PABU Boston

PABU Boston opened in November of 2016, after a much anticipated wait for the opening of the Millennium Towers in Downtown Boston. I had been looking forward to PABU opening for almost an entire year, having read about their San Francisco restaurant, and was so excited that Boston would be graced with another high-end Japanese restaurant co-owned by a Japanese chef.

My husband works in the Downtown area, so PABU has become his favorite go-to for after work drinks and a light snack. For his 30th birthday, my husband chose this restaurant, to which I happily obliged since I had been wanting to try it for a while.

The ambience of the restaurant is gorgeous. No questions asked. You walk into the Millennium Towers and straight into a dark elevator which leads you to the restaurant. Once you enter, it really feels as though you’re at a swanky bar in Tokyo. The decor is not kitschy *cough*Hojoko*cough* and I was pleased to see the walls were not adorned with Anime themed decorations and wallpaper. Based off of the atmosphere alone, PABU would be the type of place you would want to take someone on your third date, to show that you’re really serious about them. Lol.

The restaurant has a bar area and lounge seats as you exit the elevator, through the bar area is the main dining room where there are seats in the center of the dining room and the border of the dining room has open covered sectional seating that host about 4 tables or more in each section. We were seated next to a window in one of these sections.

After being seated, we quickly scoured the menu but my husband already knew he wanted to order the kaiseki with the sake pairing. I decided to also order the kaiseki but without the sake.

We started off with my husband’s favorite appetizer, fried chicken skins, and the lobster okonomiyaki.

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The fried chicken skin was fine, good, ok. I would rather take the fried skin off of KFC and eat it, if that tells you anything.

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The “lobster” okonomiyaki with pork belly, atlantic squid, sunny-side egg. Please tell me why this smaller-than-a-CD sized dish cost $18? Also, the “lobster” on top was more similar to crawfish. It was crumbled tiny pieces of lobster…hmm…ok. This should’ve been called “Pork Belly Okonomiyaki with a tiny bit of questionable lobster”. False advertisement! It tasted good, but it was okonimyaki, which has long been called ‘peasant food’ so there is no reason why they should be charging $18 for it. I love myself some okonomiyaki but I can make it at home (and make it better).

After our appetizers came our “kaiseki”:

1st Course: Happy Spoon Oyster with uni, ikura, tobiko, ponzu crème fraîche

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I had read a lot of reviews concerning this dish and several people had said how absolutely DELICIOUS it was. I love ikura and I love oysters, but I was a little weary on the quality of the uni because I have had a lot of horrid uni in the US. I ate the spoon in one bite and quickly regretted my decision. The uni was SO disgusting. Not fresh at all, had that very intense ammonia flavor and it was extremely difficult trying to swallow it all without having to spit it out in my napkin. I couldn’t even taste the rest of the components because I was completely taken aback by the quality (or lack thereof) of the uni. Blegh. Bad start to a meal!

2nd Course: Raw scallop with shiso, yuzu kosho and ponzu & House-made tofu with matcha salt, wasabi, lemon soy

This dish was 2 in 1, with the scallop in one dish, covering the tofu below. This dish was great, the scallop was sweet and fresh and I loved the flavor combination of the shiso leaf, yuzu kosho and ponzu. Refreshing and satisfying. The tofu was also great- creamy and rich, though I didn’t really taste the matcha salt. I’m not sure how the tofu works with the scallop, but anyway all in all a pretty good “course”.

3rd Course: Miso Soup with shimeji mushrooms and asari clams

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Ok, this is where I start getting pissed off. HOW does this constitute a “course” in an $85 tasting? It’s freaking miso soup!! Which is usually FREE at any other Japanese establishment when ordered with a meal. If the soup blew my socks off and was the BEST miso soup I’d ever had, I would forgive this faux pas but it was just plain miso soup. My mother (and I for that matter), make better miso soup at home. HMPH.

