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Old 11-02-2006, 02:16 AM   #1
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HI - Waikiki ... The Diamond Head Grill at The W Hotel

So on Halloween night, one of my friends and I decided to have dinner at this restaurant before walking into Waikiki to see all of the different costumes that people wear. For those who don't know, Waikiki turns into a huge block party on Halloween night with thousands of people wearing as many different constumes as you can imagine. The hotel is off the main strip of Waikiki, so it was a good place to eat at and park at since we wouldn't have to deal with all of the traffic.

The W Hotel is a trendy, contemporary modern hotel which caters to a younger crowd (20-30 somethings). This was the third time that I've been to this restaurant, but the first under their new chef. While the flavor in the food was there, presentation I thought was a little disappointing. Prices were in the $9-18 range for apps/soups/salads and in the $23-40 range for entrees. So here's what we had:

First up was their ahi tartare ($15), which consisted of diced big eye tuna, and chopped nicoise olives, capers, shallots, and tomato. It was finished with minced chives and extra virgin olive oil. The flavor and the quality of the ahi was good, but it was overpowered somewhat by the saltiness and brineyness of the olives and capers. The good thing though was that the olives and capers weren't in every single bite. I probably would've incorporated the olives and capers into a vinaigrette, drizzled that around the tuna and let the guest add however much they wanted to every bite of the tartare:

The second course we had was their Frito Misto ai Fruitti di Mare ($13), which is basically a mixture of lightly battered deep fried seafood. It's an Italian inspired dish, and their twist on it was that they served it with grilled lemon. Grilling lemons are supposed to concentrate their sugars, and give a more mellow and sweeter flavor. The seafood in the frito misto contained shrimp and calamari, and there was also fennel which was a nice contrast. While I wasn't too blown away by the ahi tartare presentation, this one was worse. Flavor wise, it was probably the least favorite of the dinner, although it was in essence the easiest and the simpliest to make:

For our third course we had the foie gras ($18). I think I order foies gras in every single restaurant that I go to if it's on the menu. This was probably my favorite dish of the night, and the best executed by the restaurant. The foie gras was simply pan seared, served a top a warm salad of grapes, shallots, and pancetta, with a drizzle of white truffle oil and a raspberry port reduction:

For the main course, we both ordered the scallops ($33). At this point I wasn't expecting anything from them presentation-wise, so I wasn't disappointed when
the dish arrived. The scallops though were perfectly pan seared to medium doneness, and we're sweet and tender. The dish also camed with braised lentils, braised napa cabbage with bacon (under the foam), and a lemon-tarragon foam. My one gripe is that the lentils were watery. I'm not sure if their intention was to serve it that way, but I don't usually make or get lentils in a restaurant that's swimming in a broth. Overall the dish was ok, but I could definitely make a better scallop dish in the dark with one hand.

For dessert we shared their sampler platter ($20), which was my second favorite dish after the foie gras. That's actually not a good thing for me, because I'm not really a dessert person as it is. My favorite was dark chocolate pyramid on the left, as well as the mini-creme brulee. The other desserts are a cheesecake with berry compote, mango sorbet in a shot glass, and raspberry mousse with ladyfingers.

Overall I would only recommend this restaurant for purely the ambiance and service, which is a shame because their food under their previous chef was really good. I can see what they're trying to do with menu, but both the flavors and presentations need to be tightened up and tweaked. Besides the foie gras and the desserts, the other dishes could've actually been really good, but flavor-wise there was either something missing or there was an abundance of another ingredient that shouldn't have been there. For food, I'd probably give it a 5, service an 8, ambiance a 9, which gives it a 7.5 overall. Decent, but not that great for $200 (food, wine, tax, and tip).

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Old 11-02-2006, 08:12 AM   #2
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Wow, iron, what a fantastic review that was!

Based on what you said, the photos, and the prices, I would definitely skip that one (next time I'm in Honolulu).

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Old 11-02-2006, 01:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by QSis
Wow, iron, what a fantastic review that was!

Based on what you said, the photos, and the prices, I would definitely skip that one (next time I'm in Honolulu).

Yeah, I was really expecting a lot more considering their previous chefs. Their wine list was decent by the bottle, but their by the glass selection wasn't that great either. I had to go by the glass since the friend that I went with doesn't drink. At least they were pouring Rex Hill Pinot Noir which is always consistently decent.
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Old 11-02-2006, 05:26 PM   #4
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We stayed at the W in Seattle a few weeks ago. My soon to be bil had a conference there, so the kids and I went and stayed with my sis and visit. Unfortunately, we didn't eat at the restaurant. Can you imagine 2 wacko kids in such a trendy place? It felt a little strange just walking in the hotel with them. I would have loved to have eaten there though. Fancy pants.
"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings." https://aidancallum.blogspot.com/
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Old 11-06-2006, 02:16 AM   #5
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Flat out fantastic dude..Thanx!
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Old 11-08-2006, 03:06 PM   #6
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The pictures of the food that you had were wonderful. The next time I am in Hawaii I must eat at The Diamond Head Grill At The W Hotel.

Thank you very much for sharing.

Jill and Jolie
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Old 11-08-2006, 06:18 PM   #7
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Just some thoughts, on the basis of your photos and comments.

1) The Ahi Tuna dish looks/ sounds as if it was "over fussed".Olives, tomatoes, olive oil, capers, onion, ... it's a "KISS" situation, eh?!
There's a chef over here who prepares his tuna with a little bit of green onion, a pinch of salt and soya sauce. He places this on a bed of crispy rice, then tops it with masago (crab eggs?) and black sesame seeds. Served with a finely julienned cucumber salad and mustard mayonnaise. It's delicious, because I've tried it!

2) Fritto Misto - I have a feeling this dish may have originated on the coast of Italy when the Chef had a bunch of bits and pieces of seafood left over...
What I remember is the super-crispy, very fresh-tasting, deep-fried seafood bits - with lemon juice. More KISS, I think.

3) I won't comment on the Foie Gras because I'm not a meat eater.

4) The scallops are also suffering from lack of KISS. Looks to me more like an "Asopado de Vieiras" to me. I'd have incorporated the bacon and cabbage into the lentils, then semi-blitzed the result in a blender to get a rough purée - in fact, more like an Indian Bharta. Place the scallops on the puréed lentil "mound". Lemon juice on top, maybe; or decorate the dish with lemon quarters. No foam - that's for Firemen!! Maybe a lemon/tarragon mayonnaise?

5) The dessert platter looked awful, even though the flavour ( as you commented) was very good. The plate is grossly overcrowded, to begin with. There are at least 3 different cups/pots/glasses/thingies which do not mix. It looks as if they were just dumped on the plate to get them out of the kitchen. I'd also have thought the servings were far too big, although it's a bit difficult to judge from the photo.

Again - just thoughts! I obviously do not want to criticise, because that would be absurd. I wasn't even there! However, sometimes we tend to go overboard trying to pair multiple ingredients when it is not really necessary.

Observations, anyone?
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hawaii, oahu, waikiki

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