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Two at Turtle Bay

There’s more to eat on the North Shore than shave ice and shrimp-truck lunches.

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Chef Fred DeAngelo serves an unusual poke.  It's rib eye steak, seared to rare and served with sea asparagus.

Photo by David Croxford

Having gone on and on about the appetizers, let me deconstruct just two of the entrées. The five-spiced, braised beef short ribs are soul food. DeAngelo takes a three-inch-thick short rib, removes two out of the three bones and wraps them around the remaining bone so it looks more like an osso buco than a short rib. Set atop Kahuku corn mashed potatoes, this is fork tender and deeply flavored.

Even more amazing is the chicken long rice. Once again, “long rice” belongs in quotes. Chicken long rice is a traditional luau food—often a few shreds of chicken in a soupy collection of transparent mung bean noodles—though just how those Chinese noodles were transmogrified into Hawaiian food is one of those multicultural mysteries.

DeAngelo’s long rice is a far more substantial dish. You get half a chicken, roasted with citrus and sage, deboned except for the drummette. (That little bone somehow still makes it look like chicken.) The rest of the bones go into an herb stock, in which the noodles are cooked.

The result is some wonderfully cooked chicken sitting atop a soup bowl full of noodles, broth, mushrooms and veggies.  It is at once an acknowledgment of the luau dish, and a vast improvement upon it.

There are desserts—I had one bite of the crème brûlée with carmelized bananas. I was lucky to still have room for that.

Ola goes in for substantial portions, at reasonable prices. The entrées are in the high $20-range (unless you insist on lobster tail) and appetizers in the $10-range, the sampler being the best deal at $20. The whole evening reminded me why I missed DeAngelo when he left town. His food doesn’t call attention to itself, it just makes you happy.

21 Degrees North
Turtle Bay Resort // 57-091 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku // 293-6000 // Dinner Tuesday through Saturday 6 to 9 p.m.  // Validated Parking,  Major Credit Cards  // www.turtlebayresort.com


John Armstrong of 21 Degrees North cooks up a symphony in white: a perfectly cooked scallop atop slices of poached pear.

Photo by Olivier Koning

In addition to Ola, which is DeAngelo’s restaurant, Turtle Bay has the usual array of hotel restaurants, including a high-end dining room called 21 Degrees North—which, if you are wondering, is approximately the latitude of the Hawaiian Islands.

Equipped with wraparound windows and an outside dining lanai, 21 Degrees North is a white-tablecloth restaurant, the sort that offers prix fixe dinners with wine. And that’s the course on which the four of us embarked.

The first course out of executive chef John Armstrong’s kitchen was an amuse bouche, a glass demitasse cup filled with coral-colored lobster bisque. Except for a small bit of sautéed leek, this was largely unadorned. It didn’t need to be tricked up, because it was intensely flavored, its original stock obviously cooked with the lobster shells, adding depth and bite.

The second course was perhaps the most dazzling—a single seared scallop. Scallops are hard to get right: One moment they are too rare in the middle, and the next they’ve gotten rubbery. All four of ours arrived hot, perfectly done and seasoned, as it were, with a dollop of salty Osetra caviar.  This sat atop a beurre blanc flavored with leeks and two perfect slices of poached Asian pear, not too sweet, easily cut, adding something to the rich sauce. The richness of this small dish was cut perfectly by a pinot gris (yes, that’s the same grape as pinot grigio) from Oregon’s Elk Cove in Willamette Valley.

Freshly shucked peas are one of nature's wonders.  There's no faking a fresh pea.


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,June

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