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Sunday, February 10, 2013

12th AVE GRILL - HONOLULU, HAWAII

12TH AVE GRILL
HONOLULU, HAWAII

12TH AVE GRILL
1145C 12TH AVENUE
HONOLULU, HAWAII  96816
808-732-9469
HOURS:  Monday thru Thursday 5:30 - 9:00
                 Friday and Saturday 5:30 - 10:00
                 Sunday - Closed

It has been awhile since we visited the 12th Ave Grill in Kaimuki.  This little restaurant is a neighborhood gem and was recently named the "Best Neighborhood Restaurant" by Honolulu Magazine.  I read that they will be moving into a much larger space soon so I wanted to enjoy the small neighborhood feel of the original space.  To me, places like this were meant to be small and modest.  That is why you need a reservation in advance and can never walk in on a weekend.  Something tells me that moving to a space twice as large will take away from what has made 12th Ave Grill so popular.  Then again I may be wrong and it may sail to new heights.  Hope they do.   The 12th Ave Grill is committed to utilizing fresh, locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.  Most of their ingredients are sourced from Hawaii's Island farms and ranches.  Farm-to-table is what their website calls it.  I like this trend among Hawaii's finest restaurants.  Why import it when you can buy it locally.  I like the fact that 12th Ave Grill is in an old white building with not much glitz.  When you walk in, it does feel like a neighborhood bistro.  Always a packed dining room and bar.  The hostess not only seated us promptly at a nice booth near the window, but she stopped by several times just to ask if we were enjoying our meal.  Our waitress Jennifer did a great job describing in detail at least four appetizer specials and three entree specials that were not on the menu.  Her descriptions went deep into the recipe list and included her own comments on taste.  Given the number of tables our waitress had this evening we thought she did a great job keeping the meal flowing.  Always coming back to ask how we liked each dish too.  Our meal started with a basket of bread that was fresh and so delicious.  One of the breads was coated with fresh herbs and garlic.  Loved this.  We started with the restaurants Signature Appetizer according to Jennifer.  The Smoked Ahi Bruschetta ($9).  Billed as 12th Ave Grill's famous Smoked Ahi Spread on a Baguette.  This was delicious.  The smoky flavor of the Ahi Tuna matched with the crunch of the Hearts of Palm and vegetable relish was terrific.  Two slices of house dried tomatoes were placed on top.  These were good but should have been sliced into smaller pieces.  Next up was the Crispy Beer Battered Local Avocado ($9).  Basically Avocado Tempura.  This was a bit bland and the Saffron Remoulade had absolutely no taste at all.  The Hau'ula Tomatoes Two Ways ($10) was just ok.  The Cornmeal fried tomatoes had very little taste or seasoning.  The Soup of the Day was Barley ($7).  My wife loved the soup but said that there was very little Barley in the soup.  Other than that she devoured every drop and kept telling me to try it.  It was good.  The ABCLT Salad ($12) was a big hit with my wife.  With Avocado, Bacon and Crab how can you go wrong.  For entrees we tried the Grilled Pork Chop ($27).  Hands down one of the best Pork Chops I have tasted in Hawaii.  Filled with flavor and served with a great hash brown tower topped with a horseradish and crem fresh.  My daughter dove into this chop and almost finished it.  I went for one of the Daily Specials.  A Braised Beef Short Rib Wellington ($26).  Beef Short Ribs served in a perfectly browned crust.  This dish was one sauce away from hitting it out of the park.  Everything was perfect except the sauce was too thin and tasteless.  A nice rich sauce would have elevated the beef and dough to a different taste level and made this a favorite.  We ended our meal with the Flourless Chocolate Cake ($8).  Let me tell you this cake needed flour or something else.  Pretty basic.  All in all this was a good meal that we all enjoyed.  Ambiance, service and food all good.  This is a place that I would return to again and bring friends and family.  Hope the move to larger digs does not take away the neighborhood charm.
Click link below for new post on 12th Avenue Grill

12TH AVE GRILL IN KAIMUKI - VOTED BEST NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT
SMALL AND COSEY NEIGHBORHOOD BISTRO


GREAT TASTING BREADS
SMOKED AHI BRUSCHETTA
TOMATOES TWO WAYS - BLAND AND TASTELESS
BEER BATTERED LOCAL AVOCADO 
AVOCADO IN TEMPURA BATTER
BARLEY SOUP
ABCLT SALAD - AVOCADO, BACON, CRAB, LETTUCE AND TOMATO
GRILLED PORK CHOP
BRAISED SHORT RIB WELLINGTON
PERFECTLY COOKED WELLINGTON WITH A VERY WEAK SAUCE
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE

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