When I started this blog almost 7 years ago, my main goal was to showcase Hawaii’s unique culinary offerings. Little did I know that all these years later, I would end up meeting someone that I had gotten to know though her own blog. On her first visit to Hawaii, I got to meet up with Seattle food blogger, Seattle Bon Vivant, once for a late dinner on a Sunday evening. On this more recent visit, I was determined to bring her to one of my favorite restaurants, town.
Located in the heart of Kaimuki, on the corner of Waialae and 9th Avenues, town is probably the finest expression of the “locavore” movement in the Honolulu restaurant dining scene. Chef/owner Ed Kenney, works with folks like MA`O Organic Farms and Kuahiwi Ranch to source only the finest local ingredients for the restaurant. Since the ingredients are being showcased on the plate, the preparations tend to be simple with flavors borrowed from the Mediterranean.
mozzarella, grilled eggplant, spring onion, cassava, basil; Kuahiwi flatiron steak, market lettuces, radish, butter milk
The menu here at town changes daily and depends largely on what’s available that day at the market. So what I eat today, will probably not be available to order tomorrow. That’s okay though. There is always something on the menu for everyone. After a quick review of the day’s offerings, we decided to start with a small selection of appetizers.
Here, soft chunks of fresh mozzarella were tossed with smokey slices of charred eggplant and garnished with crunchy cassava chips and basil; sweet, crisp lettuces and paper-thin shavings of peppery radishes were coated with tangy butter milk and paired with tender pieces of flatiron; while a bed of luscious sliced persimmon was topped with shards of almonds, ribbons of prosciutto and a lightly dressed mound of baby kale.
Hashimoto Farms persimmon, prosciutto, baby kale, almonds, mint; gnocchi , Jeanne’s squash, sage brown butter
The gnocchi is a personal favorite and if it is on the menu, a must order. Pillowy and as light as air, the gnocchi melts away as soon as it hits your tongue. Served lightly coated with sage-infused brown butter and tender nuggets of squash, it was certainly soul-satisfying. To accompany the gnocchi, we decided on a plate of grilled baby corn seasoned with smoked paprika.
Hamanalo baby corn, smoked paprika; salted chocolate pretzel tart
To finish, it was the chocolate tart garnished with bits of pretzel and a healthy dusting of salt. Salt? Yes, salt. The flecks of salt actually helped to coax a subtle sweetness out of the bitter chocolate. It was definitely a pleasant, ending to an amazing evening.
“Local first, organic whenever possible, with Aloha always” is town’s motto and it certainly shows. Fresh, well-prepared food sourced from local purveyors, exceptional service and a welcoming atmosphere makes town a must visit.
3435 Waialae Ave