Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Duke's in Waikiki

The lovely Carol and I are on vacation in Hawaii, and last night went to Duke's in Waikiki. Here are a few things we discovered, so you don't have to :).

My niece's husband, who used to work there, explained that it's in the Outrigger Hotel -- 2335 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu (note). As you drive down Kalakaua Av, it's on the right after Seaside Ave. -- it looks to be about half way between Duke's Lane and Kaiulani Ave. Kalakaua Ave is one-way toward Diamond Head in this area (Ala Wai being one-way toward Ewa). I dropped the lovely Carol off on Kalakaua and went to look for parking.

There are probably better/closer parking spots, but I took a left on Kaiulani, left on Kuhio, and right on Seaside. Almost at Ala Wai, I found the Island Colony apartments/hotel and parked in their garage. It's $3 for 30 minutes. Plenty of parking available there. I walked straight down Seaside, crossed Kalakaua, and walked the 250 yards or so to the Outrigger. I was at the hostess stand at 5:00pm, about 15 minutes after leaving my sweetheart there. This was on a Monday night, and we got a table in the dining room (Duke's Canoe something) one row back from the railing.

Something we didn't know is that there's a dinner menu and a bar menu. The bar menu, which you get by sitting in the bar (which may be at beach-level), is lower priced than the regular dinner menu. If the main reason you're going is for the view of the sunset, you might prefer the bar menu.

As I said, we didn't know that, so we took the dinner menu... the entrees (which I think started around $22) include the salad bar. The recommended fresh fish was "opa", a very light fish. My sweetheart took that fish in the recommended macadamia-nut crust. She shared a bite with me, and I thought it was terrific. Like halibut -- as our server said. I had the seafood luau, which was fish, scallops, shrimp, with coconut sauce. Also very good.

We also didn't know what the salad bar would be like. You can make a meal out of the salad bar -- besides freshly tossed caesar salad, other usual salad bar stuff like spinach and green leaf lettuce and beets and carrots and tomatoes, there is steamed rice, rolls, potato salad, black beans, grilled vegetables, corn, macaroni salad... all for $15 I think. I don't know if you can get the same salad bar in the bar area.

When we arrived, a fellow was playing in the bar, quite close to the dining room. It was one voice and one guitar, but he was very good and had quite a variety of stuff: Johnny Cash, the Beatles, some Hawaiian tourist music, some CSNY I think, and some stuff that's too recent for me to know. His name is Ellsworth, and if you have a choice of evenings to go, you should ask when Ellsworth is playing. That is, if you like any music from the mid-'60s to now.

Beautiful view, very friendly service, great food.

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