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Getting Primed for Heavenly Prime Rib

Columns Ono, You Know

February 6, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Isuspect many of you foodies are already contemplating Valentine’s Day dinner ideas. And if you’re one step ahead of the rest, the reservations have already been made and the flowers have already been ordered. Good for you!

But while most women adore roses, I am not one of them. I mean, don’t get me wrong — they’re beautiful and all, but they die in the end. Then what?

Instead, the way to my heart is through magnificent cuisine — more specifically, chocolate-covered strawberries and succulent slices of prime rib (not paired together, of course). I can’t even begin to explain how much I love this “carnivore-licious” dish. Whether it’s paired with creamy horseradish and au jus sauce, or just simply served tender — it’s pure love!

So if prime rib also is what gets your heart thumping, I bring to you some “ono, you know” establishments that offer the best in town.

Kai Market

  • Get ready, foodies. The author is prepared to share slices of Kai Market's tender Alaea Sea Salt Crusted Prime Rib with Hawaii's hungry.
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Upscale island cuisine is offered nightly at Kai Market located at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. Having opened its doors in August 2009, Kai market’s fabulous cuisine lies in the talented hands of executive chef Darren Demaya and his culinary team. Together they prepare a variety of dishes to be enjoyed by guests as a part of Kai Market’s Seafood Nights, Paniolo Nights and Plantation Nights. And although buffet items differ from night to night, one thing remains constant — the Alaea sea salt-crusted prime rib. Slow roasted for three and a half hours, the prime rib is juicy and tender, and better yet it’s available on a nightly basis.

“It’s one of our most popular buffet items,” Demaya says. “We use a certified Black Angus meat. It’s more fatty, it’s more tender, it has more flavor. It’s a great quality of meat.”

Personally, I prefer my prime rib with a helping of au jus sauce and creamy horseradish, so when Demaya revealed to me the secret behind its au jus sauce, it was music to my ears.

“Our au jus sauce is a little darker. We simmer the bones for a long period of time so it adds a really nice flavor to the prime rib,” he explains.

And, boy, was it melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Each slice is ultimate perfection and, better yet, you can always go back for more.

“Our main focus here at Kai Market is bringing the idea of the melting pot of the plantation days to our table today,” Demaya explains.

“We’ve been greatly influenced by many cultures like Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Portuguese, etc. We feature a wide variety of dishes from those plantation days, and it’s a wide spread of cultural cuisine, so you get a little bit of everything here,” he adds.

Kai Market offers its Seafood Nights menu Friday and Saturday and its Paniolo Nights menu Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday for $55 per adult and $24.50 for keiki ages 6-12. On Monday and Wednesday nights, check out the regular menu at $51 per adult and $24.50 for keiki ages 6-12.

Don’t forget to ask about kamaaina and kupuna discounts as well.

Kai Market
Sheraton Waikiki Hotel
2255 Kalakaua Ave.
(808) 931-4600
View the Map

The Willows

  • The Willows serves up Garlic & Hawaiian Salt Crusted Prime Rib daily at its famous carving station.
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A peaceful dining experience awaits guests here at The Willows, so it’s no surprise why both tourists and locals alike frequent the restaurant to sample some of the finest in local cuisine, while taking a break from their increasingly hectic schedules.

The dinner buffet is offered daily for $34.95 and the lunch buffet is open Monday-Friday for $19.95. Executive chef Jay Matsukawa prepares 40 to 50 items daily, including local favorites such as kalua pig, poi, island curry and more. Yet, whatever you do, don’t skip the carving station, which features Garlic & Hawaiian Salt-Crusted Prime Rib offered for both lunch and dinner.

“It’s a garlic and rosemary-crusted prime rib that we actually season overnight, then we slow roast it for about two-and-a-half hours,” Matsukawa says. And, believe me, it’s worth the wait, as every morsel of meat is like pure gold! No joke!

Matsukawa also recommends pairing the succulent prime rib with a blend of au jus sauce and creamy horseradish to boot.

“The au jus sauce helps to bring out the taste and add moisture to the beef. We also do a creamy horseradish, which is a combination of sour cream and horseradish,” he says. “I like the horseradish because I like the bite it has to it.”

I couldn’t agree more, the horseradish definitely brings a kick to this incredible dish.

The Willows
901 Hausten St.
(808) 952-9200
View the Map

Ocean House

  • Slow Roasted Prime Rib is prepared in a variety of ways at the Ocean House, located inside the Outrigger Reef Hotel.
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Fine dining served with casual elegance can be found just steps away from the water at the beautiful Ocean House, beachfront at Outrigger Reef Hotel. Locals and tourists alike are welcome to enjoy the fabulous flavors of top-notch island cuisine especially prepared by executive chef Craig Yasaka.

According to operations manager David Nagaishi, Ocean House specializes in cuisine straight from the sea, as the seafood and fish are superb. However, I can’t go without saying that Ocean House specialty Slow-Roasted Prime Rib Au Jus is just as divine in its own right.

Choose from three cuts of this tender meat, including the Ocean House Cut ($28.50), Lite Cut ($24.50) and the Alii Cut ($34.50). The Ocean House Cut is a hearty portion of juicy, tender beef and is suitable for the average diner, and the Lite Cut offers a smaller cut for a lighter appetite. However, if you’re crazy about prime rib like me, you’ll cave in and opt for the Alii Cut, a generous portion for a king- (or in my case, queen-) size appetite!

“We actually cook the prime rib for about 12 hours and season it with Hawaiian salt, a dash of pepper and a few extra seasonings — It’s very simple,” Yasaka says. “It’s one of our more popular items.”

Chef Craig’s Pulehu Prime Rib ($29.50) and Blackened Prime Rib ($29.50) are for those diners who wish to stray away from the original prime rib for a bit and give their taste buds a little something extra. The Pulehu Prime Rib is grilled with garlic and fresh herbs, and the thought of the Blackened Prime Rib already has my mouth watering. Imagine the ultimate slice of prime rib pan-seared in an iron skillet with Cajun spices and served with a sweet creole sauce. For you carnivores, yes, this is proof that such a thing does exist — well, that is, before it hits your belly, then you’re left to savor the memories.

All prime rib entrees are served with traditional English peas, creamy horse-radish and exquisite Maui onion mashed potatoes. Life really can’t get any better than this!

Ocean House
Outrigger Reef Hotel
2169 Kalia Road
(808) 923-2277
View the Map