the Kurobota pork loin which was actually very good.

-Amuse: gazpacho. very garlicy, lacked any other flavor

-Ecabeche of big island abalone: actually by favorite dish of the night. The abalone was tender and delicious. The manchego cheese croquette served with th abalone was superfluous an didn't really add to the dish.

-Day Boat Catch. I didn't catch the name of the fish, but the flsh was lean and a bit on the dry side. Not bad, not really good either.

-Tamarind roasted sablefish. Poorly prepared. The sablefish was a bit fishy.

-Kurobuta pork loin wrapped in betelnut leaves. As previously mentioned very good. The bugundy went well with the smokiness the betelnet leaves imparted to the pork

-Malasadas: very good. Pineapple ice cream was delicious

The bill totalled over $400. Definitely one of the worse tastings with wine pairings I've had at that price point, if not the worst.

Alan Wong:

Requested seating at the chef's counter. Declined the wine pairing since we were still traumatized by the pairings the night before. Decided to go with kubota manju sake to play it safe. Food here was at least very tasty. Nothing mindblowing or revelatory but at least tasty. We had the 5 course tasting.

-Appetizer duo of kalua pork mozzerella sandwich with tomato soup an fried ahi poke wontons The sandwhich and the fried ahi poke wontons were pretty tasty.

-"Da bag". We substituted with this dish comprised of steamed khalua pork and clams in a bag. It was a good dish, tasty.

-Butter Poached Kona lobster with shrimp Mochi rice cake. The lobster was decent. Certainly didn't compare to the butter poached lobster at Providence 2 nights prior or Per Se's version. The shrimp mochi rice cake was awesome though.

-Twice cooked beef short ribs with gingered shrimp. Tasty but very uremarkable. I feel like I could get better versions of both in SGV or K-town in LA.

-Dessert: so unremarkable we stopped after 1 bite.

Tamashiro Fish Market:

We cancelled Roy's and went to Tamashiro Fish Market. We picked up some live north shore prawns, white crab, a fish I've never seen before, started with a "M", some on choy, some pineapple, and some mangos.

The mangos and pineapple was simply amazing. The north shore prawns and white crab we steamed and dipped in fish sauce. The fish we panko crusted and pan fried. On choy I simply sauteed with garlic.

The seafood was very fresh here and staff very helpful. I'm not a great cook by any means but this was definitely the best meal of the trip tied with Ono.

In the future, I plan on avoiding high end dining in Honolulu.

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Alan Wong's Restaurant
1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

Chef Mavro restaurant
1969 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96826

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  1. Thanks for the report. Actually, the food at Roy's (Hawaii Kai) is usually pretty good, and not as expensive at Alan Wong's and a lot less than Mavro's. The view can also be pretty nice.

    Totally agree with you about the laulau at Ono's, moist and tasty. Paired with salt meat watercress or their chicken long rice makes for a delicious meal. Next time you could always do a take out of the laulau from Ono's, get a selection of fresh poke from Tamashiro's with some cold beer. Now that would be an awesome hotel room meal.

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    Alan Wong's Restaurant
    1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

    1. Thank you for the reviews.

      After two excellent Chef Mavro's meals (think it was the 9-course and then 11-course, but the reviews should still be up here), that were excellent, along with a combo of the sommelier's regular and "reserve" pairings, the last visit lacked in many aspects. Now, it was the beginning of the Christmas Holidays, and there were two large parties, but still, things were not hitting on "all cylinders." We got two "corked" wines, and the assistant sommelier should have picked up on both. He had obviously already served a couple of glasses of each, and I did not observe him rushing to other tables to replace those with good pours. Bad form.

      Now, we have never had anything but great meals and wines at AW's, and that goes back to the first year that they opened. Still, you are not the first to comment recently.

      We were planning on doing both in May, but had to cancel. We hope to get back in Nov/Dec, and I will definitely be dining at both with reports.

      Aloha,

      Hunt

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      Chef Mavro restaurant
      1969 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96826

      1. Porthos,

        I am so glad you wrote this. I agree wholeheartedly, even though my experience at Mavro's was over 2 years ago, I haven't stopped thinking about it. Part of the reason is probably hearing people praise Mavro's without ever eating there, most just assume that it's a great fine dining restaurant because it was a part of the HRC shinanigan. The meal we had there was not un-remarkable, it was just no good. The fish we had was over-cooked, dry. There was a sea foam that seemed to be on the plate for no reason. The beef was good, but not $200 good, and the worst was the wine pairings. Horrid. There's great restaurants here in Oahu, but few fine dining and definitely not Mavro's.

        1. By Ono'ss do you mean the one on Old Volcano, or the 747 Kapahulu?

          1. Was the m-starting fish moi? Menpachi? Mahi (jk..).

            Just curious!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Mag454

              Not sure. it was about 8-10 inches. Bright red. Looked like a cross between a mullet and parrotfish.