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Sunday, March 20, 2016

MW RESTAURANT

MW RESTAURANT
1538 KAPIOLANI BLVD, #107
HONOLULU, HI  96814
808-955-6505
HOURS:  Monday thru Friday 10:30 AM - 9:00 PM
                 Friday 10:30 AM - 10:00 PM
                 Saturday 4:00 PM - 10:00 PM
                 Sunday 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM

It took a gift certificate that we received last year to get me back to MW Restaurant.  While I have been watching this place get rave reviews and nominations for some pretty prestigious restaurant awards it just was not on my list of must eats now.  I had tried to get reservations on a weekend here and they were booked a week out at the times I wanted to dine.  I made a reservation for a Saturday a little more than a week out and was successful in getting a table at 6:45 PM.  The restaurant emailed me twice and called to confirm the reservation the day of the reservation.  I like this confirmation process and it reminded me of how many of the fine dining restaurants on the mainland do business.  We arrived to find valet parking for $4 and entered to find a hostess stand with two gals attending.  One looked up without a smile and asked if we were here for dinner.  No hello, welcome or smile kind of did not sit well but I smiled and gave her my name.  Another girl who was also quite serious grabbed two menus and seated us at a row of tables along the side where you have tables so close to each other that you can hear every word of the conversations to the left and right.  I absolutely hate dining like this.  We quickly learned that the guy next to us was celebrating his 60th birthday with a friend but it was not actually his 60th birthday rather his 62nd but the friend missed the 60th.  They examined each one of our dishes that came to our table and asked how they were.   That said, I would recommend you request a table that is in the middle of the restaurant.  Our waiter was in the same mold as the hostess.  No real smiles and not engaging.  Did not make us feel welcome and seemed to be just going through the motions to pick up a paycheck.  A striking difference to the gal at Hoakalei Country Club that served me lunch this same day.  She was all smiles, vibrant and continually making sure everything was perfect for her guests.  We asked the waiter what appetizers he recommended and he was not much help so we went with what sounded good to us.  The Ahi Nachos ($18) with Avocado Salsa and Rice Cracker Chips and Won Tons was as solid dish.  Great fresh Ahi Tuna and creamy Avocado.  Just did not have that little extra something to set it apart and make me want to order it again.  The Unagi and Butterfish Arancini ($12) sounded pretty amazing but missed the mark for both of us on flavors.  I could only eat one of these fried balls and would not order them again. 
There was a nice Risotto inside but really could not distinguish the Unagi and Butterfish components. The Pickled Local Beet Salad was flawless and delicious.  The Beets and Pickles were so fresh.  This is a very light, fresh and flavorful salad that I would order again.  Loved it.  The Surf-N-Turf ($45) with a Big Island Beef Tenderloin and Kona Abalone with a Miso Black Bean Sauce was a waste of good beef and Abalone.  We ordered the steak medium rare and it was a bit over medium.  The Abalone was way overcooked and like rubber.  I love Kona Abalone and believe me the ones you can buy at Costco that are grilled and seasoned lightly are better.  Its not that the Abalone was overcooked, dry and rubbery but it was covered in the Miso Black Bean Sauce which tasted like Plum Sauce.  The beef was also covered in the sauce which ruined the flavor of the steak.  You could not enjoy the flavor of the meat without getting the strong flavor of the Miso Black Bean Sauce.  They call this a Miso Black Bean Sauce but it tastes like Plum or Hoisin sauce.  We could not finish the steak and I barely could get down one Abalone because of the taste of all the sauce covering everything.  The star of the evening was the Kona Lobster Carbonara ($45).  Now I am not a big fan of fifty dollar pasta dishes but price aside this was a delicious entree.  I loved the fresh made pasta, sauce and bits of lobster.  Kona lobster does not have the bold sweet flavor of a Maine Lobster but it is good.  The fried green stuff on top was totally unnecessary and added nothing to the dish.  Sometimes less is more and I cannot figure out why you would pile more stuff - especially fried green stuff on top of a Pasta Carbonara. Think it was fried Kale?  You cannot visit MW without trying a few desserts.  The pastry chef here has won many awards and recently was nominated for a James Beard Award for pastries.  That is an impressive accomplishment.  We asked our waiter for recommendations and again he was no help.  We tried the MW Candy Bar with Black Sesame Ice Cream ($10.50).  The Candy Bars were hard as a rock on the bottom and did not satisfy my dessert craving.  The Black Sesame Ice Cream just made me ask "why".  Just give me a great Vanilla Ice Cream rather than a grainy green turd.  I mean who wants Sesame Ice Cream?  The Hawaiian Crown Banana Cream Pie ($10.50) was DELICIOUS.  Loved the banana and chocolate flavors going on here.  Each bite made me want more and that is how a dessert should be.  The people sitting next to us looked over as I rolled my eyes in pleasure eating this.  The guy said he was craving banana too and would order it.  So nice to share your dinner with strangers.  O.K. I have been a little critical but very honest about MW.  Bottom line is that I really do want to go back again to try a few more of the dishes.  
Click link below to view another post on MW Restaurant;

MW RESTAURANT ON KAPIOLANI BOULEVARD
SMALL RESTAURANT WITH OPEN KITCHEN
BAR NEAR ENTRANCE
MW APPETIZERS AND SALADS
ENTREES
SPECIALS OF THE DAY
CHEF'S TASTING MENU
PICKLED LOCAL BEET SALAD
UNAGI AND BUTTERFISH ARANCINI
UNAGI AND BUTTERFISH WITH NORI SAUCE
AHI NACHOS
SURF-N-TURF WITH BEEF TENDERLOIN AND KONA ABALONE
KONA LOBSTER CARBONARA
MW DESSERT MENU
MW CANDY BAR
HAWAIIAN CROWN BANANA CREAM PIE

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