The Drive for Some Great Appetizers
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Jini Ryu had no idea what she was getting when she opened Newtown Drive Inn a month ago. Because the restaurant was located adjacent to the Newtown Driving Range in Aiea, she assumed her customers would be hungry golfers and the occasional lunch and dinner guest. To her surprise, the spot has been a community gathering place for some time, and those people have continued to make the restaurant a busy three-meal stop after she added some of her mother’s own Korean recipes.
Customer Oi Williamson of Kapolei says he doesn’t get to the popular driving and dining spot as much as he used to, but when he does, it’s the Kal-bi ribs ($8.50) that bring him back. The Spicy Chicken Wings ($7.75) also comes highly recommended.
Ryu first marinates the wings in white wine and then uses a dry rub of garlic powder, black pepper, salt and mochi powder. After frying, she tops the wings with her secret spicy sauce. The result is a crispy appetizer that has a sweet and tangy flavor with just a bit of heat. A small side salad helps clean the palate between bites, and the two scoops of rice turns the appetizer into a meal.
Also popular with the finger-food set is the Popcorn Chicken ($6.50) that is coated in Korean pancake powder and double fried to ensure a crispy crust while keeping the inside moist. Try it with ranch dressing or Ryu’s homemade sweet shoyu mix for added flavor.
Sitting in cool surroundings while being serenaded by the ping of golf balls being struck at various levels of success can make anyone hungry for Edamame ($4.50) and the Fried Mandoo ($6.50). The Edamame is great for sharing, and the mandoo is crispy, light and goes perfect with Ryu’s special shoyu.
Newtown Drive Inn
- Newtown Golf Driving Range
- 98-330 Kaahele Street
- Aiea, HI 96701
- (808) 487-3363
- Monday – Friday
- 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Saturday – Sunday
- 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.