For The Love Of Lamb

Ono, You Know

September 10, 2017

Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

The editor carves into juicy pieces of “Hy’s Famous” Roast Rack of Lamb ($50 half rack), paired with a classic mint sauce on the side.

One of the best things about traveling is getting to try new food, and on a recent trip to New York City, I was all about the halal food trucks that have become an integral part of the Big Apple’s street-fare scene. Their menus are known to spice up taste buds with a variety of Middle Eastern flavors, including succulent bites of grilled rotisserie lamb.

Since coming home, I’ve been on quite the lamb kick, and after visiting the fantastic restaurants featured in this spread, it turns out I’m not the only one. No longer are the days of associating lamb with the overly gamy flavor of mutton; today’s gourmands are a new generation of lamb-lovers who appreciate the robust flavor profile of the high-end lamb available on the market today.

As an added plus, I’ve elevated my lamb game from food trucks to the fanciful feasts found here:

HITTING A ‘HY’ POINT

One place lamb has always been revered is in a classic steak-house setting. If you’re like me and you want to go to a restaurant where you can still be wowed by the impressive tableside carving of a rack of lamb, succulent juices pouring out with each slice of the knife, then Hy’s Steak House is the spot for you.

“Hy’s Famous” Roast Rack of Lamb”

The 40-year old establishment presents guests with a stunning Australian rack of lamb, offered in the full portion of an eight-rib rack ($80), or a four-rib half rack ($50). This heavenly meat is seasoned, seared over Hy’s famous kiawe-wood broiler and finished off in the oven to a perfect medium-rare (or your preference).

“I love lamb because it’s such a traditional piece of meat,” says executive chef Justin Inagaki, “and when you do try it, you’ll see it’s not as gamy as you might think.”

After decades of serving high-quality lamb, Hy’s knows a thing or two about sourcing the most flavorful, tender variety. After trying various types of lamb, the restaurant chose Australian spring lamb as its No. 1 pick because of its incredibly tender loin, and “the fact that it’s spring lamb helps,” says guest relations manager Bob Panter, “so it doesn’t have that strong, gamy flavor.”

This lamb also has its perfect seasonings working for it, with the bold dry rub of marjoram, oregano, thyme and rosemary, among others, complementing the natural flavor of the meat.

Though this lamb is ideal for Hy’s nightly dinner service (last seating 9:30 p.m.), if you find yourself in need of a late-night bite on the weekend, stop in for The Bar @ Hy’s new offering available Fridays and Saturdays only from 9 to 11 p.m. The upscale lounge experience offers innovative cocktails, fine wine and trendy small plates to the tune of Hy’s Charcuterie Platter, King Salmon Roulade Puff and more.

LINGER AT LA HIKI

Since lamb is an indulgence many of us don’t treat ourselves to every day, why not order it in a setting that is just as exceptional?

I’ve found that special dining atmosphere to be at La Hiki Kitchen located within Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, where you’ll feel as though you’re on an outer-island retreat.

Grilled lamb chops from La Hiki’s Sunday Brunch For All Seasons (buffet pricing)

The restaurant serves up breakfast daily via a buffet and a la carte selections, as well as a dinner menu nightly except Wednesdays and Thursdays. What La Hiki has been gaining attention for lately, however, is its popular Sunday Brunch For All Seasons, which makes every Sunday seem like a feast-worthy holiday.

Hosted from 11 a.m to 2 p.m., the brunch is priced at $65 per person and comes complete with local and chef-inspired seasonal favorites, dim sum and noodles, a raw seafood bar, a pasta and frittata station, a keiki corner, dessert station and more.

There also is a live-action grilling station where chefs constantly cook up a rotating selection of steaks, shrimp, lobster, homemade sausage, you name it. And that, my friends, is where you’ll also find some delicious and freshly grilled New Zealand lamb.

“We have such a great variety on the buffet, and a lot of local items, but we wanted to be sure to have a wide range of other options such as lamb,” says executive sous chef Richard Polhemus.

The chef explains that the New Zealand lamb itself “is less gamy than what most people are used to,” not to mention “more tender and flavorful.” The meat is further tenderized by the overnight marination process, which allows it to soak up the flavors of classic herb pairings for lamb: garlic, rosemary and thyme, along with shallots, parsley and olive oil.

Trying this lamb on your next brunch outing is a must, but Polhemus recommends making a reservation first, as this feast fills up fast. (Call 679-0079 for reservations.)

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