Posts Tagged ‘review

02
Mar
10

Restaurant Review: GoShiGo

GoShiGo: Udon and Dining Bar

903 Keeaumoku St.

Honolulu, HI 96814

(808) 942-0545

11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Mon. – Sat.

Style: Udon

The Stamina Vol. II - I guess it gives more stamina than Vol. I?

Getting the Good: The udon is fresh.  They are a good consistency, chewy, but not tough. The noodles are made by a master, and sometimes you get the chance to see him make it. The dishes are inexpensive and filling. The atmosphere matches that of a local, cozy noodle place in a Japanese neighborhood.

Battling the Bad: As with anything else in Honolulu there is limited parking. While there are some simple dishes, I think that the main emphasis of GoShiGo are styles that are not typical of udon noodles. Some of the dishes may be fun, but too cluttered and interferes with the freshness and great texture of the noodles themselves. The menu itself is odd. It has some items that do not necessarily work well with udon.

Bottom line: I love good noodles, and I definitely think GoShiGo has good noodles. However, some of the dishes are hit or miss. I think if the parking is too crowded I would be inclined to go somewhere else and try again later in the week. I would probably give the place (if I had a rating system) a 2 1/2 out 5.

Go when Craving Udon, Don’t Go When Crowded

GoShiGo: Udon and Dining Bar replaced the prior noodle house, Taishoken Ramen. For the most part the eatery layout remains the same, but the noodles are different. The noodles here are udon noodles. Udon is a thick Japanese wheat-flour noodle. Typically, served with a mild broth or sauce the noodles go great with a variety of ingredients. In addition, the noodles lend themselves to be serving hot or cold depending on the season or your mood.

I had the “Stamina Vol. II” noodles, which is a cold udon. It comes with egg, tempura vegetable hash, cooked cold beef, and yamaimo (mountain yam). On the first bite, I definitely could tell the noodles were fresh and they had a good consistency. I tend to like my udon noodles slightly chewy, but not tough. They should also be coated with a good sauce or broth, but the noodle should be able to stand out.

While I liked the “Stamina Vol. II”, I do not think I would necessarily order it again. I felt as the meal went on all the items in my udon bowl became too cluttered and mixed. This began to muddle the flavor of the noodles, and made it harder to eat. I think next time I go I will try something simpler, but that brings me to my next point. I think that if you don’t mind new styles with udon or something not typically Japanese you will like it here. The menu itself has appetizers that I do not think would necessarily go with udon noodles. For example, they had lumpia (a Filipino spring roll). While the lumpia was good I don’t think it is the best. I think there are other things that would go better with the udon.

The lumpia.

I think that is my overall feeling: I would only go to GoShiGo if I was in the mood to go. Do not get me wrong it is good, but I think for me there are other places I would choose to go if I could not find parking immediately. GoShiGo unfortunately inherits a similar problem that many establishments on the island must contend with, the lack of parking. GoShiGo is near several other popular places that use the same parking lot.

I think for a good to decent meal it is worth going, but beyond that I don’t think it is worth driving around the lot or looking for street parking unless you are craving udon noodles.

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01
Mar
10

Restaurant Review: Sweet Home Cafe

Sweet Home Café
2334 S King St. Honolulu, HI 96826
(808) 947-3707
Hours: Mon-Sun. 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

Style: Taiwanese Hot Pot

A bubbling pot of goodness.

Getting the Good: 1) It’s inexpensive – for a family of five our bill was about $65, and my family eats a lot; 2) tasty choice of homemade broths and dipping sauces; and 3) fast, “Aunty” Susan definitely has a system down to get the food out in a timely manner, but . . .

Battling the Bad: 1) the wait because Sweet Home is quite popular you will wait, and wait, my family arrived at 5:30 p.m. on a Sunday and was not seated till 6:20 p.m.; 2) overwhelming/crowded, I think for people not used to Asian-style Hot Pot it can be overwhelming as the small restaurant space is cramped and noisy, moreover you have fourteen choices of broths, and then have to get your own dipping sauces and vegetables at the counter and refrigerator while dodging other patrons and tables.  “Aunty” Susan informs me that they are planning on opening another restaurant, so that would definitely alleviate the pressure on their one location because the wait time can seem ridiculous when you are starving.

Bottom line: Save a seat somewhere for me at this crowded hot spot, as I’m coming Home again for tasty broth and delicious dipping sauces.

The Long of It

The Home that Gives you a lot of Simple Tasty Choices

I’ve never been to Taiwan, but I’ve always wanted to go there.  It might be due to my interest in Asian affairs from when I studied politics and history for undergrad, but I now know there is an additional reason: if there are establishments like Sweet Home Café over there I definitely want to eat my way across the island.

Sweet Home Café is a Taiwanese-style hot pot restaurant located in the small complex on King Street, across from Honolulu State Stadium Park. Sweet Home Café is homely. It is not elaborate or complex. It is simple and delicious.  If you know what Asian hot pot or shabu-shabu is, then Sweet Home is just that and do not expect anything more or less. It is everything you expect when you come home to get a home cooked meal. It’s just that this Home gives you a lot of flavorful choices.

What to put in first?

First, you will select the type of broth you will cook your meats and vegetables in. There are fourteen types, guaranteed to suit almost anyone’s palette for Asian-styled broths. Next, you will choose your meats from four types. I suggest getting a little of each unless you do not like lamb or beef tongue. Then you will go to the refrigerator and counter to select your vegetables and dipping sauces. Your bill is tabulated based on color-coded plates of meat and vegetables that you get, similar to kaiten (“revolving”) sushi restaurants.

I ordered the House special, but I discovered it was made from shellfish, which I am allergic to, but the owner and manager, “Aunty” Susan was kind of enough to complement me another one. I enjoyed my broth, it was meaty and tasty, but typically what happens at hot pot places is either the broth is simple chicken stock and the meat and vegetables you cook does not retain any of that flavor or the broth is so laden with salt or MSG and just becomes a salty piece of meat or vegetable. Here the homemade-style broths are enough to coat the meat and vegetables and then mixes nicely with the mostly homemade dipping sauces. The selection of sauces is one of the best parts of this meal: it’s is all about choice.

Sweet Home has about twelve different sauces to dip your broth-soaked meats and vegetables in. They have the typical Asian flavors of sesame and miso, but what is better are the homemade ones. Their homemade Asian-chili sauce had more punch and fire in it than ones find in stores. Nothing beats a sauce mixed to a personal family recipe. Incidentally, I think Sweet Home is appropriately named. Susan informed me that her parents had been doing this for 30 years back in Taiwan. Her father wanted someone to carry on the tradition, and that is what she has done. This place is a nice blend of home and family. My dinner experience was marked by an impromptu singing of “Happy Birthday” not once, but twice for fellow patrons.

To round out this meal the restaurant complements (yes, free!) a bowl of Taiwanese-styled shaved ice. It is almost an analogy of the hot pot you just had, but instead of vegetables and meats, you have a swirling sea of shaved ice, tapioca, condensed milk, and other flavors found in cold Asian treats. It was an enjoyable meal from start to finish, but it doesn’t end there. They will package your leftover broth for you to take with you and enjoy at your own home.

More plates please!




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