The Pineapple Room
We recently had the amazing good fortune to be in Honolulu on Father's
Day. Father's Day is not a particularly Hawaiian holiday, but it is
celebrated there, and as far as we are concerned there is no place
better to get into the spirit of the holiday than at the Pineapple Room
in the Ala Moana Macy's.
That's right, the Macy's. The Pineapple Room is run by Alan Wong, one
of the great chefs of modern Hawaii, and a former pupil of Andre
Soltner at Lutece in New York. We had one of his excellent Hawaiian
style dinners there earlier in the week, but it was his Father's Day
brunch that embodied the full spirit of the new wave luau.
What did we like?
We liked everything. We liked the pineapple barbequed baby beef back
ribs. We liked the tempura shrimp on a stick. We liked the pan roasted
duck breast, smoky and sweet, with a sweet potato puree and mushroom
sauce. These and a few other dishes were prepared to order, though most
others were served buffet style. We liked the kalua pig hash based eggs
benedict with its fantastic lomi tomato relish. We liked the seafood
chili with shrimp and wasabi potato salad. How is that for mixing two
fiery cuisines. In fact, we liked every thing with kalua pig, that is,
pig cooked luau style wrapped in ti leaves or banana leaves.
In the above paragraph, change liked to loved.
There were a number of dishes based on kalua pig, including a kalua pig
caesar salad, poi cups with kalua pig, that actually made us want more
poi, miniature lau lau with taro leaves, all wrapped in ti leaves, and,
of course, some kalua pig, with just a slightly sweet sauce.
It was all some kind of fantasy luau, with wonderful Hawaiian and
Hawaiian fusion dishes, perfectly prepared in delicious variations. The
butterfish, arctic char, was rich and crisply cooked with saki. The
lomi salmon and ahi tuna sashimi were fresh and brilliant. Did we
mention the poke? We loved it.
Then came the desserts. We had been dining for hours, but we just could
not leave without trying a few. We settled on their version of
strawberry shortcake, with sturdy, buttery short cake biscuits with
strawberries, and skip the whipped cream. We also had some lilikoi
stuffed malasadas. It isn't Hawaii with some of these local jelly
donuts. We even tried the chocolate coconut malasadas, and loved them.
We aren't sure of who the pastry chef was that day, but he or she
clearly loved dad. Since we were in Hawaii, we also went for the
coconut custard cake, with a real custard and real coconut, and we
split a coconut macaroon. The dessert for our dessert was the tapioca
pudding with mango, blackberries, strawberries and a scoop of passion
fruit ice cream. It made us wish more chefs had discovered tapioca.
We'd order dessert more often.
We left sated. We had eaten all the luau we could handle. Even the
excellent luau at the Kona Village on the big island was put in the
So, what does this all have to do with Father's Day. Well, fathers like
to eat. Uh, fathers like barbequed food - after all, grilling is a
traditional dad thing to do. Let's be honest, it has to do with
celebrating, and there is nothing like a great meal to help one