Sizzling Stews for every appetite

Columns Ono, You Know

August 28, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

There are certain things in life that put an automatic smile on my face my family, friends, my dog, Kea, innocent babies, beautiful sunny days and random acts of kindness the list goes on. However, when food enters the picture, there’s one dish and one dish alone that I adore, one that no matter what I’m craving, I can eat it and be totally satisfied that’s beef stew! This delicious creation is serious comfort food at its best. Imagine the combination of vegetables and meat mixed with the perfect gravy atop mounds of rice! And if the stew is made from the heart and with the right amount of love, then you can probably bet that it’s ono to the max.

Now, I usually rely on the aid of my handy dandy crock pot to cook up the perfect stew, yet this week I was graciously treated to some of the most “Ono, You Know” worthy stews our island has to offer. So, while the kitchen may be “stewing” this time of the year, I bet you the holy commandments of all things stew are strictly followed by the talented chefs at the following establishments.

Rainbow Drive-In

  • Kenny's Restaurant's Erlene Hutchinson with the eatery's famous stew.
  • Kenny's Restaurant's Local Boy Stew ($12.49)
  • Wailana's Old Fashioned Beef Stew Casserole ($11.15)
  • Rainbow Drive-In's Beef Stew ($6.25)
  • The editor makes a quick stop at Rainbow Drive-In to feast on its onolicious Beef Stew ($6.25).
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It’s been said that at the end of every rainbow there lies a pot of gold, yet here at Rainbow Drive-In it’s the pot of stew that patrons are after myself included.

Keep in mind, the beef stew is a special on the menu and is only offered every other week on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

“We alternate the beef stew with our curry stew each week,” Rainbow Drive-In vice president Jim Gusukuma explains.

Priced at $6.25, loyal patrons receive a heaping portion of beef stew made with boneless stew cut beef, carrots, onions and celery, served with two scoops of rice and a hefty portion of macaroni salad. But what sets this plate of stew apart from the rest is the special blend of spices that give it that extra kick.

“We’re not giving away our secrets,” Gusukuma says. “But I can say that our tomato-based stew is initially cooked the day before serving and then cooked and thickened again prior to offering it to our customers it’s a known fact that the stew tastes better on the second day,” he adds with a laugh.

Agreed! It’s no wonder locals and visitors alike are flocking this famous establishment to get a taste of the rainbow.

Rainbow Drive-In
3308 Kanaina Ave.

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Wailana Coffee House

Wailana Coffee House is my restaurant of choice for all things local at all times of the day and night. Believe me, this nostalgic Waikiki landmark, open 24-7, has just what you need to cure all your hunger pains.

This week, I just had to get my hands on Wailana’s Old Fashioned Beef Stew Casserole ($11.15). Doesn’t the name alone have you drooling?

And while Wailana’s menu is rather grand in scale, general manager Kenton Tom says it’s no surprise that the beef stew stands in a league of its own.

The Old Fashioned Beef Stew Casserole features chunks of boneless chopped beef and an array of cooked vegetables simmered together in the most alluring gravy.

“The stew is undoubtedly a popular item and a local favorite,” Tom says. “We thicken the gravy and cook the beef until it melts in your mouth, the sliced carrots, celery, onions and potatoes just add to the texture and flavor of the dish.”

I’ll admit proudly that I never tire of this mouthwatering entree that fills me up and warms my stomach, and if you’re a stew aficionado like I am, you’ll be scooping up every last bit of this remarkable stew. In fact, make it all your own and choose from one scoop of rice, baked potato or french fries on the side.

Wailana Coffee House
1860 Ala Moana Blvd.

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Kenny’s Restaurant

In the mood for more forkfuls of stew, I finally made my way to Kenny’s Restaurant in Kahili to transport my taste buds to ultimate beef stew nirvana. Chef Ernesto Yeban quickly cooked up Kenny’s most popular Local Boy Stew ($12.49), which was absolutely delicious. And chef Ernesto was more than happy to share with me the magic behind the making of this glorious dish.

“I simmer the boneless short rib for about two hours until it’s absolutely tender and cook up carrots, onions and potatoes in the beef broth,” Yeban explains with a smile, not wanting to reveal every secret.

However, let me tell you, the beef broth that accompanies this onolicious stew is hard to beat. The broth simmers for a bit before Yeban adds hints of pressed tomato, garlic, bay leaf, Hawaiian salt and other special seasonings to obtain just the right flavor. Pair the stew with rice and it results in a match made in heaven Kenny’s Local Boy stew is the epitome of comfort food.

Kenny’s Restaurant
Kamehameha Shopping Center
1620 N. School St.

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