Burgers and Cheesecake… for the Win!
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BY RACHEL BREIT
Panya Bistro’s got great buns. Panya started as a bakery before evolving into a bistro, so it’s no wonder that baking pastries, sandwich bread and burger buns is still one of its strengths. The burger buns are sprinkled with sesame seeds and made fresh daily. They are generously portioned, soft, chewy and never dry. You could call them voluptuous.
It only makes sense that a great burger bun would be the vehicle for a great burger, such as the signature Panya Burger ($15.95). “This is one of our very popular items under our burger category,” says Kiana Huang, operations manager at Panya. Huang also explains that customers are surprised to see how well Panya’s owners, originally from Hong Kong, are able to succeed in making a real American burger.
Panya Burger is the go-to if you are craving a hearty burger with all the fixings: grilled Angus beef patty, Portobello mushroom, American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup and mayo. Despite all the ingredients, the burger is straightforward. “We try to make it simple and not too out of the box,” Huang explains. The Portobello, an entire cap that is the size of the patty, is grilled with salt and pepper. With regular mayo, regular ketchup and a slice from a ripe tomato, it’s simply a juicy, flavorful burger.
But back to the bun, the foundation of the burger. It’s light fluffiness well complements the substantial ingredients, yet it has enough texture to soak up the burger’s juices and deliver the payload from plate to mouth. The sesame seeds add a tiny crunch and subtle flavor.
After a cheeseburger, a cheese-cake is the logical choice for dessert. While it may seem overindulgent, Huang assures, Japanese Cheesecake ($5.25) is lighter both in texture and in calories. “It’s not heavy at all, even if you have the entire piece,” says Huang. The Japanese recipe yields a cloud-like texture held aloft by sponge cake and a coconut crust. The slice is accompanied by creme anglaise, which can be drizzled over to add a touch of decadent moisture. As with the burger, there is nothing overly fancy about the ingredients in the cheesecake. They are fresh, simple, with no preservatives, and adroitly combined in-house to produce an extraordinary product.
At Panya, you can have your cheeseburger and cheesecake, and eat them too.
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 2054
Monday-Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.