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The Best Steak Tartare in Honolulu


Steak tartare at BLT Steak

In a town where raw ahi is king, a good steak tartare is a rare find. But it was a search we undertook because there’s something deliciously primal about raw beef. It’s a staple of steakhouses, and we tried a number of them at Signature, Wolfgang's and Beachhouse. BLT Steak's trumped them all with its hand-chopped beef, chunky almost like poke, mixed with red onion and topped with fried capers for the perfect bite to cut through the meatiness.   
$24, 223 Saratoga Rd., 683-7440, e2hospitality.com/blt-steak-waikiki

At Wada

Outside of steakhouses, we found few steak tartares to recommend; too many had mushy beef or served it still frozen, probably because it's easier to chop that way, but yuck! There were two non-steakhouse exceptions. At the Japanese restaurant Wada, which we already love for its Washugyu beef (a cross between Japanese Wagyu and American Black Angus) seared over a stone grill, we found a lovely and rich version with beef hand-sliced to order, spiked with sesame oil and chili and served with nori.
$12.50, 611 Kapahulu Ave., 737-0125, restaurantwada.com

At Budnamujip

All the beef at Budnamujip is excellent, so it's no surprise that its yukhoe, the Korean steak tartare, features prime quality meat. This is a refreshing tartare, with crisp Asian pear and fresh lemon, all mixed tableside with a silky egg yolk and paper thin slices of garlic. We wished the meat were finely diced instead of sliced—even great beef can get chewy when raw—and to be honest, after smelling all the meat cooking around us, at Budnamujip, we're probably always going to opt for our meat grilled over raw.
$28.95, 871 Kapiolani Blvd., 593-8822

The verdict: BLT Steak for the best beef tartare

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