- 1145 12th Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816-3754
- (808) 732-9469
- Mon-Thurs: 5:30-9:00 Fri-Sat: 5:30-10:00 Sun: Closed
- Style: Contemporary American Cooking
Getting the Good: 12th Ave Grill has a wide variety of foods prepared in novel and interesting ways sure to please people who want to eat something not so standard or classical. There are some standout dishes that should keep people coming back time after time.
Battling the Bad: Some of the dishes are kind of bland and are not as tasty as some of the other dishes. In a word it is: uneven. In addition, if you go with a small party and order several small and large dishes the kitchen seems to bring them all out at the same time.
Bottom line: 12th Ave Grill does certainly try to do an extensive survey of American cuisine, and by “American” I mean a nation of immigrants. There is a variety of combinations and flavors that will be familiar, but combined in new and refreshing mixes. However, some of the dishes stand far out ahead of others, while others having unique combination the flavors themselves are muddled. However, 12th Ave Grill does succeed in being a place you want to stop by for old favorites, but see what’s new. It’s like visiting your neighbor.
12th Ave Grill Full Length Review
When HGC ate at 12th Ave Grill I had not been there in several years. I remember going with my family and enjoying my meal, but the restaurant did not leave an indelible impression on me. 12th Ave Grill was a fond a memory, but not a vivid one. However, one HGC member introduced me to 12th Ave Grill’s Smoked Ahi, a wonderful spread, which the restaurant sells for you to take back to your fridge and spread on crudités in the middle of the night.
Therefore, I was expecting a meal of various flavors in nice tasty bites. The thing is that evening 12th Ave Grill offered a set of some tasty bites and some bites that were average. For example, we ordered the Smoked Ahi Ravioli and the Baked Mac & Cheese (both under the “Small Plates” section of the menu). Now, I found myself loving the Mac & Cheese, as it was fluffy, but gooey at the same time. However, their famous Smoked Ahi did not go well with the Ravioli. The Ravioli felt more like a burnt potsticker and did not compliment the Smoked Ahi.
We also ordered a salad, the fish of the day, and the roasted leg of lamb. While there were flavors there that were good, they weren’t above average. They weren’t the combination of non-traditional flavors I was expecting.
In addition, what also hurt the dishes was when they were served. Even though we decided to share all the “Small Plates” and “Large Plates” we all expected some breathing room between each dish. Instead for some reason the kitchen decided to produce all of these dishes at the same time. So by the time we cleared the salad, Smoked Ahi Ravioli, and Baked Mac & Cheese our fish and lamb were cold, thus subduing their flavors.
It was not all bad. The cheese selection (albeit a little messy and crowded on the platter) was robust and varied. There was bound to be a cheese you would like on the plate, plus a variety of fruits and nuts that complimented the cheeses. Lastly, dessert was great. I selected the Afogado and the mix of gelato, cookie crumbles, and espresso in a fountain glass, sundae-style, was a good closer.
Overall, I would say try out 12th Ave Grill, but stick to the basics. I admire the restaurant’s choice in continually experimenting with flavors because you never get to new awesome creations without trying.
However, if you want a memory that won’t fade like with the lamb and fish of the day, then go with things that will leave a tasty impression like the Baked Mac & Cheese, the Smoked Ahi (if it is NOT in ravioli form, as of this writing they have changed the Smoked Ahi dish), and the Afogado. If you do, then you will have a warm memory of a local grill that should be checked on from time to time.