Top of Waikīkī Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary With a New Menu
It’s Top of Waikīkī’s birthday—and it is celebrating deliciously.
Photos: Natalie Schack
Things have been abuzz with activity at the Top of Waikīkī. In addition to renovations (think new chairs, a new carpet and new paint) and the launch of sister rooftop bar, Sky Waikīkī, the restaurant has debuted a new menu that is the first since executive chef Lance Kosaka came on board in 2013. It’s perfect timing, really, as Top of Waikīkī celebrates its 50th anniversary this month, so we stopped in to the media preview to snag a taste of what Kosaka has been cooking up.
Kosaka’s new menu is quite the celebration of the past, with a marriage of ethnic-inspired and nostalgic flavors that take him back to his childhood, as well as contemporary classics. Kosaka has also stepped up his local-ingredients game, sourcing from Island farms and dairies when possible.
Take the inventive six-layer dip, a crowd-pleasing, local take on a super-bowl-party fave that includes layers of scrumptious mashed taro and Hawai‘i Island chevre alongside Kula romaine, Hāmākua tomatoes, cheddar cheese and sour cream. Another tasty appetizer choice is the duck “pizza,” which combines roast duck, hoisin and Sriracha for an Asian twist, atop a crispy scallion pancake crust and avocado. Panko-and-garlic-crusted shrimp on toast hides tsuke relish, while a dash of ume adds something unexpected to the beet, avocado and goat cheese croquette salad.
Surf and Turf for Two.
Entrees are hearty and humongous, especially the Surf and Turf For Two, which comes with a whopping 22-ounce Porterhouse steak, two lobster tails, two crab legs and veggies on a massive platter. (No wonder they call it “Over the Top”!) Despite the gargantuan proportions, however, the tart, tangy and spicy lemon and chili sauce of the Mama’s New York Steak (based on a recipe from executive sous Chef Sean Walsh’s mother) is the big winner here. Other offerings include a tender-as-can-be Jidori chicken, prepared two ways, and a succulent panko-and-bacon-crusted ‘ahi.
And the desserts? Oh, the desserts. Executive pastry chef Heather Bryan’s molten chocolate butter cake and haupia cream puff are delectable, but it is the gorgeous baked Alaska, complete with torched swirls of meringue, that really catches the eye. Bryan is constantly switching up her ice cream, frozen yogurt and cake flavor combos for the cakes; look for ‘ono arrangements such as tangy liliko‘i and rich chocolate, or guava and lemon.
Not to be outdone, Director of mixology Jennifer Ackrill spiced up the cocktail offerings with a revamp of some of the bar’s signatures, such as the Top of Waikīkī, which she took back to the classic mai tai recipe, with the addition of some tropical juices for flair. The Congress Club is an interesting blend that includes hibiscus-infused tequila and cinnamon syrup, while the Waikīkī Tini boasts Hawaiian chili and cacao-nib-infused Brazilian rum and banana liqueur.
Top of Waikīkī, 2270 Kalākaua Ave.,923-3877, topofwaikiki.com