Kincaid’s Celebrating American Classics

Cover Story Features

September 17, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Craving authentic American favorites, with remarkable surf and turf selections to match? Kincaid’s presents guests with a dining experience that remains unsurpassed. This classic American grill was founded close to 30 years ago, and with various locations nationwide, including establishments in Phoenix, Ariz.; Redondo Beach, Calif.; Norfolk, Va. and here in the Islands, Kincaid’s has become a part of many family traditions.

  • Chef Eric shows off his talents in the kitchen.
  • Grilled Ahi with Mango Rice Cake ($22 lunch, $25 dinner)
  • Fresh Smoked Salmon ($7)
  • Seafood Etouffee ($29)
  • Grilled Garlic-Herb Lamb Chops ($16.50)
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Dining Out recently caught up with Kincaid’s Hawaii executive chef Eric Goodhew and assistant manager Janice Lono at its Ward Warehouse location. There, we sat in the large, yet intimate dining room, punctuated by hardwood accents and a full bar, to discuss the journey of this premier family establishment and the amazing cuisine that entices palates from all over the world on a daily basis.

DO: In this day and age, it’s exciting that Kincaid’s has been able to survive in the market for as long as it has. Restaurants Unlimited Inc. owns Kincaid’s, but you folks, along with general manager Jennifer Hoss and the rest of the Kincaid’s Hawaii ohana, have been able to make this establishment a household name for many Hawaii residents. What do you offer your clientele?

Goodhew: We specialize in American cuisine and we have a great deal of favorites on our menu. We even have grits from the South and we have very nice USDA prime-aged steaks from the Midwest. We do use a lot of local products as well — local produce and local breads made right here on Oahu — seafood and fresh fish. For example, we obtain our fresh ahi, opakapaka and opah from Oahu and the Big Island. We also take pride in our New Bedford Bay scallops, in addition to Canadian Maine lobster. We offer a bit of everything.

I think we’re known as the place to be when it comes to celebrations and other special occasions. A lot of people come here to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and during the holidays we’re definitely booked with a lot of large parties — it’s a busy time for us!

Lono: Reservations are highly recommended whenever you dine here.

DO: That’s fantastic! What are some signature items here?

Goodhew: Signature items include our Grilled Garlic Herb Lamb Chops ($16.50) complete with silky mashed potatoes; Braised Boneless Chuck Short Ribs ($23.50), that’s 24-hour red wine marinated and served with roasted wild mushrooms, silky Yukon potatoes, herb grenolata and natural jus. Those with an affinity to seafood should take note of our Seafood Etouffee ($29), consisting of jumbo scallops, black tiger prawns, fresh mussels, clams, andouille sausage, braised greens and cheese grits.

Lono: I’d also definitely recommend the Rock Salt Roasted Prime Rib ($39). It’s really, really good!

Goodhew: Yes, it’s slow-cooked for three-and-a-half hours, rock salt-encrusted and then cooked for another three-and-a-half hours. When it’s taken out of the oven we trim the fat and then re-crust it with an herb crust. It’s then finally served with fresh au jus and horseradish, silky mashed potatoes and brocollini. It’s available for dinnertime only.

Lono: For dessert, I’d recommend the Creme Brulee and Key Lime Pie.

DO: Divine cuisine is a given here. What is something unique about the restaurant that people would be surprised to know?

Lono: Possibly that our Happy Hour is really great. It’s longer than a lot of other bars and restaurants. Happy Hour is from 3 to 7 p.m. and again from 9 p.m. to closing. We always garner a good crowd for Happy Hour and during lunchtime we have a lot of businesspeople dine here.

Goodhew: Yes, if people are in a hurry, especially during lunchtime, we do offer lunches within time constraints.

DO: What are some specialties on the Happy Hour menu?

