A “Tail” of Lobster Bliss
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When in a bout of hunger, there’s nothing worse than salivating over a meal that you can’t quite get your utensils on. I recently experienced this after moving back home from Massachusetts, where I was spoiled with fresh Atlantic lobster for four years while attending Boston University. Even though I was more than elated to welcome Spam musubis and kalua pig back into my life, I hadn’t been able to kick my deep yearning for high-quality lobster.
My lucky day came when I stopped into JJ Bistro & French Pastry for one of its infamously delicious desserts, only to realize that the eatery’s lunch and dinner menu features numerous lobster dishes. After going to town on them, it’s safe to say my cravings have been completely satisfied.
Located in Kaimuki, JJ’s is known for its Euro-Asian brand of cuisine rooted in a mixture of Western and South East Asian flavors. Much to my benefit, Lobster Tail Pad Thai ($18.95, one tail; $29.95, two tails) is a unique and utterly tantalizing incarnation of this cooking style.
The lobster itself is cooked in a house-made broth, which makes it beautifully tender. It is then placed on a bed of rice noodles and topped with a citrusy pad-thai sauce.
“Our pad thai is very different from most other restaurants because we have a special sauce we call XO Citrus Sauce,” says owner and chef JJ Luangkhot. “It has dried shrimp paste with citrus, and it’s really very tasty because you get a little tangy flavor.”
When hit with such a bright burst, the pad thai is tasty without being overpowering. “We have our citrus sauce on top of the lobster so it brings more taste, but we don’t want to damage the flavor of the lobster itself, so we don’t put too much on it,” adds Luangkhot.
Another dish that sent me into noming bliss was Double J Lobster Tail with garlic white wine beurre blanc sauce ($18.95, one tail; $29.95, two tails; $39.95, part of four-course menu). You can’t go wrong with this one because it unites lobster with its soul mate — butter. In fact, JJ’s velvety butter-based sauce is accented with roasted garlic and white wine for a heavenly marriage of flavors. Fettuccine pasta and a vegetable medley complete the meal.
According to Luangkhot, using premium lobster tails from Maine is a priority, and with every bite, the freshness of his seafood is apparent. What a relief, my food crisis has been averted!
JJ Bistro & French Pastry
3447 Waialae Ave., Honolulu
Daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.