Sinful Chocolate Desserts in Hawaii
The best chocolate desserts in Hawaii restaurants, alas, bring out the worst in us.
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The molten chocolate cake was the dessert of the late 1990s, and we have Hawaii’s own Roy Yamaguchi to praise for starting the trend. His chocolate soufflé is so good, it’s been copied by restaurants the world over. The dessert still clearly has a hold over restaurant-goers; we found a molten chocolate cake on just about every dessert menu we encountered, and have listed some of the variations. Whichever molten cake you choose, remember that this style of dessert usually takes 15 to 20 minutes to prepare.
Lava Near the Lava
On your way to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, stop first at the Hilo Bay Café for chef Joshua Ketner’s Molten Chocolate Lava Cake with raspberry coulis, vanilla Anglaise and Kona coffee ice cream ($8). The restaurant is tucked into a strip mall near the local Walmart, but do not let that dissuade you. The cake looks like a volcano and oozes flavors of chocolate and coffee. 315 Makaala St., Hilo, The Big Island, (808) 935-4939, www.hilobaycafe.com.
While some desserts whisper chocolate to you softly, others grab you by the throat and scream CHOCOLATE! So it is with Longhi’s Hot Chocolate Soufflé ($13). The chocolate is extremely dark and rich, the side of vanilla Häagen-Dazs adds a chilly sweet contrast, and the finishing touch of vividly fresh blueberries and raspberries takes it to the next level. Longhi’s Ala Moana, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., 947-9899. Longhi’s Lahaina, 888 Front St., Lahaina, Maui, (808) 667-2288. Longhi’s Wailea, The Shops at Wailea, 3750 Wailea Ala Nui, Wailea, Maui, (808) 891-8883, longhis.com.
The moist chocolate cake at Restaurant Epic ($8) oozes a warm, chocolate-peanut butter, pudding-like center that will make you wish you hadn’t promised your dinner companions a share. Go for dinner, but plan to save room for dessert. 1131 Nuuanu Ave., 587-7877, restaurantepichawaii.com.
The Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Cake ($8) at 22 North comes with a tiny, stainless steel pitcher of cream; you pour it in to create a rich, lovely concoction. The cream fits nicely with this farm-to-fork restaurant sitting on 70 acres of agricultural land. Kilohana Plantation, 3-2087 Kaumualii Highway., Lihue, 245-9593, 22northkauai.com.
Tucked among the bustling restaurants in Poipu is a tiny chocolate and gelato shop big on taste and originality. All of the gelatos are churned by hand in the shop, as well as the treats and toppings; even the marshmallows are made from scratch. The Belgian Chocolate Gelato ($8.50) is served in a chocolate-dipped waffle bowl topped with fudge sauce. Poipu Shopping Center, 2360 Kiahuna Plantation Road, Koloa, (808) 742-2663, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A trip to Ono Gelato presents an epic challenge: Which of the 30-plus mouthwatering flavors should you fill your waffle cone with? The creamy confections are made fresh every day, using organic whole milk and locally sourced, seasonal fruit. Whether you choose chocolate raspberry gelato or vegan chocolate sorbet ($4.95), a pure, unadulterated dose of cocoa is your reward. We went halfsies, pairing the Old World elegance of bittersweet chocolate with the sweet tang of lilikoi. 115 Hana Highway, Paia, (808) 579-9201; 1280 S. Kihei Road, Kihei, (808) 879-2910; 815 Front St., Lahaina, (808) 667-1984. onogelatocompany.com.
C’mon, it’s got “sin” in the title; what’s not to love about Ruth’s Chris’ Chocolate Sin Cake ($9.50)? The porous chocolate espresso cake is sealed in a layer of rich chocolate fudge and topped with tangy cherry-strawberry sauce. The fruity drizzle is what makes the dish special: it accentuates the strong chocolate flavor and adds the just the right amount of moistness. 500 Ala Moana Blvd., 599-3860, ruthschris.com.