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Order of the Day

Drive Inn Shares Barbecue Flavors Across the Island

By Michelle Lee Photos By Nathalie Walker
October 13, 2013

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For more than 10 years, locals from all corners of the island have been making the commute to Pearl City’s Palisades Drive Inn for its flavorful barbecue favorites. Starting this month, the community welcomes a second location for the successful restaurant in Kaneohe. “In the past, we have delivered a lot to the Windward side and many of our customers come from here,” says Katrina Zhu, owner of Palisades Drive Inn. “In a way, it already feels like home.”

Known for its sumptuous local-style comfort food made with a hint of Chinese influence from Canton, where Zhu is originally from, Palisades prides itself on using labor-intensive cooking techniques to ensure fresh, high-quality ingredients. “Rather than make our dishes in bulk to be used throughout the week, we cook in small batches to capture maximum flavor and freshness,” says Zhu.

Case in point: One of the restaurant’s most popular dishes is the Oriental Chicken Salad ($7.95), a refreshing mix of romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and boneless barbecue chicken with wonton chips. “It has the perfect balance of flavors with the wonton chips that give the salad a nice crunchy texture,” says Zhu. “We also include our very own house dressing made with sesame seeds, sugar and vinegar.”

Access to fresh catch at the daily fish market has helped keep the menu’s Garlic Salmon ($8.95) and Garlic Ahi ($9.25) two of the most popular sellers. “Even though fresh fish may be expensive to get on our end, we keep portions big and only use sashimi-grade quality,” says Zhu.

Another favorite is the eatery’s classic Chicken Katsu (starting at $5.75), which is made to order and never frozen. “Most places will freeze the katsu after breading it, but we do everything in one continuous process,” says Zhu. “The meat comes out crispy on the outside yet tender on the inside and full of flavor.”

In addition to individual plates, Palisades boasts an impressive catering menu including various pre-set course menus. “We designed our catering options strategically to fit the needs of any party, whether it be a small group or a 70-person gathering,” says Zhu. “Our portions are always generous and include a nice variety of entrees such as noodles, rice, poultry, seafood and salad.”

During this month only at the new location, Palisades offers diners a special featuring Garlic Chicken or Chicken Katsu with a 24-ounce soft drink for $6.99. “We really want to embrace the community with open arms,” says Zhu. “Our priority is to give our customers the greatest value of high-quality food, so that they feel good about coming back.”

Palisades Drive Inn

45-1151 Kamehameha Hwy., Kaneohe
236-4888
Open daily, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.