The More, The MerrierColumns Ono, You Know
January 4, 2016
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
So if you still have some feasting power left in you, come along for this adventure in the best bottomless meals the island has to offer. And with these Ono, You Know favorites, even those seeking figure-friendly fare will have plenty to graze on.
NEW SHILAWON KOREAN RESTAURANT
Hands down, one of my favorite forms of all-you-can-eat enjoyment is yakiniku dining, and my new favorite place to get it is New Shilawon Korean Restaurant. It has been in business for more than a decade, but switched ownership about a year ago and now features a refreshed name that pays tribute to the previous management.
Current owner Jae Keun Lee is the man behind the restaurant’s selection of high-quality meats — pay attention, low-carb diners! — and he’s worked at the eatery for the past eight years. Now at the helm, he continues to ensure diners are grilling tip-top meats at their tables by hand-selecting the pieces and cutting to order for maximum freshness.
Course A ($29.95 per person) offers boundless beef tongue, brisket, pork belly and cubed beef frank, as well as the marinated magic of spicy pork (so ono), barbecue chicken, kalbi and bulgogi. A large slab of ribeye also is presented and may be cut to each patron’s preference — so there’s no way guests leave unsatisfied.
“Within all those choices, they can get more and more. I’ve seen people order five, six plates,” says Lee’s daughter and general manager Jandy, who adds that the same premium cuts of meat used for other menu items go into Course A’s all-you-can-eat offerings.
New Shilawon hones in on the perfect seasonings, lightly accenting ribeye with salt and pepper, and dusting cubed beef franks with an additional touch of sugar to bring out the meat’s flavors. Once the cuts are cooked to perfection, diners may dip their sizzling meats into seasoned sesame oil and enjoy house-made banchan on the side, such as potato salad, bean sprouts, daikon, kim chee and more.
And that’s not all — there also is lettuce salad with tangy house dressing, and lettuce leaves perfect for wrapping around some grilled meat, garlic, Korean miso paste and daikon. For those who still have room for more, rice and miso stew also are offered.
The eatery reminds patrons that it is now open until midnight Fridays and Saturdays and offers beer, rice wine and soju drinks.
New Shilawon Korean Restaurant
747 Amana St., Honolulu
It wouldn’t be an all-you-can-eat journey if we didn’t talk about a booming buffet, and that, of course, resides at Prince Court at Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki.
The possibilities truly are endless at this restaurant. Catering to local palates in an upscale setting, Prince Court offers something for every time of day and occasion at its array of buffets: breakfast daily (6-10:30 a.m.; adult $29.50, children 6-10 years old $14.75; Continental Buffet: adult $20, children $10); lunch Monday–Friday (11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; adult $32, children $16); brunch Sunday (10 a.m.–1 p.m.; adult $45, children $22.50); and a Hawaiian lunch buffet Saturday (11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; adult $35, children $17.50) with Oxtail Soup, Lau Lau and more.
What I’m really interested in, though, is the famed dinner seafood buffet (adult $53, children $26.50), offered nightly from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. I can’t get enough of the chilled crab legs, sashimi and poke, mussels, temaki and nigiri sushi and, of course, prime rib. I love that the spread features flavors that kamaaina can appreciate, such as a selection of homemade kim chee and lomi lomi salmon. And the chic dessert spread also clearly is a must.
“The guest response has been phenomenal, as our patrons seem to enjoy the price, quality and atmosphere of what we have to offer,” says Aaron Miyakawa, director of restaurants and special events.
All my fellow sushi lovers will agree that another dining spot at Hawaii Prince Hotel, Hakone, is worth a visit as well. The authentic Japanese restaurant offers an uber-popular sushi buffet (adult $57, children $28.50) inspired by chef Masami Shimoyama and served nightly, except Mondays.
A close family friend recently gave me the best advice regarding buffets: Rather than piling everything onto your plate at once as you walk through the line, take a few moments to survey the entire buffet offerings first, and then go in for the dishes you truly want to fill your tummy with. And with that, I’ll leave you to it!
Prince Court Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki
100 Holomoana St., Honolulu
Dining reservations: 944-4494