4th Course: Miso Black Cod with sweet onion tofu, roasted mushrooms, kabocha

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This was one of the best dishes of the night. The only issue was that this piece of fish was TINY. Like seriously could finish it in probably 1.5-2 bites. The black cod was buttery and tender, with a very subtle miso flavor and the accompanying mushrooms were explosive in flavor. The sweetness of the kabocha puree perfectly complemented the savory umami rich black cod and mushrooms. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. I would definitely want this dish but only if it were 5 times larger.

5th Course: Tempura assortment- Cuttlefish, Smelt and Anago (I think..?)

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The fact that I can’t even remember what the third tempura piece was speaks volumes about this dish. Sure, it tasted good, had good seasoning and was fried nicely, but not something so spectacular that it stood out. Are 3 measly pieces worthy of constituting a course in a 7 course meal? Absolutely not. Listen, I’m not asking for GIANT AMERICAN portions here, I’m just asking for reasonable sized dishes. Not, “Here’s a little amuse-bouche to whet your appetite” sized dishes. The accompanying tempura sauce was pretty good too but again, nothing spectacular. Standard.

6th Course: Hudson Valley Foie Gras with crisp rice, anago, eel sauce topped with candied kumquats

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Anybody who knows me knows that I freaking LOVE foie gras. When done well and as long as it’s fresh, it is one of my favorite ingredients. I am almost always very happy with Hudson Valley foie gras and this was, to some extent, no exception. The foie itself was seared nicely and had absolutely no funk (thank GOD), but the anago sauce. Ooooh the anago sauce. It was cloyingly sweet. Like the kind of sweet (and also a bit sour?) that gives you a headache if you have too much of it. The crispy rice was DRENCHED in this sweet, cloying sauce and the anago really did not add much to the dish. I think the dish would’ve been better off without the anago and if it focused solely on the beauty of the foie itself. The candied kumquat was also..interesting. Had the sauce not been so overpoweringly sweet, I think the candied kumquat would have paired nicely with the foie gras, alas, it was just another sweet element on top of an already too-sweet dish. Such a bummer.

7th Course: Okinawan ‘Donut’ with matcha green tea, confectioners’ sugar, adzuki pudding

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Umm. Please look at that “pudding” and tell me it doesn’t remind you of the poop emoji. Come on!! I’ve had sata andagi (Okinawan donuts) in Okinawa before and these did not compare. It was too greasy, crumbly, lacked flavor and the “pudding” was a weird consistency which was also tasteless. We ended up not even eating this. Blegh.

So that was it. 7 courses, $85, with an additional $40 for the “sake pairing”. My only problem was not with the dishes, it was also with the service. If a restaurant is promoting a “sake pairing” then it should be VERY IMPORTANT to train your staff on the sake flavor profiles. The staff should also be able to explain WHY the sake pairs with the dish and which dish the sake is actually being paired with. It was very annoying that the sake would be poured at the tail-end of a dish and we would be left wondering which dish it was actually supposed to be paired with. Adding to the confusion, the meal only comes with 5 or 6 sake tastings and it was never explained that one sake serving was supposed to be paired with TWO of the first courses. Unorganized and disappointing. Our server also used the same 2 word description for every sake that came out, one of the words being “fruity”. I overheard him explaining the sake to other tables as well, describing every single sake with the same “tasting notes”. It was blatantly obvious that he had either, 1) Not tasted the sake and therefore had no idea what it actually tasted like 2) Simply just didn’t remember what the sake tasted like and hadn’t studied the tasting notes or 3) Didn’t really care what the sake tasted like and just spewed out generic descriptions that seemed to make sense only to himself.