Goodhew: Our Fresh Smoked Salmon ($7) is lightly smoked and adorned with capers, preserved lemons and served with a bit of stone ground mustard and cucumber chips. It’s a great seller. Also, we have our Seasonal Oysters ($7.50), featuring West Coast oysters, usually from Evening Cove, and that’s served with a red wine mignonette sauce and our original cocktail sauce. We have $4 drink specials as well, showcasing drinks like Green Apple Drop, Cranberry Mojito, Pomegranate Margarita, Sycamore Lane Cabernet Sauvignon, Sycamore Lane Chardonnay and all draft beers.

DO: Kincaid’s also has an expansive bar that’s great for Happy Hour or just hanging out with friends. Do you folks offer wine pairings as well?

Lono: Wine pairings aren’t depicted on the menu, but our servers are knowledgable and have attended classes and have participated in wine tours — so they are very well-equipped at suggesting wines for our guests.

DO: Kincaid’s has a nationwide menu, but is there anything special on the menu that is specific to Hawaii?

Goodhew: We do run a Fresh menu where we implement our local fish and other local items. A favorite off that menu is the Grilled Ahi with Mango Rice Cake ($22 lunch, $25 dinner) served with a mango-wasabi-lemon vinaigrette and cilantro salad. Other items off the Fresh menu worth trying are the Asiago-Almond Crusted Mahi Mahi and Seared Opakapaka with Thai Curry Sauce, to name a few. We’re also pushing to get a larger local section on our menu — that local feel is important to us.

DO: How often does the company add new items on the menu?

Goodhew: We actually rolled out a new menu last September, but we just recently revised it again. For instance, the Braised Boneless Chuck Short Ribs is a new item that we brought in. The Sides & Small Plates section of the menu also is a new section that we implemented to the menu where you can find our Grilled Garlic-Herb Lamb Chops, Chili-Smoked Tiger Prawns, Smoked Sirloin Chateau, Crispy Asparagus and more. Some seafood items are new, such as our fresh clams, mussels and scallops.

DO: Chef Eric, it’s clear that you love what you do. What’s your culinary background?

Goodhew: Well, I’ve been in the business for about 15 years — eight of them with Restaurants Unlimited Inc. I did get my schooling at the Art Institute of Seattle and started as a pantry cook with Restaurants Unlimited Inc. Since then I’ve been able to work my way through the company, and I’ve been with Kincaid’s Hawaii for almost two years now — it’s been great!

DO: As a chef, what do you think you personally bring to Kincaid’s?

Goodhew: I love the ingredients of the Pacific Rim, and I love to incorporate the ingredients and influences of Hawaii, including the fresh fruits and vegetables that we do get here, and the fresh fish as well — I really like the fresh fish.

DO: Besides the delicious food and drink, what can diners look forward to here?

Lono: Well, we do have our Eat, Drink and Earn Club Card that we offer to our patrons. It’s a free card that enables you to earn one point for every $1 you spend at the restaurant and all other Restaurants Unlimited Inc. establishments. Points can then be redeemed for dining credits, restaurant gift cards, VISA gift cards and luxury vacations. And just in recent periods we’ve had more than 2,000 people register for this card. What’s exciting is from now until Sept. 20 patrons will earn double points when they come in to dine with us. It’s a great deal and it’s absolutely free to sign up.

DO: Kincaid’s has a lot of loyal customers. Would you say you folks cater to mostly locals, or do you have tourists who frequent the restaurant as well?

Goodhew: We actually have a good mix of both. Of course we have the local crowd, but then we have those who visit the island once or twice a year and they still enjoy coming to Kincaid’s. Kincaid’s loyal customers will find us wherever we are in the U.S.

DO: What’s your vision for Kincaid’s in the next 10 years?

Lono: To still be standing (laughs)!

Goodhew: We hope that the great guests that we have right now keep coming back. They are the ones that make this restaurant what it is, by always returning to enjoy our food and drink!

Kincaid’s

  • Where
    • Ward Warehouse
    • 1050 Ala Moana Boulevard
    • Honolulu, HI 96814
  • Call
    • (808) 591-2005
  • Hours
    • Open daily
    • 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Lunch)
    • 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. (Dinner)
  • Notes
    • Happy Hour times in story.