Taste Test


Choy. Wong. Yamaguchi. You love to wine and dine at the restaurants of Hawaii’s top chefs.

But high-profile hot spots mean high-profile prices. And these days your budget’s been feeling more like that of a college kid than a high-earning executive.

Here’s some food for thought. For a limited time – like, through Wednesday — you can snag a gourmet meal without breaking the bank at 220 Grille, the pop-up restaurant run by students in the Culinary Intermediate Cookery Class at Kapi‘olani Community College.

Open for just a few weeks every semester, the lunch-only eatery serves as a training ground for Hawai‘i’s next generation of rising food stars, allowing them to test their cook book smarts in a real working kitchen.

The restaurant itself is located in a side-room off of the campus’ dining hall. But don’t be fooled by the paper plates, plastic utensils and cafeteria vibe. What 220 Grille lacks in ambiance it more than makes up for with the quality and tastiness of its Hawai‘i regional cuisine dishes.

There are appetizers like Jambalaya Risotto, Buffalo Style Boneless Chicken, and the scrumptious Mexican Style Braised Pork Quesadillas, stuffed with slow cooked pork, cheese, sweet Island onions, and mushrooms, topped with a chipotle cilantro sour cream.

For your entrée, go for the perfectly sautéed Miso Glazed Salmon, served on a mound of buttery Okinawan sweet potato mash with sugar snap peas and a sesame honey slaw on the side. Then there’s the mouthwatering 220 Grille Burger, seasoned with Cajun spices, garlic and sweet basil, and piled high with mozzarella cheese, lettuce, Kunia tomatoes, onions, avocado and bacon on a toasted potato bun.

There are even tempting desserts like the Braised Pineapple Ice Cream Cone Sandwich and the Tortilla Stacked Apple Pie.

The best part? Every item on the menu is less than ten bucks.

Which means 220 Grille doesn’t just make the grade, it aces the test.

220 Grille Restaurant, Kapiolani Community College, 4303 Diamond Head Road, Ohia Building, Room 220. Open through October 7, Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. View the complete menu here.