Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Columns Ono, You Know

June 18, 2017

Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

The editor peeks in on Little Village to see what kind of chicken the longtime Chinatown eatery is cooking up these days.

When I talk to friends and family members who like to cook for their loved ones, many of them tell me that chicken dishes are on their regular rotation of home-cooked meals. In fact, many of us eat chicken in one preparation or another all the time. Yet when it comes to dining out, it seems the ever-versatile poultry usually takes a backseat to the burgers, steaks and pork belly creations that get all the foodie buzz.

I got to thinking — are there chicken dishes out there in the restaurant scene that are totally worthy of our drool-inducing excitement?

You bet!

To find them, I knew I’d luck out at a popular island mainstay for Chinese cuisine. But I was happy to discover that delicious chicken also can be found, at times, where we’d least expect it. So let’s get to eating!

Little Village Noodle House

One of my absolute favorite types of chicken is Cornish game hen, the petite hybrid chicken that, despite its small size, packs a powerful punch in the flavor department.

Little Village’s Crispy Cornish Hen ($13.75)

David Chang, general manager at Little Village Noodle House, agrees that Cornish game hen is tastier, juicier and more tender than your average chicken meat.

“We’re one of the only restaurants that serve Cornish hen. In my opinion, it’s a better chicken overall. The meat is very juicy and tender,” he confirms.

That’s exactly why this type of chicken has been Little Village’s poultry of choice since the eatery opened over 15 years ago. Today, you can enjoy it three ways on the menu: Smoked, Crispy or Shoyu-style, all served whole ($13.75 each).

Chang says the crispy recipe is the most popular, as it’s fried Hong Kong-style to get that beloved crunch of the skin — something few guests are able to resist. The hen also is marinated overnight, allowing for rich flavors to soak into each luscious bite.

There are other marvelous — and sharable — chicken entrees to behold at Little Village Noodle House, including Sichuan Spicy Chicken, Orange Chicken and Island Fresh Cold Ginger Chicken. The latter, priced at $13.95, is poached in seasoned water and served with a classic minced ginger and green onion sauce that’s been sizzled with hot oil to bring out the brightness of each ingredient. “That one’s never frozen; we use fresh chicken,” adds Chang.

He also reminds readers that these dishes are perfect for all the wonderful dads out there — including mine! — so it’s not too late to call and ask about Father’s Day seating availability.

Little Village Noodle House

1113 Smith St., Chinatown
Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96817

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

One of the best kept secrets in town is that if you want to introduce your taste buds to truly spectacular chicken, then you should go to a steak house.

Ruth’s Chris’ Stuffed Chicken Breast ($35). ANTHONY CONSILLIO PHOTO

Though it may seem counterintuitive, at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, you’ll find this philosophy actually makes perfect sense. That’s because the same care and dedication to quality that goes into its broiled USDA Prime steaks is given to the divine Stuffed Chicken Breast ($35) on the menu.

“It’s a very popular dish, and it’s really delicious,” says Eric Hill, general manager of Ruth’s Chris at Waikiki Beach Walk. “We have some guests come in just for the chicken.”

A number of factors come together to make this dish stand out, starting with the fact that the double-breasted chicken is free range, which translates to better flavor from the get-go. Then, the oven-roasting process renders the skin crispy, golden and utterly worth indulging in. The best part, however, is cutting into the succulent, perfectly cooked meat and revealing the melted garlic herb cheese within, which makes each bite creamy and downright mesmerizing. Additionally, some classic complements — namely lemon butter and rosemary — are added to take the dish to a whole new level.

Everything at Ruth’s Chris is served a la carte, so Stuffed Chicken Breast may be enjoyed as an alternative to red meat, or in addition to a grand steak dinner with mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and all the fixings. You also may want to order the chicken as part of the Prime Time Menu (prices start from $54.95; available 5 to 6 p.m.), offering three delicious courses with an entree selection.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Waikiki Beach Walk (and Waterfront Plaza)
226 Lewers St., Ste. 233, Waikiki

Honolulu, HI 96815

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best