Since so many of our all-inclusive customers have been giving us such great feedback about the Hula Grill at the Outrigger Waikiki, Yaling and I decided to dine there this weekend. I thought I would take the opportunity to do a review .
The Hula Grill is part of a group of eateries owned by TS restaurants which include Duke’s right downstairs at the Outrigger Hotel and several other restaurants on Oahu, Maui and California. The restaurant has an excellent staff including dining manager Jeff and Diane the general manager who pay attention to details especially the customers they are serving . I was so impressed when Jeff remembered off the top of his head the dates when one of our customers, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary, were going to be dining in the restaurant in a few days.
The open-air feeling of the restaurant is relaxing Plantation Style; we had a table overlooking the ocean and with the dim lighting this was just a perfect setting for an evening out. The feeling you get is that the restaurant is not that large however, it can accommodate several hundred people including groups. The decor is typical Hawaii and while the name Hula Grill seems cliché (especially for us local folks) there is nothing ordinary about this restaurant at all.
The service was brisk. Our server Lucas was very knowledgeable about the menu and the specials including the ingredients and preparation of the food.
While I wouldn’t categorize the menu as uniquely Hawaiian, it’s completely understandable because they have to appeal to a wide range of customers. You’ll find the typical Mahi Mahi, Shrimp Scampi and even New York Steak. There were some interesting items that did catch my eye including a Shrimp and Mauna Kea which is a Goat Cheese Quesadilla, Asian Style Crab Cakes which is shitake mushrooms, sugar snaps and Kahuku corn on fresh ramen noodles. In the center of the menu is a box that says “Hula Grill Specials” which features nightly creations of fresh seafood meats and produce. I highly recommend that you pay attention to the waiter who will tell you all about them!!
Yaling and I decided to sample something off of the typical menu and one of the specials and then share. We chose The Macadamia Nut Crusted fresh Mahi Mahi and the Special offering of Mong Chong, By the way, a lot of people think that the name of this fish means a “bloody idiot.” Yaling confirmed this with her Mom in Tawian, it does not have that meaning at all, they have have no idea how someone could derive that meaning.
We started out with some fresh nalo greens which had a wonderful orange sesame dressing and then we went right on to the main course. The very fresh Mahi Mahi was prepared to perfection, the chef did a wonderful job and with the compliment of Hupa Rice it was really wonderful however, the portions were a bit modest.
The Monchong special we ordered was superb also with the hupa rice and pineapple coleslaw this dish was to be savored. Monchong is is a whitefish with a surprisingly rich flavor, and Jeff the dining manager predicts it will be even more popular than mahi-mahi in years to come. It has a similar taste to Sea Bass but more of a buttery flavor.
Unfortunately they were out of their famous mashed sweet potatoes but we’ll save that for next time. We topped it off with a wonderful dessert which was called “Baked Hawaii” which is a combination of upside down pineapple cake with a homemade meringue.
After dining at Hula Grill this weekend I clearly see why so many of our customers are having such a wonderful experience there. I highly recommend the Hula Grill to visitors as well as locals who want to just “hang loose” and relax in Waikiki.