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Ono, You Know

Beefing Up on Braised Short Ribs

By Alana Folen Photos By Leah Friel
November 4, 2012

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Beef, it’s what’s for dinner! Yet, a carnivore’s biggest let down is a deceiving slab of onolicious meat that is, oh, so … tough. We’re talking a degree of toughness where your knife can’t even cut through it, and you practically have to saw your way through your entire meal. What a disappointment — and then you lose your appetite. Let’s just end this nightmare now, shall we?

Instead let’s pay homage to three glorious words, “Braised Short Ribs” to put us at ease. Braised Short Ribs are an absolutely succu-lent meat that is usually foolproof and delicious. It provides a strong underlying foundation for a great meal, all you really need to do is jazz it up a bit with spices, sauces and seasonings of your choice. But instead of doing the dirty work myself, this week, I came across three Ono, You Know restaurants that cook up a braised short rib that is out-of-this-world. Be ready for a major kanak attack, as each and every one of these creations are extra hearty and stand in a class all their own. Are you smiling yet? I know I am.

Good to Grill

I’m a carnivore to the bones, so, of course, Good to Grill is a winner in my book, and has been since its inception four years ago at Safeway Center on Kapahulu Avenue. Here at this premier establishment you’ll find your favorite meats and seafood atop the kiawe wood grill — New York steak, prime rib, Kalbi Ribs, Misoyaki Chicken, Fresh Garlic Ahi — you name it, Good to Grill serves it up hot and fresh, and better yet, at affordable prices. The average price for any meal ranges from $6.99 to $17.99.

“We are an exceptionally unique casual restaurant featuring fine dining quality without the fine dining prices,” says director of restaurant operations Patrick Comer.

“Everything is delicious here, but a top seller is our Braised Boneless Short Ribs,” adds Good to Grill owner Jason Kim.

Believe me, this was music to my ears, and I just couldn’t wait to get a glimpse of this mouth-watering dish. And lucky for me the restaurant’s open kitchen allowed me to experience the excitement of the food production here.

Priced at $9.99 for lunch and $10.99 for dinner, Braised Boneless Short Ribs features tear-apart chunks of beef which have been slow braised for several hours and seasoned with a secret proprietary braising sauce that Comer says is similar to a teriyaki sauce.

“We start with only the best meat that is tender and moist, and the sauce brings a sweet and spicy flavor to it — the perfect blend. Garlic, fresh herbs and shoyu also enhance the dish,” he adds.

Lunch and dinner portions of Braised Boneless Short Ribs include two sides as well. Take your pick from white rice, brown rice, garlic mashed potatoes, mixed greens salad or potato salad.

Good to Grill
Safeway Center Kapahulu
888 Kapahulu Ave.
734.7345

Tropics Bar & Grill

Vacation mode hits once you step through the doors of Tropics Bar & Grill. Located at Hilton Hawaiian Village, kamaaina and tourists alike frequent this hot spot on a regular basis for a little rest and relaxation. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tropics Bar & Grill is renowned for its picturesque Diamond Head view and ono island fare prepared by Tropics chef de cuisine Kapo Kealoha.

A most-coveted item on the menu is Tropics’ Slow Braised Boneless Short Ribs ($27.50). Available for dinner only, this entree consists of morsels of tender beef braised to perfection and served atop five-cheese macaroni and cheese, featuring Gruyere, Swiss, cream cheese, Parmesan oregano and local goat cheese. Sauteed vegetables also adorn the dish. Can we say, “Wow!?” I don’t know about you, but I think I just heard my stomach growling.

“This is quite a popular item on the menu,” Kealoha states. “You can eat the beef with a spoon. Basically, this dish is the perfect combination. Everything tastes good separately, but we just took all of that awesomeness and put it all together into an incredible dish.”

I really couldn’t agree more! So, make it a dinner date and head over to Tropics Bar & Grill where a stunning meal awaits, not to mention the super-sized bar, where bartenders can prepare virtually any cocktail your heart desires, be it the resort’s signature Blue Hawaii or classic Mai Tai.

Tropics Bar & Grill
Hilton Hawaiian Village Ground Floor, Alii Tower
949.4321 ext. 42

Hoku’s

The stars align at Hoku’s at The Kahala Hotel & Resort where the marriage of casual elegance and innovative fusion fare, encompassing Hawaiian, European and Asian flavors, shines ever so brightly.

On my most recent visit to this five-star establishment, chef de cuisine Jeremy Shigekane showcased a sought-after menu favorite — Short Rib Tempura ($16). Doesn’t the name alone just work up your appetite? Yum!

At first glance, this intense appetizer seemed more like a full meal because of its grandeur, but no, it’s just a segue into your main course. Short Rib Tempura is spectacular in all regards and presents diners with braised short rib tempura in a kalbi jus accompanied by avocado tempura served with a Peruvian pepper sauce.

Here you have two local favorites in one avant-garde creation, which is nothing short of spectacular.

Dig in! This is definitely a dish to behold, and Hoku’s customer service is top-notch — mere proof as to why Hoku’s exquisite dining room is packed nightly for dinner. Hoku’s is the star of the show.

Hoku’s
The Kahala Hotel & Resort
5000 Kahala Ave.
739.8888