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This Epic is Poetry

By Andy Beth Miller Photos By Nathalie Walker
April 20, 2014

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One of the first things I was ever taught by my favorite college professor — a lesson I will never forget — was the weight and power of words. Potent and poised for impact, one single word has the capacity to tell an entire story, paint a complete picture — even change the whole world.

Merriam Webster defines the word “epic” as “extending beyond the usual or ordinary, especially in size or scope.” In the literary world, one thinks of the Iliad or the Odyssey — dramatic tales of exciting and ancient quests filled with intensity and intrigue.

Yes, epic, a weighty word indeed. So when the owners of Restaurant Epic christened their eatery with its newborn name, they knew they had set the bar high. Join me as I journey to this restaurant’s realm — discovering just what appetizing adventures await and measuring whether these meals really do live up to their mega-moniker.

In terms of size and selection, Restaurant Epic more than merits its name, boasting generous portions as well as a menu mapped out with an impressive variety of eclectic and creative cuisine.

“I describe it as European Pacific Island cuisine,” says executive chef James Menza. “We have everything, honestly. Whoever you are, you are going to find something here.”

Bold confidence indeed from this chef, and I follow-up quickly with yet another challenge — what pray tell is available for “the others?” You know, the vegetarians among us? Menza doesn’t skip a beat and immediately ushers me to a menu, and veggie family, let me assure you, we are welcome here among these hearty offerings:

Shiitake Mushroom Risotto ($8): vegetarian comfort food takes its cue from this warm and creamy concoction consisting of sauteed shiitake and portobello mushrooms matched with housemade mushroom glaze, then melted into a Parmesan puree that’s perfection for the stomach and soul — it’s a heart-warming helping you just can’t wait to cuddle up to.

Full Moon Ravioli ($14): you will be over the moon for this dish that takes spinach, mushroom and ricotta stuffed ravioli, then bathes it in a fresh made mac nut basil pesto cream sauce sure to tickle your taste buds.

Grilled Portobello Sandwich ($10): a fresh and full portobello mushroom “patty” is marinated an entire day before being thrown right on the grill, giving it that fire-roasted, real-deal taste. Finding its home on a toasted Brioche bun alongside lettuce, tomato and housemade garlic aioli, this veggie burger means business.

What’s impressive is the fresh ingredients made in-house that really set these dishes apart. Menza agrees on the importance of this dining detail reiterating that, “Practically everything here is housemade, as it should be.”

And coming up, look out for a soon-to-be-announced special Mother’s Day menu from Restaurant Epic featuring hearty, housemade meals in honor of mom — it’s going to be grand.

Contact Andy Beth Miller at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Restaurant Epic

1131 Nuuanu Ave., Honolulu
587-7877
Lunch: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Dinner: Monday-Thursday, 4:30-8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 4:30-10 p.m.
Closed Sundays