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A Gardenful of Fresh Flavors

Columns Order of the Day

March 3, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Located conveniently in Honolulu on Rycroft Street, Choi’s Garden is budding with exceptional customer service, a wide variety of menu items and flavorful Korean cuisine. The restaurant, which opened in 2000, is popular among locals because of its yakiniku option. Yakiniku, meaning “grilled meat,” refers to the do-it-yourself style of cooking vegetables or bite-sized meat over gas/electric grills.

  • Two-person Yakiniku Combination ($39.99)
  • Seafood Tofu Soup ($13.95)
  • Kal Bi Chim ($18.99, Easter special)
  • Kal Bi Tang ($11.99, Easter special)
  • An assortment of side dishes
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“Yakiniku style is a fun way to cook,” says hostess Temi Chang. “Some people don’t know what’s inside of meats (they’re eating), but this way, they can see the meats are really fresh. Our meats are good for yakiniku … we always try to serve the best, highest quality meats.”

The two-person yakiniku combination ($39.99) is one of the most frequently ordered options at Choi’s Garden. For this combination — only offered Monday through Wednesday — customers can try a variety of meats, including sliced seasoned beef tongue, marinated short ribs, seasoned prime pork belly and seasoned brisket.

“If you don’t know much about yakiniku style, you should try this (combination),” advises Chang.

Other popular dishes at Choi’s Garden include Seafood Tofu Soup ($13.95) and Kal Bi Tang ($13.99).

“Kal Bi Tang is a kal bi soup … it has the whole big bone short ribs in it,” explains Chang.

For its Easter special, Choi’s Garden is offering customers a discount on Kal Bi Tang (discounted price $11.99) as well as Kal Bi Chim ($23.99; discounted price $18.99) from now through April 31.

“Kal Bi Chim is steamed kal bi; you can make it hot, spicy or regular,” says Chang.

While Choi’s Garden is well known for its yakiniku, the eatery’s menu has many other options. Chang explains that the restaurant is known for its Healthy Stone Pot Rice combinations as well.

“(The combinations) come with the healthy rice, stone pot and you have choices of Pacific Saury Fish ($12.99), Kal Bi ($17.96) or Pollack Fish ($18.96),” she says. “You also have one choice from three different kinds of soups — miso soup, kim chee soup or soft tofu soup.”

For customers coming to Choi’s Garden for lunch, a lunch special is offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers can select from popular items such as Bi Bim Bap ($9.99) — a variety of vegetables in a rice bowl — and Man Doo Kook Soo ($9.99), or homemade dumplings in a beef soup with noodles. Customers over 65 years old receive a special 10 percent off lunch discount on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Although the eatery has existed for more than a decade, Chang says that many locals are not as familiar with the shabu shabu and Jun Kol options on the restaurant’s menu. Shabu shabu refers to the Japanese dish comprising vegetables and thin slices of meat cooked at a table in a simmering pot of broth, while Jun Kol is translated as a big pot of stew.

Shabu shabu options include beef shabu shabu ($44.90) and seafood shabu shabu ($44.90), while Hae Mul Jun Kol ($39.99) — large seafood stew with veggies — and Kim Chee Jun Kol ($39.99), or large kim chee stew with veggies, exist under the Jun Kol category. Jun Kol dishes can feed two to three people.

Large dining groups can often be found at Choi’s Garden because of the yakiniku option, and with graduation season approaching in May, Chang recommends the eatery for upcoming parties.

“We have a private room and there’s no charge,” she says. “There were a lot of people who reserved it for graduation (parties) last year.”

Choi’s Garden

  • Where
    • 1303 Rycroft Street
    • Honolulu, HI 96814
  • Call
    • (808) 596-7555
  • Hours
    • Open Daily
    • 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Website