NEW: Noelani's Hawaiian Bar & Lounge in San Carlos - any hound report?
There's a write-up in the SFExaminer on Noelani's Hawaiian Bar & Lounge, San Carlos. Who's tried the food?
1037 Laurel St, San Carlos
Monday - Closed
Tuesday thru Thursday: 12pm - 10pm
Friday: 12pm - 11pm
Saturday: 3pm - 12pm
Sunday: 3pm - 10pm
This was mentioned by a friend of mine who lives in San Carlos, we finally tried it.
The place is pretty good. Not a star, but a very comfortable neighborhood place, and a few standouts.
It's near The Refuge, not on the main part of Laurel, but further south. It's not hyper crowded like Town, or small the The Refuge. Outside tables (front and back), big airy bar section, a couple of lounge pits. Bar area has a couple of big tvs with a game on, but not obtrusively, and the back area was a bit dark but not crowded at 8:30 on a Friday, which we found very pleasant.
Service was good. There were a lot of staff and they were well trained, and they made a point of dressing psuedo-hawaiian. Orchids in the hair and colorful prints.
Drinks. We had the "house special", which was some kind of fruity cocktail in an up glass. It wasn't very strong on the alcohol (which I appreciated) but very long on the savory with a nice balance of sweet. The deft touch with a very complicated mix made me hopeful that the rest of the tradr vic's style list would be well mixed. At "only" $11 (as opposed to the $14 mai tai) it was a good addition. Beer list was very tolerable (some of those Kona beers, a couple of others), and my eye didn't get down to the wines.
Food was very solid. We had the Musubi, which is kind of like a large tekamaki, which had a nice enough rice but the fillings in the center got a little lost - but the sampler (chicken, pork, spam) was a nice touch.
Much stronger were the fish tacos. I know there must be better fish tacos in the bay area, but honestly I can't remember having a better one recently. The breading wasn't offensively huge, there wasn't a big layer of mayo, and it was served with a bottle of sriratcha which I used liberally. This may have destroyed some of the subtlety of a great fish taco, but... this was good.
The star was the Kailua Pork quesadilla. I have no idea why a restaurant would go through all the hassle of making Kailua Pork and then only have a quesadilla and not some kind of plate. A real plate would have poi and whatever, and maybe they can get more bang per ingrediant with a quesadilla, but it was really, really good - partially because it had more spice than it should. Tasted like a lot of star anise and maybe cardamom and other of those great toasty spices --- could be argued it was overdone, but nothing succeeds like excess.
In general, these plates were about $10 to $14, so I was a little surprised how 3 plates and a drink came to $70 with tip, which seemed high for what we got but not excessive. Maybe I should have checked the bill better.
I like places where you can lounge and talk a bit on a friday, that aren't overwhelming. The Office is kind of like that, but the food's only OK. I can't think of anywhere else in san carlos that has that much room and open space, and a solid bar, and interesting food that's not too heavy.
Give it a shot.