Hawaii Life: Side Street Inn

I never considered myself much of a foodie.  While I have grown to love cooking and the Food Network channel over the years, I would be lying if I said I was game for anything and everything in the food world.

With that said, I decided that I would take advantage of this new life in Hawaii.  As our time came to an end in Kentucky, I started to realize how much we didn't take advantage of the food and places offered in the bluegrass state.  Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't say there was a lot to offer but there were definitely some things.

Recently, I was asked to list my favorite restaurants/eateries on the website TheBesty.com.  I was excited to share and thought it would be nice to share in greater detail on my blog.

So far we have only tried a couple of places exclusive to Hawaii or are considered local.  The first local place we tried was the Side Street Inn.
While driving around Honolulu, I suggested we try something local and we came across this little hole in the wall.  Despite the appearance, the reviews were good and I was excited to try something that the locals ate in Honolulu.

Now, there are two locations for Side Street Inn.  We went to the one on Hopaka Street, so my opinions are reserved for that location.

Now to get to the good stuff....

Parking here is not exactly ideal.  If you are lucky, you can park on the street along the building.  But that parking is pretty limited.  There is a garage across the street.  The upper portion has a low ceiling so I would be careful if you drive a big vehicle.  There is no validation from the restaurant.  So the cost is roughly $6 for an hour.  After 5, the restaurant provides a valet for $5.

When you enter, you will see it looks like a typical hole in the wall/dive bar.  The place is kind of cramped. There is some sports event/game on the tv and people just seem content.  There is nothing special to note about the restaurants appearnace.

Kid Friendly
While they do have high chairs and booster seats, that is really where it ends in terms of the restaurant being kid friendly.  They do not offer a kid menu or even a kid friendly cup.  The first time we went, they gave my son cranberry juice out of a liquor glass.  I must admit, that amused me quite a bit.

Since coming to Hawaii, I have noticed with the exception of chain restaurants there is no sense of urgency when taking orders or bringing food out.  The servers have all been friendly, but I would not recommend eating here if you are in a rush to be somewhere else.  So just enjoy the game and just let the servers come when they do, because both times the servers were slow by mainland standards.

The first time we went there, I had the Hoisin Baby Back ribs, my son had the popcorn chicken, and I don't quite remember what my husband had.  My next visit, I decided to get the shrimp scampi.  Both times I ordered the "award wininning" fried rice and topped it all off with the fried pound cake for dessert.  The hoisin ribs have a smokey/sweet sauce and are definitely something to try if you love bbq and Asian flavors.  Now I would not call them baby back ribs by any means but maybe there is just something I don't know about ribs.  The popcorn chicken is good but nothing unique.  The fried rice is what the restaurant is known for and the portions are HUGE.  It is enough to at least serve 4 people.  The Portuguese sausage and bacon give it something different than what you typically get with your Chinese takeout.

When we returned for a second dinning experience, I was highly disappointed (almost disgusted) by the shrimp scampi.  They brought out this mound of food on a plate.  Grant it, the portion was enough to feed 2 or 3 people.  It was a mound of zucchini and mushrooms with shrimp and parmesan cheese.  Nothing about it resembled what I have grown to know as shrimp scampi.  All of the food sat on top of a pool of liquid that I assume was made of butter and lemon.  The mushrooms and zucchini tasted pretty good but the shrimp was overcooked.  Needless to say, most of it went uneaten.
However, all is redeemed with the fried pound cake with ice cream.  It is so simple and just so good.  There is a light crunch on the outside and then the softness of cake on the inside and the ice cream just tops it off perfectly. It is a must try.

Overall, I do like the place and think it is a great place to try if you want to try something local and if you don't have small children.  If you are staying in a hotel, make sure you clear your mini fridge because there will be plenty of food to take home.