SKY Waikiki elevates its bar food game

Up in the club for garlic shrimp, lobster roll sliders and the best parking deal in Waikiki
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I've always thought of SKY Waikiki as a hip nightclub for twentysomethings. In other words, I'm too old for it. I'd never been there — not for pau hana, bachelorette parties or after-after parties. 

That is, until I was recently invited for a media preview of SKY's revamped food menu (they had food all this time?). My experience completely transformed the way I think of Sky. Before I left Waikiki I was shout-texting a friend: "I HAVE THE PERFECT SPOT FOR OUR NEXT GNO!!" 

From happy hour at Top of Waikiki, Sky's revolving sister restaurant right upstairs, I already knew about the parking: Free with validation (you need to purchase something) for the remainder of the night. It's the best parking deal in Waikiki.

Here's what I'm getting the next time I'm up in the club:

Caprese grilled cheese sandwich ($15) is a melted cheese-and-tomato medley that comes with a spicy tomato sauce.

I’m a sucker for grilled cheese, so I know this is going to be love at first bite. The country bread’s made in house, stuffed with melted mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, housemade basil pesto and balsamic onions and grilled to a satisfying crunch. One bite takes you back to childhood memories of dunking grilled cheese pieces in tomato soup. This is slightly more grown up, thanks to the balsamic onions, but still comfort food at its finest. 

Grande short rib fajitas ($39) are grilled kalbi short ribs and sautéed vegetables served with flour tortillas and gochujang sauce.

Next, fajitas: Marinated, boneless short rib is sliced into bite-sized pieces, making it easy to inhale with or without the tortillas. The pasty red sauce on the side is gochujang, which you smear into the tortillas. It's hot, but it burns so good. 

Tempura medley ($39) with king crab leg, shishito peppers and lotus roots.

I love all things fried, and the tempura delivers. The king crab pieces are meaty and succulent, and the thin coating has a delicate crunch without being overly greasy. The platter comes with two creamy sauces — sweet chili aioli and kabayaki mayo. I prefer the mayo, but spice lovers will appreciate the sweet chili's heat. 

Lobster roll sliders ($36) have Kona cold lobster salad stuffed in three soft King’s Hawaiian rolls.

Lobster rolls are something I truly miss from living on the Mainland. These sliders are as close as I can get to the East Coast summer staple. The chilled lobster salad combines lobster chunks with lemon juice, chives and celery, and a light touch with the mayo lets the Kona lobster shine. Sometimes simple is best, and these sliders are a prime example of that.  

Spicy garlic shrimp ($36) is seven pieces of peeled shrimp served with toasted baguettes.

Executive chef Lance Kosaka says many customers were asking for shrimp scampi, and this twist features lots of garlic, parsley and lemon. Indulging in this is like visiting my favorite North Shore shrimp truck, but way less messy because the shrimp are peeled. You'll fight your friends for that last piece.  

SKY Waikiki
2270 Kalakaua Ave., 19th Floor
Tues-Thurs, Sun 5-11 p.m., Fri-Sat 5 p.m.-2 a.m. 
Happy hour drink specials Tues-Sun 5-7 p.m. at the bar only
Validated parking available in the Waikiki Business Plaza and Waikiki Shopping Plaza