After a frustrating dinner came the bill which amounted to $350 for the two of us. Keep in mind we had only ordered 2 appetizers and I had 1 cocktail. The sake “pairing” was 5 or 6 sips of sake that were not properly described and out of the 7 courses, 2 were almost inedible and 1 was miso soup. Oooooh boy did I have a problem with shelling out that $350. I have no qualms about spending hundreds of dollars on a fantastic meal and excellent service but PABU just did not deliver. It was undeserving of the price tag. Would I come back again? Possibly… but I would never consider ordering the kaiseki or any “tasting menu” for that matter. I would also make sure to eat a full meal before or after, since this meal left us unsatiated.

PABU Boston – 2.8 out of 5 Stars

3 Franklin St
Boston, MA 02110

Downtown Boston

Ph: (617) 327-7228

 

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Baking Day 7: Eclairs

I had a ton of egg yolks left over from my Macaron baking so I decided to use them for my first attempt at making eclairs. I initially wanted to make choux creams since I absolutely LOVE choux cream (cream puffs?), especially the ones sold at Beard Papa in Japan. I think they have a few locations in the US as well but if you’ve never been to one I recommend it. The whole store smells like BUTTAH. They fill the choux pastry to order so the shell is still a little bit crispy and not at all soggy. I remember eating them on my bus rides home from Shibuya to Roppongi since they had a Beard Papa store right next to the bus stop. The wafting smell of butter was just too difficult to resist!

The choux cream recipe in Bouchon Bakery calls for silicone molds as well as making extra cookie dough to put on top of it so I thought I would save that for another day since 1) I don’t have silicon molds and 2) I don’t wanna be baking extra cookies. The eclairs in the cookbook are absolutely gorgeous and as I began making them I prayyyyed that my eclairs would look at least a tiny bit similar.

Pastry Cream

The first step in preparing the eclairs was making the pastry cream. I’ve never made  pastry cream from scratch before so I was a bit nervous. The cream takes quite a bit of work to make (at least it did for me), especially at the end since the cream needs to be pushed through a fine-mesh sieve which took FOR-E-VER. Once I finished making it, I saran wrap on top of the cream and made sure it made contact with the surface of the cream so it wouldn’t form a “skin”.

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Pâte à Choux

I think the last time I made pate a choux aka choux pastry was when I was in culinary school. I also made churro dough once but I remember it not ending so well (super dense churros that just weren’t good). The process itself is quite simple, but it’s SO important to follow the directions EXACTLY. I had some trouble with figuring out when the dough was dry enough to add it to my kitchenaid mixer.

I didn’t want the dough to dry out so I erred on the side of caution and took it off the heat while the dough still looked a little moist. Once the dough’s been added to the mixer, you’re supposed to sloooowly beat in the eggs. I had whisked my eggs to get the exact weight that I needed for the recipe, so slowly adding in the eggs proved quite difficult. I tried using a tablespoon measuring spoon but I couldn’t get enough of the egg in each tablespoon and I realized that would take forever. I started pouring it out of the bowl the eggs were in and immediately most of the eggs spilled into the dough. Major fail. My heart dropped a little but I moved onto the next step – piping.

Piping the dough was not as difficult as I had thought it would be. I didn’t have the correct pastry tip to make the same shape as the eclairs featured in the cookbook, so I just used the coupler instead which has an opening of about 1/2″.

Results

As I began baking the choux pastry and staring intently into the oven, I saw that the dough wasn’t puffing up 😦 I realized that I didn’t dry out the dough enough in the first vital steps and thus, I ended up with an eggy pancakey type texture. Devastating! I had already made all the pastry cream and everything…waaaah! But you know what? We all learn from our mistakes. I ended up having to bake the choux pastry for double the time because of the density of the dough.

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Once all the eclair shells were baked and cooled, I made a chocolate glaze. I didn’t use the recipe that was in the cookbook as it called for a “neutral glaze”, which I didn’t have on hand. I made the glaze with butter, Guittard dark chocolate chips, and added some heavy cream to thin it out. I filled the shells with the pastry cream and glazed them according to the instructions in the cookbook and a couple of the eclairs actually LOOKED like eclairs! Hooray! They also tasted pretty good, but the choux pastry was NOT a choux pastry. I effed that part up so I think I’m going to keep practicing just making the shells until I’m more familiar with the dough.

