Update: Lobby Bar at The Modern Honolulu
In the Waikiki Edition/The Modern Honolulu business explosion aftermath, some of the talented people involved in establishing the bars left, including bartender Sam Treadway and executive chef Kaleo Adams. Curious about the food and drink post-transition, I checked in at the Lobby Bar. Luckily, all is still well. Tim Rita, formerly of the Halekulani, now manages The Modern's bars. He’s currently developing the cocktail menu: there are new drinks like Agent Rouge, a twist on the James Bond Vesper, though the bartenders still know how to make my personal favorite from the old menu, the Agony and the Ecstasy, with mescal, grapefruit, ginger beer and chipotle Tabasco. You might want to steer clear of the cocktails with flavored liquors, though, such as the “dragonberry” rum, a fictional fruit (ostensibly a mashup of dragonfruit and strawberry) that tastes of artificial strawberry.
The food remains excellent. Sliced ribeye, well-seasoned and tender, looks like Christmas, strewn with thin-sliced green jalapenos and red peppercorns. A perfectly pressed Cuban sandwich has all the prototypical ingredients—ham, roast pork, pickles—and the addition of salami takes it over the top. And to finish, a banana butterscotch cream pie. This mashup I love: butterscotch pudding with banana cream pie, in a shatteringly flaky crust. Perfection.