Get the Fiesta Started With Upcoming Anniversary Deals

Columns Foodie Fare

October 13, 2013

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

When Nov. 3 rolls around, Jose’s Mexican Cantina and Cafe in Kaimuki will mark its 40th anniversary of pleasing palates with what general manager Brian Martinez calls “Mexican comfort food.”

Jose’s menu includes a range of various tacos, burritos and enchiladas, as well as grilled meats and seafood. Jose’s also creates its own sauces, including a new concoction, the Verde Sauce. Martinez explains that the sauce can be ordered as a tasty complement to any number of dishes. One recommended combination is the Chicken Enchiladas with Verde Sauce ($13.95), as pictured here, which comes with beans, rice and sour cream.

“The Verde Sauce is a tomatillo-based sauce, which is a little bit tart, but it has a really good garlic and cilantro flavor to it,” Martinez says. “We just started doing that as a special, and it has gone over really well.”

Those who stop in from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. can take advantage of Jose’s lunch specials, which includes Chicken Taquitos ($9.75). This features three deep-fried rolled tacos and is served with guacamole, sour cream and a side of either beans or rice.

For diners who just can’t seem to choose one dish from Jose’s options, you’re in luck. Jose’s offers combination dinners, which allow customers to mix and match various items. One possible combination, for example, is Chile Relleno with a Ground Beef Taco ($13.95). The Chile Relleno features a mild Anaheim chili and jack cheese coated in a fried egg batter and topped with ranchero sauce and melted cheese. The combination dinner also is served with beans and rice.

If you’ve got room for dessert, Martinez recommends the Flan ($4.75), or Mexican custard.

“It is a vanilla-based custard, and it has got a lot of flavor. It is sweet, but it is light at the same time,” he explains. “This is a nice finish after a heavier meal.”

In celebration of the restaurant’s 40th anniversary next month, Jose’s will offer Strawberry Margaritas for $6 (they are normally $8). All of the margaritas are made to order from scratch. The discounted pricing will launch Nov. 1.

“The strawberries in that are really nice. It is most people’s favorite drink,” Martinez says.

And that’s not the only special that will be available during the 40th anniversary celebration; each month for the entire year will feature different specials.

Also coming up for the restaurant in the near future will be fresh-made mole, which is set to appear during the week of Nov. 1.

“Mole is a complex sauce that has a little bit of chocolate in there,” Martinez explains, adding that it will pair well with burritos and enchiladas. “It is traditionally served on special occasions.”

On the Side

As one of the grandsons of Jose Martinez, the namesake of Jose’s Mexican Cantina and Cafe, general manager Brian Martinez grew up working at the restaurant. Originally from Southern California, Martinez used to spend summers in the Islands with his extended family.

“When we were kids, we would help clean in the morning and then wait on tables and help in the kitchen,” he recalls.

He honed his skills at a string of restaurants in California primarily on the corporate side of things before moving to Hawaii for good in the 1980s.

Being a family business, Jose’s also has cultivated a close relationship with many of its regular customers throughout the years. Martinez looks forward to sharing its 40th anniversary celebration with all of the restaurant’s customers.

“We invite everybody that has known us from the beginning or has known us just from two days ago to come on down,” Martinez says. “We are looking forward to seeing a lot of long-time customers who we haven’t seen in a while.”

Contact Christina O’Connor at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Jose’s Mexican Cafe and Cantina

1134 Koko Head Ave., Honolulu
Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96816

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best