As the brainchild of revered Hawaiin chef Alan Wong, The Pineapple Room is an easily accessible eatery in Honolulu's Ala Moana Shopping Center. It's an upscale yet less formal dining option than Alan Wong's. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, The Pineapple Room serves gourmet Hawaiian fusion cuisine around the clock.
While Alan Wong's main restaurant was a place for him to express himself as a head chef, Wong has said The Pineapple Room was born when one of his chefs expressed the desire to run his own restaurant. Because Wong's main restaurant is only open for dinner, Wong thought that his chef's inspiration and drive would blend perfectly with his ideas to serve a more casual meal from morning to night.
The Waikiki location serves breakfast on weekends, lunch daily and dinner six nights a week. The breakfast menu offers some traditional fare with a local twist, such as biscuits and gravy that's made with local sausage and eggs. Portuguese sweet bread French toast uses a local favorite in place of the expected thin bread. Jump start the day with the Wong Way Bloody Mary that's spiced up with ume paste (fermented plum), li hing mui and a wasabi rim.
The Pineapple Room's sesame "bubu" crusted monchong — Photo courtesy of The Pineapple Room
Mid-day fare is when the edgy local twists really start happening. Wong utilizes local ingredients in appetizers like da poi cup with Hanalei poi, kalua pig and lomi tomato. This appetizer is one of the most gourmet approaches to local food a person can find.
The Bruschetta platter utilizes kiawe grilled bread with Hamakua Springs tomato jam, basil pesto, Hawaii Island Goat Dairy fresh chevre and olive tapenade. For a heftier meal, the kimchi Reuben sandwich puts an Asian spin on a classic sandwich, with homemade kimchi on toasted rye bread, Swiss cheese, pastrami and thousand island spread.
Lunch entrees range from Wong's gourmet version of the loco moco and kiawe-grilled kalbi short ribs with fried rice, kabayaki sauce, ko choo jang sauce and homemade kim chee.
The cocktail selection is simply amazing. Herbal infusions, fresh local fruits and a wide array of drinks and liquors will delight anyone looking for a drink. Local beers offer the best brews in the islands.
Try the blueberry hibiscus strawberry sangria for a fresh drink. — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Dinner appetizer options range from shrimp cargot to ahi chili nachos. The Hawaii Island rancher's ribeye is served on a sizzling platter with sauteed mushrooms and onion and umami butter. Miso garlic butterfish comes with a root vegetable salad, miso wasabi ponzu mustard and tsukemono rice.
Although the decor is sleek and modern with a touch of Hawaiian style, children are welcome. Each meal of the day has a keiki (children's) menu. Diners can go casual for lunch (but not so casual that the feet are still sandy), but dinner requires a little dressing up.