What I learned making these finicky desserts is that I have a difficult time comprehending the verbiage used in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. I’m also a visual learner so it helps a lot more if I can actually see the steps (i.e., how dry the dough should look before moving on to the next step). The last 2 times I’ve failed in making my desserts, I’ve researched online AFTER my failure. Going forward, I’ll make sure to research and watch some YouTube videos prior to baking more difficult pastries.

Hawaiian Style Mac Salad

I’m a huge fan of mayonnaise. I’m what the Japanese call, “Mayora” which is a blend of the words “Mayonnaise” and “Lover”. In Japan, a lot of products have mayo in them that you wouldn’t really see in the US. For example, there are certain pizza toppings that go really well with mayo like bulgogi pizza, or corn and tuna pizza. Odd flavors right? I know, but it’s SO GOOD so don’t knock it till you try it! Japanese mayo has a different taste than mayo in the US since it has the addition of rice vinegar and MSG (mmm). I grew up loving Japanese potato salad and macaroni salad and I remember being HORRIFIED when I first tried “American” macaroni salad. It was sickeningly sweet and relishy and so gross. I CANNOT eat the stuff.

The only mac salad I eat in the US is Hawaiian style. If you’ve ever eaten local food in Hawaii such as a plate lunch, you’re probably familiar with it. It’s the bees knees. SO good, and probably my fav part of the plate lunch itself. I remember eating plate lunches in Honolulu (yummy’s!) and loving the sauce from the kalbi (marinated short ribs) soaking into the mac salad. At family functions, someone would always bring a huge bowl for everyone to share and that would be the first thing I’d go for.

My family tends to mix some egg into the mac salad but I’ve been looking for a good recipe that doesn’t have boiled egg in it since my husband isn’t a fan of it. I researched a bit on good ol’ google and came across a GREAT recipe on the blog Favorite Family Recipes. This is the only recipe I’ve used since then, adding my own tweaks. For Valentine’s Day, my husband specifically requested this mac salad with kalbi. He’s from New Jersey and had never had Hawaiian style mac salad (or kalbi for that matter) until I fed it to him and now he’s in love with it! lol. This recipe calls for American style mayonnaise such as Best Foods or Hellman’s, but I cannot reiterate enough to NOT use the low-fat mayo. The taste will be completely different and probably a little gross. Just go for the real stuff. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Ingredients

  • 1 (1 lb.) box macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar (optional)
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • Frozen peas, about 1 cup (add as much or as little as you like)
  • 1/4 c. onion, shredded (optional)
  • 2 1/2 c. Best Foods (or Hellman’s) mayonnaise… don’t use the low-fat stuff
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • kosher salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Cook macaroni according to package directions. Lean on the al dente side so the salad doesn’t end up mushy once the mayo has been added. I cooked my macaroni for about 6 minutes.
  • Drain well and place macaroni in a large bowl. I used my Kitchenaid glass mixing bowl since it comes with a lid, but any lidded bowl should suffice.
  • While macaroni is still hot, sprinkle on vinegar and add shredded carrot, frozen peas and grated onion. Don’t worry about defrosting the peas, the hot macaroni will do the job. Toss together until well combined. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
  • In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together mayo, milk, and sugar.
  • Fold mayo mixture into the macaroni until all the noodles are evenly coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • If the salad tastes too sweet, add the rice vinegar with the salt and pepper to balance out the sweetness.
  • The original recipe calls to refrigerate for at least 4 hours, and best overnight. We ate ours after 1 hour in the fridge and it was delicious. Gently stir before serving.
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Valentine’s Day dinner

Baking Day 6: Basic Dough for Batard (3rd attempt)

Fermenting-Shaping-Proofing: Now that this is my third time making this same recipe, measuring and mixing has become a lot easier since I know what to expect and I also am getting better at timing myself. I made the Poolish last night at around 8:30pm, knowing that I would have all day today to make the bread. I’m never quite sure how much yeast to put in my Poolish since it calls for 0.1 grams of dry yeast and my scale only measures whole grams. Perhaps I should invest in a fancier scale…

Woke up to my Poolish looking extra bubbly this morning so I’m hoping I didn’t add too much yeast to begin with but it’ll be interesting to see the end result of overdoing the yeast.

