Sinful Chocolate Desserts in Hawaii
The best chocolate desserts in Hawaii restaurants, alas, bring out the worst in us.
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By Anna Carriveau, Devany Vickery-Davidson, Lois Ann El, Tiffany Hill, Christine Hitt, Michael Keany, A. Kam Napier and Shannon Wianecki; Photography by linny morris
The best chocolate desserts, alas, bring out the worst in us. There’s gluttony (I want to order them all!). Greed (I am not sharing with you!). Envy (I want what he’s having!). It seems that virtue flies out the window when confronted with fudge icing. We say, embrace the dark (chocolate) side and give into temptation. Here are some of the best places to order a devilishly good chocolate dessert.
JJ Bistro and French Pastry
JJ’s famous as the “home of the chocolate pyramid”—it says so right in the window and justifiably so—but you won’t be cutting any corners if you stray from this favorite to try the Frou Frou au Chocolat ($4.50). A thin shell of dark chocolate encases a column of white chocolate mousse, fluffy, with a hint of vanilla, and a strawberry hidden in the heart of this small dessert, awaiting excavation. Other chocolate offerings include a chocolate lilikoi concoction, a chocolate fruit basket and chocolate banana confit. JJ’s has also expanded into a neighboring space, with Le Cacao Bistro, offering even more chocolately treats. 3447 Waialae Ave., 739-0993, jjfrenchpastry.com.
OK, you’ve ordered a towering, custom burger, all the fixin’s, with a side of sweetpotato fries and crispy onion strings, and you’re going to follow that with a diet soda? No, no, no. A chocolate shake ($4.95) is clearly the answer, and The Counter’s hand-mixed version is the platonic ideal: real Dreyer’s vanilla-bean ice cream blended with that Brooklyn soda-fountain classic, Foxes U-Bet original chocolate syrup. The result is so thick and creamy, you’ll have to eat it with a spoon—just watch out for the inevitable chocolate brain freeze. 4211 Waialae Ave., E-1, 739-5100, thecounterburger.com/honolulu.
The double chocolate fudge cake ($5.95) is a massive slab of chocolate and fudge, stacked on top of even more chocolate and more fudge, making Spinal Tap references irresistible. How much more chocolatey could this be? The answer is none. None more chocolatey. There’s no fruit garnish, no whipped cream to lighten the mood—just dark, dense, chocolate overload. Just the way we like it. An important note: Café’s Laufer’s desserts often arrive at the table slightly chilled from their time in the display case, which inhibits the full chocolate flavor and texture. Let your slice warm up before diving in, and it’ll be approximately 10 million times more decadent. 3565 Waialae Ave., 735-7717, cafelaufer.com.
Kudos to Morimoto for having two chocolate desserts the likes of which we’ve never seen or tasted before. Our strongest recommendation, in terms of sheer chocolate intensity, is for the chocolate mille feuille ($12). Your plate arrives with three little treats, all on beds of chocolate in various forms (a thin cake, or sheets of dark, bittersweet chocolate), including brûléed bananas, avocado anglaise and spiced chocolate ice cream. Also good, especially for fans of the beloved peanut butter/chocolate combo, the chocolate peanut bombe ($12), featuring a peanut-buttery cake filled with milk chocolate cremeux and a dollop of salted peanut ice cream. This one comes topped with a flake of edible 24k gold, for decoration. 1775 Ala Moana Blvd., 943-5900, morimotowaikiki.com.
The Cheesecake Factory
Chris’ Outrageous Chocolate Cake ($7.95) has something for everyone. This hybrid dessert is layers upon layers of brownie, chocolate cake, toasted coconut, chocolate-chip cheesecake, and pecan and chocolate frosting. It’s so rich that even if you share the dessert among friends, you still might need a to-go box. 2301 Kalakaua Ave., 924-5001, thecheesecakefactory.com.