Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kaleo's Pahoa, HI

It's birthday for Thijs and we ate at Kaleo's in Pahoa. It's one of the nicer restaurants in East Hawaii, and they have the awards to show for it. Opened in 2008 in a quaint old Hawaiian town, who knew this restaurant would require more than flip flops and hunger. Today, it's a "dress up" restaurant. The food in a word, is delightful. If you like mozzarella sticks, you'll love their mozzarella appetizer, big knobs of battered cheese served with the most incredible tomato bruschetta-like topping. I've eaten here several times in the last year and have enjoyed a nice array of the menu. I haven't been disappointed once, in anything. Great service, nice atmosphere, INCREDIBLE music, well stocked bar, and a nice variety of food at, what I have to say, is a considerable value. I nearly caught myself telling the staff they didn't charge enough. If they read this blog they'll know. Most of the entrees are around $15 with a few of them topping out around $20.

Tonight's dinner for me started with a nice chicken tortilla soup. It was perfectly seasoned and just the right amount of everything, even chicken, which I often find missing when I order chicken tortilla soup. I shared the mozzarella with the birthday boy. Then I ordered something I almost never order in a restaurant, spaghetti bolognese. I usually steer clear of this because basically it's just spaghetti with hamburger in meat sauce, and how special could that be. In most cases, not very special. It can often range from Spaghettios (tm) to Ragu and cheap burger. Tonight was different. When I first took a bite my mouth was ready for a big flavor, and my first reaction was "hmmmm, where's the flavor?" But then after a moment, the wonderful fact that I tasted a delicate cheesy flavor with just enough tomato sauce to call it a bolognese made me smile. I don't think they make fresh pasta, but it tasted like it could have been made just moments before, so kudos on the pasta making. I did mention to the staff that a cheese grater and some nice parmagiano reggiano would have been a nice touch and they agreed.

They have a nice wine list, and plenty of seating, although reservations, particularly on the weekend are recommended. I've seen people turned away by a potential long wait. What they did instead is beyond me. What do you do after you get dressed up and go to Pahoa and then not eat at Kaleo's? Burger King? There are a couple of other nice restaurants in Pahoa but we'll save those for another post. 

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