I felt that I was able to shape the two loaves much easier this time, compared to the first two times. I’m starting to get a feel for what the dough should actually feel like, which is helping me shape the dough correctly. I still obviously need a lot of work but I can feel myself improving.

I always mess up the shape of the bread when I place it on my baking sheet. According to the recipe, you’re supposed to transfer the bread from the bread linen, to a pizza peel, to the baking sheet but since I don’t have a pizza peel I just lift the bread from both sides and place it on the sheet instead. I think this really affects the shape and size of my batards. Lifting from both sides actually pulls the loaves and makes it longer. I really need to think of a different way to transfer the loaves to my baking sheet so I can keep the shape intact.

Baking: Again, I had a difficult time trying to add the loaded baking sheet into the oven whilst also adding a cup of ice to the bottom rack. The oven keeps staying open far too long and I think a lot of the heat is escaping in those first crucial moments of my bake. I need to think of a better process to add steam to the oven. I left the bread in the oven for 31.5 minutes.

Results: I felt like I could have left the loaves in the oven for even longer since I am still not getting the deep golden brown color I’m seeing in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook photos. While the shape of the loaves is an improvement from my last two times, I still need a lot more practice. The texture of the bread was a little more spongy compared to the mocchiri (chewy) texture that I liked so much in my last two loaves and I found the loaf to be quite salty. I’m not sure why the bread tastes so salty this time when I added the exact same amount of salt. The bread still tastes fine but I think I prefer the texture and taste of my other loaves. I gave my extra loaf to my cousin and she loved it as did my parents. Perhaps I’m my harshest critique, but I know practice makes perfect and I still have probably 100 more loaves to bake before I actually perfect it!

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Baking Day 5: Macarons (French Meringue Method)

 

I don’t know what it is about these finicky cookies but I have an absolute obsession with macarons. Macaron apron, macaron oven mits, macaron lipbalm, macaron phone case…I’m telling ya, I am literally OBSESSED. It’s been a long time since I’ve made (successful) macarons- 1.5 years to be exact. Back in 2014-2015 I was on a macaron kick and after 3 failed attempts, I was able to perfect the process and often made cute macarons to share with friends and co-workers.

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Matcha Azuki Macaron

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Raspberry and Vanilla Buttercream Macaron (Please ignore the frightening oversaturation)

 

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Salted Caramel Macaron

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Biscoff Macaron

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Biscoff Macaron Shells

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Pistachio Macaron

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Chocolate Ganache filled Macaron

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Salted Caramel Macaron (My first successful batch!)

Anyway, since I had attempted the Bouchon Bakery recipe of macaron using the Italian meringue method and failed miserably, I wanted to make sure I was still able to make macarons using the French meringue method. One of the only recipes I have used that resulted in successful macaron shells is from a blog called Not So Humble Pie. This blogger shares all her troubleshooting tips for making macarons, which is incredibly helpful. Another recipe I used (specifically for the Biscoff macarons) is from Picky Palate.

The recipe calls for powdered egg whites, but since I didn’t have any on hand I decided to omit them (maybe this was my first mistake?). I also didn’t bother to age the egg whites like you’re supposed to but instead zapped them in the microwave for 10 seconds. I’ve used this microwave method before and it worked like a charm, however, I’ve moved into a new place and the microwave is so damn strong (is that the right word??) that I ended up “cooking” a little bit of the egg whites and had to start over with the separating, weighing, etc. such a pain in the butt.

