Like Beef?

This month is a riot of ribeyes, a sizzling collection of six steakhouses.


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Photo by Monte Costa

A brass-and-copper cauldron contains kiawe wood and is surrounded by a glass gazebo—all part of the scene at Hy's Steak House.

Red meat is back! Go eat steak! Those were my marching orders for March.  I doubt that red meat was ever really gone, but it’s true that steakhouses are back, bigger, better and more expensive than ever. In 2006, Wolfgang Puck’s Beverly Hills steakhouse, Cut, won both Esquire Magazine's "Restaurant of the Year" award and a design award from the American Institute of Architects.

Puck is slated to bring a steakhouse, probably less stunning, to the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center—right next to the new Beachwalk Ruth’s Chris, as if Waikiki steakhouses were in short supply.



Too many steakhouses made me wonder whether Beachhouse was a good idea. After a deal with New York’s greatest restaurateur, Jean-George Vongerichten, fell through, a group of Mainland consultants convinced the new Moana that Beachhouse, its signature restaurant, ought to focus on steak and seafood. (They got paid for coming up with that clichéd of an idea?)

The problem here: When you tell anyone local the Moana has a new steak-and-seafood eatery, they yawn profusely. It sounds like nothing special—a shame, because it is.

First, the Moana hired chef Rodney Uyehara, of the late, lamented Bistro at Century Center. Although Uyehara has a gift for updating classic Continental dishes (osso buco, steak Diane), he doesn’t get to do that at Beachhouse. Still, his presence means Beachhouse’s million-dollar glassed-in display kitchen is in competent hands.

Second, the dining room is calm, beautiful, comfortable, one of the best in the entire state. So beautiful is the Moana’s turn-of-the-century interior—its columns, high-ceilings, mullioned windows—that the key was to leave it alone.

Photo by Monte Costa

The Beachhouse's stellar interior design.

Tourists want to sit outside, on the veranda. Ask for an inside table with the small upholstered couches.

Steakhouses always have showy, high-end seafood, both as surf-and-turf and appetizers. We began with a seafood tower—lobster tail, king crab legs, U5 king prawns (in other words, shrimp so big you can’t call them shrimp), oysters, ahi sashimi. Those you might expect anywhere. But also on the icy platter, decorated with ogo and sea asparagus, were sliced baby abalone and some first-rate hamachi.

This was the seafood tower for two. There was plenty for the three of us, so much, in fact, that caution suggested we order only two steaks. Not exactly small steaks: a 20-ounce bone-in ribeye of Pennsylvania Amish-raised Angus beef and a 16-ounce American Wagyu ribeye.

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