Sam Choy’s BLC: A Seafood Sanctuary and So Much MoreCover Story Features
July 29, 2012
Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel
Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch & Crab always draws in crowds from across the island with its contemporary all-American and local favorites. This award-winning establishment opened its doors 15 years ago when celebrity chef Sam Choy wanted to share his island cuisine with locals and tourists alike. While Chef Sam is still very much dedicated to the establishment, executive chef Aurelio Garcia and general manager Jeffrey Gaspar take the reins here, making sure the restaurant is always at its best.
Dining Out recently paid a visit to Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch & Crab, and witnessed the many melt-in-your-mouth entrees that satisfy any craving. It’s clear that the restaurant offers much more than merely breakfast, lunch and crab, and it only takes one visit to make you a devoted fan.
DO: Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch & Crab is best known for serving quality cuisine with aloha and has been doing so for the past 15 years. What is the restaurant’s philosophy?
Gaspar: When the restaurant first opened its doors, we strictly focused on a seafood type of menu that also incorporated some local flavors. Since then, the menu has undergone some changes here and there, but the basis of the menu has always been seafood and, of course, crab. We are firm advocates in supporting local produce and flavors.
DO: Crab lovers can’t seem to get enough of the many crab creations here. What are some entrees that are continuously flying off the menu?
Gaspar: Well, I highly recommend patrons who love crab to come and dine here on Tuesday nights when we serve two pounds of snow crab legs for only $29.95. It’s a great deal, and it’s served with a vegetable medley and your choice of starch. We also serve a delicious Whole Dungeness Crab (24 ounces, $38.95). You can request to have it steamed with fresh drawn butter or have it prepared with black bean sauce. The dish also comes complete with your choice of starch and vegetables. We have live Dungeness crab brought in almost daily from our local purveyors, so our seafood is always fresh.
DO: The restaurant is celebrating a shrimp festival now through Aug. 5. What can diners expect?
Gaspar: Yes, the shrimp festival showcases a variety of dishes featuring none other than shrimp during lunch and dinner times. A couple of our featured entrees are Garlic Shrimp Pizza ($14.95) and Crispy Jumbo Shrimp with Sweet Chili Glaze on a Bed of Fried Rice ($17.95 lunch, $24.95 dinner). We don’t normally have pizza on our menu, so Garlic Shrimp Pizza is a big hit. This pizza pie consists of shrimp, basil, tomatoes, red onions, cheese and garlic. We promote festivals almost every month, and it’s nice to highlight different things off of our menu.
DO: Everything sounds decadently delicious. What are some other signature dishes that Sam Choy’s BLC is known for?
Gaspar: Our Kalua Pork Quesadilla ($10.95) is a favorite appetizer featuring a grilled flour tortilla filled with shredded kalua pork, sauteed onions and cheese, topped with fresh salsa, sour cream and barbecue sauce. Then we have our Kahuku Luau Crab Dip ($12.95) with oven-baked crab and spinach dip highlighted with artichoke and capers, topped with Parmesan cheese and accompanied by grilled garlic bread. Of course, we must include Onolicious Rack of Ribs to the list. Priced at $29.95, guests can enjoy two pounds of Sam’s famous char siu-glazed baby back ribs garnished with green onions and coconut sprinkles. It really epitomizes local fare. Patrons love it and order it all the time.
DO: With a vast and ever-expanding menu, where does the inspiration for these alluring dishes come from?
Gaspar: Sam Choy has created a lot of the dishes here, but he also allows executive chef Aurelio Garcia to come up with many dishes himself. Chef Aurelio has been here for nine years and has really brought a lot to the menu.
DO: Sam Choy’s is a family-friendly restaurant with fun happenings all week long. What can diners look forward to?
Gaspar: There’s a long list of different happenings, including Snow Crab Tuesday Nights (2-pound snow crab legs for $29.95), Prime Rib Wednesday Nights (16-ounce Prime Rib of Beef for $20.95), Beverage Thursdays (Bottle of Hybrid Pinot Noir for $12 and pitchers of Aloha Beer for $10), Aloha Fridays (Hawaiian Plate all day and night), Kapuna Saturdays (kapuna 62 and older receive a 20 percent discount all day), Keiki Sunday Nights (6 to 8 p.m., keiki eat free from keiki menu with each adult entree purchased. Magic by Alan Arita, balloon sculpting and caricature drawing). Keiki (ages 5-12) also eat free daily for the month of July and August with the purchase of an adult meal. On Sundays we offer our brunch buffet from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. ($22.95 for adults, $12.95 for keiki) as well.
DO: The establishment also entices diners 21 and over with a full-open bar. Is this correct?
Gaspar: Yes, our brewery concept started the same time the restaurant did, and it was quickly incorporated into the breakfast, lunch and crab house. We currently have five handcrafted beers — Blonde Ale, Ehu Ale, Aloha Lager, Kiawe Honey Porter and James Cook I.P.A. — and we’ll brew some seasonal or specialty beers every now and then. The beers complement the food nicely here and customers come to enjoy both.
DO: What are some new and exciting things happening here?
Gaspar: Right next to the brewery is Aloha Beer Company, which is an expansion of Sam Choy’s BLC. Aloha Beer Company opened about a month ago, and brings about a lounge type of atmosphere and offers a vast array of pupus and beers. We’re hoping that Aloha Beer Company and Sam Choy’s will complement each other.
A lot of people will have an early dinner here at Sam Choy’s and then go next door to Aloha Beer Company and finish the evening off with some drinks.
Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch & Crab
580 N. Nimitz Hwy., Honolulu
Tuesday-Friday, 7-10:30 a.m.
Saturday-Sunday 8-11 a.m. (breakfast)
Sunday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. (brunch)
Tuesday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 11a.m.-2 p.m. (lunch)
Tuesday-Thursday, 5-9 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m.
Sundays 5-9 p.m.