sam choy’s kai lanai

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.

IMG_8786 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:

IMG_8785  These were some generous portions of squid!!  No calamari hair or cheap circular pieces, these were hearty chunks of meat!  And the spicy horseradish cocktail sauce it was served with?  Delicious!

Our first entree was the Kona Orange Duck:

IMG_8788  Roasted with five spice and soy, it’s got a great orange sauce with honey and macadamian nuts.  The flavor in this was fantastic and the grilled asparagus was a nice side.

The other side was Sam Choy’s “award winning” seafood laulau:

IMG_8791  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!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s