Beef: It’s What’s For DinnerColumns Ono, You Know
October 11, 2015
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
To all my fellow carnivores out there, it’s been far too long since we’ve seriously salivated over steaks. Those insanely sizzled, caramelized char marks from the grill are calling my steak knife, which is dying to cut into some prime and juicy, medium-rare meat just dripping with savory flavors.
Sure, on special occasions, many of us dream of fanciful steak-house dinners, but when those primal meat-eating urges kick in on any regular day of the week, I’m sure you’ll agree that a down-home, meat-and-potatoes kind of meal is all we really need.
In these instances, I love to get my fill of protein-rich slabs — which offer nourishment with strengthening iron, zinc and vitamin B12 — at my absolute favorite island-style diners. There’s something about cozying into a booth and partaking in the time-honored tradition of ordering a classic steak dinner that adds an extra dose of comfort to any succulent filet.
With that, let’s get to the meat of these Ono, You Know finds.
WAILANA COFFEE HOUSE
According to National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, beef is one of the most nutrient-rich foods, calorie for calorie. Wailana Coffee House makes it easy to get your weekly fix of energizing steaks every Friday, Saturday and Sunday with its “Weekends are for Beef Lovers” menu.
“Steak is always a winner,” agrees owner and general manager Kenton Tom, who aims to provide patrons who enjoy dining out on weekends with a satisfying special.
For only $14.95, select the cut that tempts you most: 8 ounces of New York strip steak, 7 ounces of buttery-top sirloin or 6 ounces of marinated teriyaki tenderloin. Then, complement your mighty meat with baked or mashed potato, french fries or rice, as well as a vegetable medley on the side. To top it all off, the all-you-can-eat salad bar is included in the price.
Wailana’s seductive steaks get their perfect char from its groove-grilled broiler, so they’re all excellent choices. Tom’s personal favorite is the teriyaki, though, as it’s especially tender and finished off with a devilishly good glaze.
Wailana Coffee House
1860 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
BIG CITY DINER
Across the island, Big City Diner is known as the ideal setting for a fun, family-friendly dining experience, complete with a local twist, and with that comes an array of taste-bud temptations for any and all meat lovers.
It can be hard to choose from such satiating options as hearty Flame Broiled N.Y. Steak and Eggs ($13.99) or customer-favorite Boneless Korean Kalbi Steak ($16.99), but on a recent visit, I ultimately had to rip apart Pulehu N.Y. Steak with Grilled Onions and Mushrooms ($26.99 dinner).
Eleven ounces of New York strip loin instantly impact with powerful flavorings that wonderfully meld with the beef’s natural, meaty juices. “The pulehu seasoning is really good. It’s a variation of spices and salts and peppers,” explains chef and kitchen manager Jennifer Maito.
Cooked in garlic butter, this gluten-free steak is topped with a mound of caramelized onions and Marsala-wine accented mushrooms — plenty to go with every bite — and accompanied by healthy vegetables.
And as the perfect finishing touch, it’s grilled to your preferred doneness. “If you’re a steak person, as long as you have the temp right — I’m a medium-rare person — that’s the biggest thing,” she says.
Big City Diner Ward Entertainment Center (and other locations)
1060 Auahi St., No. 4