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Sunday, July 19, 2015

MUD HEN WATER

MUD HEN WATER
3452 WAIALAE AVE
HONOLULU, HI  96816
808-737-6000
HOURS:  Tuesday thru Thursday 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM
                 Friday and Saturday 5:00 PM - 12:00 PM
                 Closed Monday and Sunday

First off lets get the name out of the way.  Mud Hen Water is the translation of Wai'alae, where the restaurant is located.  Wai = fresh water.  'Alae = mud hen which is an endangered native water fowl.  "The mo'olelo states that there was a thriving spring in the area that was home to the 'alae and a community gathering place and watering hole.  With that said, lets get down to the restaurant, food and service.  Mud Hen Water brings a vibrant indoor/outdoor eatery to the Kaimuki area.  The restaurant is adjacent to the Kaimuki Superette which is owned by Ed Kenny.  Kenny also owns the ten year old favorite Town restaurant and Mud Hen Water.  Kenny is a veteran of the San Francisco cooking scene and he is bringing small pieces of the City by the Bay to Hawaii.  We arrived at Mud Hen Water at 5:00 pm and we were greeted by smiling employees who met us out back at the picnic tables and then guided us through the bar area to the front entrance where they checked our reservation.  We were seated by a window with the sun beating down on our table.  I asked if we can move and was told the table with the blinds was reserved but they would see if they can find another table.  I said never mind and we endured the sun until it went behind the buildings.  The waitress said she did not know why they do not have a blind for the window.  Other than that service here was excellent.  All employees were smiling and attentive.  Really made us feel welcome and they delivered on every level.  I had read a few reviews on Mud Hen Water and the biggest complaint were that the portions were small and in fact, the waitress mentioned this when she went over the menu with us.  Based on this we decided to eat family style and share all the dishes with the table.  For me this was great.  Got to try multiple dishes and flavors.  Our server brought out the house complimentary appetizer after a few dishes had already been served.  Better late than never.  Cucumber with pureed boiled peanuts and mint.  The cucumber and mint were delicious but the boiled peanuts were dense and bland.  We started with the Beets ($10).  Wow this was creative and so delicious.  Probably the best dish of our meal.  The Beets were made Poke Style with Ago  (Seaweed) Avocado and Onion.  Really a perfect dish.  Loved it!  Next up was the Preserved Akule ($9).  This dish was stinky like Anchovies on steroids.  Served with Pickled Shallots and Soda Crackers.  There were two Anchovy like pieces of Akule in the can.  Loved the presentation of this dish but everyone at the table was not impressed with the flavor.  The Grilled He'e ($16) was a nice piece of Octupus that was grilled to perfection.  The He'e was moist and not overcooked and placed over a bowl of Lu'au which is lu'au leaves cooked in coconut leaves.  I did not like the stuff but my Wife cleaned the plate.  The Clams ($13) were served with Kalua Pork and Cabbage.  Loved the Clams.  A waiter approached our table as we were eating the Clams and said that we should really enjoy this dish with a scoop of rice.  Placing a scoop of rice in the broth and eating eat with the Kalua Pork and Cabbage was delicious he said.  We went for the scoop of rice and placed it in the bowl.  He was right - it was delicious. In fact my daughter ordered anther scoop of rice after that.  Now why don't they just add the scoop of rice in the kitchen I thought.  This takes the dish to another level and really makes sense.
The Salted Walu Croquette ($5) is probably the best bargain on the menu.  Delicious, moist and fluffy  fish with a Panko crusted crunch.  Everyone seemed to enjoy this dish.  The Grilled Beef Stew ($21) was a colorful bowl of vegetables and potatoes with a piece of beef and a huge scoop of mayonnaise. Why the mayo I don't know.  The beef was good and I liked the vegetables but this dish did not come together with flavors for me.  And why the mayonnaise?  The Smoked Meat Carbonara ($14) was a nice pasta dish.  I liked the noodles and smokey meat.  Loved the sauce too.  Never have had a Carbonara with vegetables in it.  Liked the Peas because they brought a fresh aspect to the dish but do you really need Peas in a Carbonara?  Would have rather had some Parmesan.  My Wife and Daughter wanted to go across the street to JJ's Bistro for dessert but I insisted that we try the desserts at Mud Hen Water.  They both said that the desserts did not sound appetizing with things like Polenta and Miso.  Great ingredients but for dessert?  We ordered the Chocolate Macadamia Nut Financier ($8) and it was probably one of the worst chocolate desserts of my life.  Tasted like corn bread and had very little chocolate flavor.  Served with Prunes?  Nobody liked this and we only ate a few bites of it.  The Pineapple-Polenta Upside Down Cake ($8) again tasted like corn bread.  The Polenta does not belong in a dessert.  Again thumbs down from the table and the dish was not finished.  My advice here is to fire the Pastry Chef fast and go across the street and buy JJ's Bistro desserts.  Overall I liked the style of Mud Hen Water and the service.  Food was good but not great.  I would go back again though but will be having dessert at JJ's.

MUD HEN WATER ON WAIALAE AVENUE IN KAIMUKI
THE OUTDOOR PATIO RIGHT BEFORE OPENING
FRESH HERB GARDEN ALL AROUND THE PATIO
KAIMUKI AVENUE TO TABLE FRESH HERBS
MUD HEN WATER SEATING AND BAR
BAR IS QUIET NOW BUT ROCKS WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN
MUD HEN WATER MENU
I LIKE THE UNFINISHED CONSTRUCTION LOOK 
THIS GUY WAS ALL BUSINESS PLATING THE DISHES
COMMUNAL TABLE IN MIDDLE OF RESTAURANT GREAT FOR LARGE GROUPS
CHILI PEPPER WATER AT TABLE - HAD VERY LITTLE TASTE OR HEAT
HOUSE APPETIZER CAME AFTER OUR APPETIZERS
CUCUMBER WITH BOILED PEANUT PUREE AND MINT
BEETS WERE THE BEST DISH OF THE MEAL
PRESERVED AKULE WITH SODA CRACKERS
JUST LIKE ANCHOVIES IN A CAN
PICKLED SHALLOTS AND AKULE ON SODA CRACKER
HE'E IS LIKE A SQUID LUAU
GRILLED OCTOPUS WAS COOKED TO PERFECTION
CLAMS WITH KALUA PIG AND CABBAGE
ORDER A SCOOP OF RICE TO SOAK UP ALL THAT GREAT CLAM JUICE
WALU CROQUETTE
FRIED TO PERFECTION
LIGHT FLUFFY AND DELICIOUS
BEEF STEW WITH A LARGE CLUMP OF MAYONNAISE 
CARBONARA WITH SMOKED MEAT
CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA NUT FINANCIER
TERRIBLE TEXTURE AND TASTE
PINEAPPLE POLENTA UPSIDE DOWN CAKE


1 comment:

  1. It looks like a beautiful and unique restaurant. It's not Honolulu, but if you are in Hilo, please stop by our factory/gift shop and try some of our cookies, candies or chips. We would love to have you: http://hawaiichips.com/.

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