As 2013 comes to a close, here’s a look at the great dishes and bites I encountered this past year, from quick snacks to epic multi-course dinners. Because my list is long, I’ve assembled it in three parts. My criteria for this list is simply digging through my food memory bank and recalling the most memorable dishes I’ve enjoyed. Just thinking about them allowed me to relive the flavor and textures, as if I just indulged all over again.
Pili Hawaii at Taste
Chef Mark Noguchi makes some of the best local foods. He finds ways to take local ingredients and turn them into nostalgic and familiar dishes with great flavor and execution. His grilled cheese sandwich with tomato dip is made with Christopher Sy's famous artisan bread, adding a nice toothsome bite for the creamy cheese. The tomato dip is reminiscent of the American grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup mom used to make.
661 Auahi St.
New to downtown is a Moroccan and Lebanese restaurant with my favorite working lunch. The merguez sandwich is loaded with a tasty lamb sausage, pressed with cheese, onions and peppers and served with a side of crispy fries and aioli. Very filling and satisfying, I hope you have a pillow at your desk for the post lunch nap.
1028 Nu'uanu Ave.
678 Hawaii is my new favorite spot for yakiniku. The quality meats, green onion salad, egg and cheese sides and combos make this one of the most popular Korean eateries in town. I recommend the 678 Combo, which includes beautifully marbled brisket, wagyu boneless short rib, marinated outside skirt and one of three soups. Tables are equipped with call buttons to flag down a server for ordering, water and the bill to ensure good service.
1726 Kapiolani Blvd.