Hit the Beach for a Good Catch
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One typically doesn’t think about carefully created cuisine coming out of a beach concession stand. Burgers, fries and plate lunches loaded with starch and gravy are what we have come to expect. That’s no longer the case.
Barefoot Beach Cafe at San Souci Beach in Waikiki has changed all perception of what concession food can look and taste like.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the food comes on koa-style platters. Sure, the takeout boxes remain for dining on the go, but when eating beachside at the shaded tables, your breakfast, lunch or dinner comes adorned with luau leaves, flowers and carefully laid out presentations. Remember, we eat with our eyes first.
Breakfast starts at 7 a.m. daily and features much more than scrambled eggs and sausage. The Grilled Ahi Eggs Benedict ($12.95) is excellent, as Fresh ahi is served on a toasted English Muffin with poached egg and a creamy hollandaise sauce. Presented with either breakfast potatoes, rice or a choice of white or whole wheat bread, it’s up-scale dining for a plate lunch price.
Surf and Turf is all about the Steak and Shrimp Plate ($14.95) at the cafe. This combo plate begins with top sirloin that is grilled in a garlic butter sauce and paired with shrimp sauteed in a mixture both sweet and spicy. The meal is finished with a side green salad with tomato and red onions, and furikake-coated rice. If you’re looking for a selection that looks as good as it tastes, this may be the one.
If a lighter meal is what you’re after, Barefoot Beach Cafe offers several options, including a fantastic Sweet and Sour Snapper ($12.95) and the Hawaiian Barbecue Chicken Salad ($10.95). Go with a friend and order both.
The snapper is a full fillet that is panko-crusted, fried and served with black sesame seeds. Then it’s topped with the cafe’s signature salsa made with red onion, pineapple and red bell pepper. Like the Steak and Shrimp plate, the snapper comes with salad and rice. As much as I love a good steak plate, this may be even better. The snapper is perfectly crispy and wonderfully light and the salsa provides biting freshness that improves everything it touches.
The Hawaiian Barbecue Chicken Salad is a heaping helping of lettuce, tomato and red onions topped with sliced chicken thighs. The chicken is marinated for 48 hours and barbecued, producing a light smoky flavor that complements the creamy base salad.
If you have yet to visit Barefoot Beach Cafe or think it’s a tourist-only destination, think again. Keeping local customers in mind, the cafe has a special keiki menu ($6.95) that has everything young diners like and specialty smoothies that are bound to please. Smoothies with more adult flavor profiles also are available. The new Ohana Night Wednesdays features live music by Paul Wilcox at 5:30, just in time for a sunset dinner that won’t set you back.
Barefoot Beach Cafe
San Souci Beach
2699 Kalakaua Ave., Waikiki
Open daily, breakfast: 7 a.m.-2 p.m. lunch and dinner: 2-9 p.m.