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Alan Wong's -- tasting menu vs. a la carte?

We always go to Alan Wong's on our anniversary every year, and this year we've decided to treat my parents and sister on our special day.

We've always done the tasting menu, but rest of the fam has not. Our last visit to Alan Wong's we were quite full half way through the meal. I'm wondering if we should try ordering off the regular menu as my parents are lighter eaters. However, I see that many tasty items on the tasting menu are cleverly left off the regular menu.

Any thoughts on which menu is better? Can we share tasting menus? Or should we do half tasting menu, half reg menu? Help! Thanks in advance!

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

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  1. Alan Wongs will do anything on a tasting menu ala carte, if you ask. One reason I love ordering off the regular menu is the salads - I love the ume/li hing dressing. YUM.

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

    4 Replies
    1. re: akq

      Thanks for the tip! I've never had the salad. I heard you can buy the dressing bottled? Is this true?

      1. re: superangela

        No idea. If it is, let me know!

      2. re: akq

        The whole tomato salad with the li hing dressing is the single greatest thing I've ever tased :) (I think)

      3. I agree with AKQ. Just ask, with enough time, and you can get almost anything that you want. AW's is most accommodating, and your joy is their desire.

        While we do their tasting menu (usually at the counter, though last time was at a table for conversation), IIRC, there were three requests, that were all honored, without hesitation.

        At the counter, and over the years, there have been all sorts of extras on the tasting menus, as my wife, or I, would ask, "oh, what's that?" as a dish would go past. Next thing we knew, one of whatever, was added to our tasting, just to satisfy our curiosity. They aim to please.

        Hunt

        10 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Thank you to everyone who responded-do you happen to know if we can split tasting menus? I'd rather get a tasting menu to split and then add some items a la carte so we get a great variety of dishes to try...

          1. re: superangela

            I have never done that, but then the regular "tasting menus," plus maybe an addition, have always provided us with more that we could eat.

            Good luck, and enjoy,

            Hunt

            1. re: superangela

              Per the AW website, the chef's tasting menu is only available for the entire table.

              1. re: akq

                Hm-m, had never encountered that. Now, wife and I always do the tasting menu (have not gone a la carte in decades), and on the last visit, or guest also went with the tasting menu, but there was much discussion, in front of the server, and I got the impression that had be wished, they would have accommodated us - guess that it was but an "impression," and an incorrect one, at that.

                Thanks for that, as it might save me issues next time?

                Mahalo,

                Hunt

                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  I could have sworn last time I was there they asked if everyone was going with the tasting menu. Perhaps I misremember.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    Yes, that is sort of how I remember my last visit, but maybe I had already had too much wine to pay close attention?

                    Never knew about that, but cannot recall a time that I would have tried to split things up. I WILL keep that in the back of my mind, and ask a direct question on the next visit.

                    Hunt

                  2. re: Bill Hunt

                    The last time I went, only I got the tasting menu, everyone else ordered ala carte, so it shouldn't be an issue.

                    1. re: killersmile

                      It's entirely possible that they don't follow the policy stated on their online menu, but it does say that the chef's tasting menu (the bigger one) is only available for the entire table. The smaller 5 course menu doesn't have the same restriction on the online menu.

                      http://www.alanwongs.com/honolulu-men... :
                      CHEF'S TASTING MENU
                      wine pairings also available (menu subject to change
                      )available for the entire table only

                      1. re: akq

                        If I remember correctly, it's also listed on their menu in the restaurant as well. Which reminds me that I had the 5 course, not the chef's tasting so that's probably the reason it was ok.

                        1. re: akq

                          On our last visit, we did the "full boat" tasting menu, but with a few additions. We were debating our choices, with our server and one of the managers tableside, and I do not recall either of the AW employees trying to talk us out of anything. Maybe they were waiting for us to step out of the constraints, and then they would have reeled us in?

                          In the end, we went with the "big kahuna" tasting menu, so guess that it was moot.

                          Hunt