Monday, March 21, 2011

Sam Choy's: Breakfast, Lunch and Crab

I had always heard of Sam Choy's, but until yesterday had never been there.  I went to the one located on Ala Moana Blvd (580 North Nimitz Highway, Honolulu, HI 96817 - map here).  On Sunday they have an all-you-can-eat buffet for $19.95 that is from 9am-2pm.  The other restaurant is near Diamond Head just at the end of Waikiki.  The one I went to is located in Honolulu’s busy industrial district of Iwilei.  Sam Choy’s is a family style, casual restaurant that features huge portions of local favorites for breakfast and lunch. Dinner showcases a variety of fresh crab, lobster and shellfish, steaks, ribs, and chicken.  We went for lunch.  Three of us had the buffet and one person had the Shrimp and Scallop scampi.

The buffet had an omelette bar, short rib carving station, french toast, waffles, portuguese sausage, bacon, corned beef hash, sticky and fried rice, panka-crusted swordfish, squid soup, and some other stuff I can't remember.  All the food was good, but the best food was the sausage and french toast.  The swordfish was great and if you like fish, I would definitely recommend it.  The omelettes were also amazing.  In comparison to the shrimp and scallop scampi, though, the buffet was only "okay."  Everything in the buffet was good, but you could still tell it was from a buffet.  The shrimp/scallop scampi though was unbelievable.  There was so much garlic and butter flavor with pesto.  The shrimp and scallops were also incredibly fresh.  If I went back, I would definitely skip the buffet and order something directly from the menu.  The buffet was no really worth the price unless you went with a massive appetite and were prepared to eat a ton of "decent" (as opposed to incredible) food.

Now, if the cool, casual atmosphere with great food wasn't enough for you, then you can always come for the BEER!  I had no idea that this place was also a brewery.  They have a variety of beers that brewed right on the premises.  The beers are called "Big Aloha Brew." We tried the Big Aloha Lager and the Blonde Ale.  Both were good.  The lager surprised me with how light - both flavor and color - it was.  Neither beer was particularly "distinct," but both had nice flavors.  There are plenty of better places to get good beer on the island, but Sam Choy's has a unique "Hawaiian" ambiance that makes it worth a try.

That said, if you find yourself looking for a good spot to grab some food, try Sam Choy's.  Sam Choy, by the way, is an award-winning restaurateur and best-selling cookbook author.  He is also a TV host who tries to educates people about the diverse cultures and flavors that culminate in Hawaii.

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