Sunday, February 6, 2011

SABRINA'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT - HONOLULU


SABRINA'S ITALIAN
HONOLULU, HAWAII 

I have been driving by Sabrina's for many years yet never once have eaten there.  The restaurant is tucked away in a very small strip type mall near the University of Hawaii.  Parking is tough and I really have never met anyone who has recommended it.  I was craving some good pasta, so I started to do some research and read reviews on the Internet before making a reservation.  I found that most people either love or hate the place with the majority really liking it.  With that in mind, I called for a reservation on a Saturday evening.  The answering machine came on and Sabrina said to leave your name and number to make a reservation.  An hour or so later Sabrina called me back.  I requested a reservation between 6:00 and 8:00.  She said that 6:00 would be better and to make sure I bring a bottle of wine since they do not serve alcohol.  She also took the time to tell me different parking options around the restaurant.  Very pleasant and nice phone call.  We arrived at 6:00 to find the place empty.  We were quickly met by Sabrina who welcomed us and asked how we heard about the restaurant.  She was genuinely interested in making us feel at home.  This was a great start to the evening.  The waitress quickly uncorked my bottle of Italian Borolo (no corkage fee) but did not offer my lovely bride water or another beverage.  We started with the Caprise Salad ($9).  Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Tomato, Basil and Olive Oil.  This was light, fresh and very good.  The Antipasto Plate ($10) was a huge portion of meats, a little cheese, toasted bread and an incredible vegetable mixture.  I placed the meats and cheese on the bread and topped it with the vegetables.  This was fantastic.  Loved it.  We couldn't finish all the meat on the plate and the waitress offered to pack it to go.  There are a lot of pasta dishes and entrees on Sabrina's menu.  I went with the "Special" which was Lobster with Fettuccine.  I was expecting a lobster tail on the plate and got a very small empty one with no sign of lobster in sight.  One bite of the dish and I found the lobster.  It was finely diced into a delicious and light creme sauce that covered the pasta.  To me this dish was a home run.  Not too creamy, big flavor, not too heavy and just perfect.  Exactly what I was hoping for.  My bride enjoyed a huge plate of Seafood Risotto.  Filled with large clams and calamari.  She ordered without the mussels.  This dish was also fantastic but a little oily.  The flavor made up for the excess of oil on the plate.  We finished the meal with a Cannoli made fresh to order.  Sabrina was an excellent host and really made us feel at home and appreciated.  The restaurant filled to capacity by 7:30 so I am glad we arrived early. I cannot wait to return to Sabrina's to try some other dishes.  I really like this place and if it is as good the second time, it will be a Taste of Hawaii favorite.  I could not wait to return to Sabrina's to see if this place was the "read deal" Italian.  A week later I dragged the family back with me to try some different dishes.  Would this restaurant win the honor of a Taste of Hawaii Favorite?  Well.....it did!  The second visit was as delicious as the first.  We arrived early to beat the crowd and were seated at the same table as our first visit.  Sabrina arrived at our table to make sure we had a reservation.  Seems they were very busy and not letting anyone in without a coveted reservation.  She grilled the table next to use about having a reservation.  She could not remember the guys name.  Finally she asked for his phone number and went back to check it against her records.  Lucky for the guy and his date she had the phone number written down.  They were in.  While Sabrina works the tables making sure everyone is happy and monitoring the food deliveries, the sole waitress in the place (same as the one we had before) is pleasant but not really into this gig.  We started with the Bruschetta.  Small pieces of bread spread with garlic and topped with tomato, parsley and a little olive oil.  Very simple, light and delicious.  All three of us shared a single salad with Prosciutto and Parmesan. There was enough for everyone.  I loved the large, thick slices of ham and tangy balsamic dressing.  This was not too heavy and did not fill us up.  We tried the Spaghetti with Clams.  Large Clams in a garlic, wine and olive oil sauce.  This dish was great but like the Risotto dish the first time, it was far too greasy. Just too much oil.  Other than that it was great.  The fresh Pasta with Meat Sauce was delicious.  I just love Sabrina's home made Fettuccine.  It is cooked perfectly and absorbs the sauce of the dish.  The meat sauce was filled with beef and covered in a light tomato sauce.  Delicious!  Our final entree was a pasta filled with beef and cheese and covered in a tomato sauce.  I was amazed how good this was.  Nice meat filling, cheese and a tomato sauce that did not drown the dish or take away from the pasta and meat filling taste.  Everything blended perfectly.  I loved it.  For dessert, my daughter wanted the chocolate covered creme puffs.  Can't really mess this dish up.  It was great.  After two visits in two weeks I proudly name Sabrina's Italian as a TASTE OF HAWAII FAVORITE.

SABRINA'S OFF WAIALAE AVENUE IN KAIMUKI
COMFORTABLE INTERIOR IS LIKE BEING AT SABRINA'S HOME
Caprise Salad
Antipasto Plate
Seafood Risotto
 Fettuccine with Lobster - This was DELICIOUS!
SECOND VISIT - BRUSCHETTA
SECOND VISIT - SALAD WITH PROSCIUTTO 
SECOND VISIT - SPAGHETTI WITH CLAMS
SECOND VISIT - PASTA FILLED WITH BEEF & CHEESE
SECOND VISIT - FETTUCCINE WITH MEAT SAUCE
SECOND VISIT - CREME PUFFS WITH CHOCOLATE

2 comments:

DrJoepa said...

The best taste of true Itatian fine food so far from Italy can be found here in the heart of the Pacific in our paradise, Honolulu.
The finest food, ambiance and service.
Kaimuki has " Sabrina's Restaruant" and now I
have discovered my chilhood memories by way of tastes, smells and a mild accent. I highly recommed a delightful dinning experience right here in Honolulu for the little Italian boy that remains in some of our hearts. Bravo !
Dr. Joseph S. Curcio, Sr.

DrJoepa said...

The best Italian will " Break the mouth" of every
Italian food lover so far from Mom's cooking
of my youth. A discovery in Kaimuki !
Don't tell anyone but those you truly love.
Dr. Joepa