I first heard of Sam Choy during the finale of Top Chef® season 2. Touted as the “father” of Pacific Rim cuisine, I couldn’t wait to check his restaurant out when I got to the Big Island!
His restaurant, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, sits on a hill atop a large strip mall/shopping center. Driving up to the restaurant, I couldn’t believe the tacky lighted sign that herald our destination.
A far cry from an elegant restaurant, it is casual dining with one wall opening to a large outdoor patio:
The walls are covered with local art and pictures of Sam:
Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my previous post on Lava Lava Beach Club, all of our dinner reservations on this trip were made after dark. So instead of the gorgeous view that everyone talks about, we sat in the warm island air enjoying the lights in the night sky.
My cocktail was an ode to a mojito with a passionfruit puree. It was light on the passionfruit and heavy on the liquor. Not too tasty.
We started off with their fried calamari:
Our first entree was the Kona Orange Duck:
The other side was Sam Choy’s “award winning” seafood laulau:
It’s a mixture of seafood and vegetables steamed in tea leaves with some kind of coconut creamy sauce. I actually didn’t like this too much. The seafood was quite mushy and the sauce was a bit heavy. Flavor was just ok. It was overall underwhelming for me.
But, I need to go back for that view! Going back next time!