Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Little Joe’s SteakhouseRestaurant Insider
October 25, 2020
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
ANNE LEE speaks with Little Joe’s Steakhouse general manager CHLOE ARNETT
This week, I got to sit with Little Joe’s Steakhouse general manager Chloe Arnett — daughter of Honolulu Star-Advertiser sports editor Paul Arnett — to learn more about owner Peter Kim’s vision and his newest restaurant concept. Contrary to its name, though, Little Joe’s Steakhouse is anything but little. It goes big with bold flavors and hearty portions, notably the off-the-menu 32-ounce tomahawk steak that we’ll talk a bit about later in the interview.
The aging process for its high-quality meats is similar to the methods used at higher-end steak houses, so the offerings here are definitely ones to try.
AL: When did the restaurant open?
CA: Umamiya was here previously, but our owner, Peter Kim, also is the proprietor for Signature Steakhouse Restaurant that is known for prime cut steaks. His vision was to create something more affordable, using choice cuts that we wet age for six to eight weeks in a vacuum-sealed bag.
AL: What type of cuisine does the restaurant specialize in?
CA: Our choice cut beef options. But we are also a traditional steak and seafood restaurant; we have sashimi and poke offerings for our local palates.
AL: What does Little Joe’s Steakhouse bring to the Hawaii food scene?
CA: Buffets are not really an option anymore due to COVID, but we still offer the rib-eye and crab legs, the surf and turf. We offer exceptional quality and value, no dress code, and it’s accessible to everyone. We have construction workers that come after work, downtown business professionals and local families.
AL: What is the mission the restaurant runs by?
CA: Our concept is “for the people of Hawaii.” We exist to provide our guests the Little Joe’s experience where the quality and value of the food is appreciated along with exceptional service.
AL: What are the future plans for the restaurant?
CA: Before COVID, we had private dining room options. We look forward to doing some more intimate gatherings for our guest in the future. We have about four areas in the main dining room that we can close off to create their own space.
AL: What are some of the most popular dishes?
CA: Our Bone-in Rib-eye ($39.95, 18 ounces) is one of our top sellers, and the Rib-eye ($32.95, 16 ounces). We are also featuring our Surf and Turf ($45); this definitely sells.
The Ahi Sashimi ($12.95) is fresh every day, and our kitchen hand cuts everything, including our meats (our hamburger meat is ground in-house).
We also have Fried Zucchini ($8.95) that’s panko-crusted with our housemade signature ranch cucumber sauce.
Our sides are created a la carte and family-style. The Bacon Mac & Cheese ($12.95) is life-changing. Everything is made from scratch: The gouda smoked cheese, our bacon bits are homemade, and the combination of these two are amazing.
AL: Tell us a little bit about your wine list.
CA: We offer a few unique cabernets by the glass — like Quilt (this variety is hard to find) — as well as Bonanza (part of the Caymus family). We do not have a sommelier in-house, but Josh, our server/bartender/jack-of-alltrades, is very knowledgeable about our wines, and if he’s not busy, he will offer wine service for our other servers because he is that passionate about it.
AL: If you had to choose one thing to eat every day for an entire year, what would it be?
CA: I love the rib-eye here — I have never had beef that has been aged like this; we have a special aging locker here — and the Bacon Mac & Cheese.
AL: What is your favorite part of your job?
CA: Making a difference and collaborating with my staff. No one knows how to do this job better than they do.
AL: Any fun facts most people wouldn’t know about the restaurant?
CA: The most expensive item on the menu is the 32-ounce tomahawk steak, and it’s very affordable at $89. It’s huge, like a dinosaur bone. This is not on the menu and is a well-kept secret.
AL: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
CA: Our happy hour is one of the best on the island — 4:30-6:30 p.m. for food and 4:30-7 p.m. for drinks. No reservations required.