My friend needed to go to Kahala Mall, and requested I pick somewhere nearby which was good and different. This little gem sure fit the bill. It's in an interesting little area full of restaurants and shops right behind the row of Waialae restaurants, across from Kaimuki Park. Remember, parking is done via a machine.
Blackened Chicken Bites- 4-stars- The presentation of the dish is actually very pretty. The first flavor which hits you is the pineapple and spices. A note for this restaurant is it's use of flavorful spices. The blackened crust is actually very flavorful, and the chicken is very juicy. The dish also includes parsley, bell pepper of green and red, and green onions, served on a bed of lettuce. Of course, this is just an appetizer, right?
Nutty Rice- 3.5-stars- This comes double-plated, so watch out the top plate may be quite hot to the touch! Earthy would define the colors, aroma, and flavor of this dish. Very earthy, full of walnuts and peanuts. This includes bell peppers, eggplant, carrots, and green onions (I might have missed the peas). Cheddar cheese covers all of this, adding to the flavor sensations. Although I originally considered it less spicy than the other items I ate, there lay a bed of callaloo--which I thought was collared greens. Here is where the spice lay, ready to explode. I can't say if you should mix it all together, but my personal preference is keeping each bite different, so you can get a true flavor experience.
Jamaican Oxtail Stew- 3.5-stars- I only sampled the ox tail from my friend's plate--although he enjoyed the scoop of rice which was similar to the rice I had, with less excitement, as well as a patty which was reminiscent of garbanzos. I recommend sucking the bone so you can get all the sauce and flavor, the depth of the experience--my friend refused. Still, it is well-made, but wasn't too outstanding in terms of ox tails I've had, although I've only had a handful of styles, including my own.
Irish Moss- 3.5-stars- This would be an acquired taste. When I saw seaweed, that's definitely something I'd want to drink--the health-benefits and all, right? It is a white, creamy drink exploding with spices, thus the acquired aspect. You must like robust herbs and spices, a little in the spicy, tangy region of your tongue. There are also flax seeds, so there is your Omega fatty-acids! I finished it last, as it has the texture of a smoothie, and makes a better finishing dessert than a compliment to the food I ate--it almost overwhelms other flavors.
Atmosphere- The open-air aspect of this place is very interesting. Although it was abnormally windy this night, I could only hear it outside--I was worried we would get a whirlwind effect since it's like a well-lit cave. The place is very relaxed, just a lot of traffic to all the restaurants in this little island of shops. It certainly feels like more of a couple's restaurant than for large groups, but I know groups would work well, too.
Service- The waitress was kind and attentive, and pregnant, so it was kind of cute. The chef also came out to talk to our tables and ask how the food was, which was good, especially if I were a better conversationalist--sadly, I am not.
Conclusion- The place makes for a good date, and gives you an almost private feel when there is no walking traffic. I will say the variety of spices may shock the senses for a date, or may work as the Irish Moss says, "Be an aphrodisiac." If you want some Jamaican food which feels far more authentic than other commercialized places, this is definitely the place to visit!
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