I guess I should have known from the start that I would end up with a complete mess again. I’m pretty sure I overwhipped my meringue but I didn’t want to give up OR use any more eggs than I already had so I just kept trucking on. After mixing in my sifted almond flour and powdered sugar mix, I mixed until I reached what I THOUGHT was the “lava texture” needed for macaron batter. I piped them out on my brand new macaron silicone mat and waited about 30 minutes to let the shells dry before putting one baking sheet in the oven.

I sat in front of the oven to see if I had succeeded this time and was heartbroken when I saw that the macarons were completely flat with no feet. I opened the oven and added my second baking sheet to the lower oven rack. After waiting a few minutes, I was SO excited to finally see feet forming on the 1st baking sheet but that excitement quickly turned to disappointment when I realized the 2nd baking sheet’s macarons had turned WRINKLY!! I have never had this happen to me before so I started furiously researching to see what I could have possibly done to mess up the macarons again.

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😥

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After a lot of research, I think these were all my mistakes:

  1. Not aging the egg whites. I used pretty fresh eggs so I think I was already doomed at this point.
  2. Overwhipping the meringue. I KNEW I had overwhipped the meringue as soon as I pulled up the stand mixer’s head and saw the texture of the egg whites. It looked more chunky and had no gloss to it. The most frustrating part of this is that I had actually stopped the mixer at one point and the meringue was glossy and stiff but being the doofus that I am, I just kept on mixing. DAMMIT!
  3. Overmixing the batter. Again, I had stopped mixing at one point and was debating whether I should start piping, but I decided to keep mixing instead. Such an idiot. I later looked up a video of what “lava texture” was and it was actually A LOT thicker than I had thought. I need to keep in mind that I should stop mixing even when I think the batter is too thick.

I really wish I could have made successful macarons, especially since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I’m going to try to redeem myself by attempting to make some eclairs tonight filled with custard cream since I have so many egg yolks left over. I’m really disappointed in my failed macarons but I suppose that’s all part of the learning process. I reeeeally hope my eclairs turn out ok tonight. Fingers crossed!!

**EDIT**

The macarons looked awful but they ended up tasting really good!! Chewy and a bit creamy from the almond flour. Definitely not a typical macaron taste or texture but I liked it!

 

Pioneer Saloon

I just returned from my week long trip to Honolulu, Hawaii and wanted to review one of my favorite restaurants on Oahu after having another splendid meal there. Pioneer Saloon, located on Monsarrat Avenue near Diamond Head, is an unassuming relatively small, fast casual restaurant. The decor of the restaurant is somewhat eclectic with the back of the restaurant filled with vintage and antique items that are up for sale. There is no wait service. The customers go up to their counter, order food, and pick it up at the counter when it’s ready.

The menu is EXTENSIVE! Considering the space of the restaurant, it never ceases to amaze me how much food they have churning out of their kitchen. Their menu focuses mainly on Japanese food, although they also do have green curry on their menu which I thought was a bit random as there are no other Thai dishes offered. Most of the plate lunches comes with your choice of protein, their side dish of the day (usually pasta salad), and your choice of rice. They offer white rice, brown rice, multi-grain rice and shiso wakame rice. The multi-grain and shiso wakame rice both cost an extra $1, which is totally worth it. In addition to their extensive menu, Pioneer Saloon also offers their version of a “Ramen Burger”, and though I’ve never tasted it myself, I have heard that it is the best on the Island.

On my first visit to Pioneer Saloon, I was told that they had the BEST garlic ahi steak. I am not a fan of akami, or raw plain tuna so I didn’t think I would like the Ahi Steak since it is basically seared akami. I ordered their miso butterfish plate instead which was quite good, just a bit light in flavor like perhaps the fish hadn’t been marinated for long enough. I took a few bites of my sister’s garlic ahi steak and was SO disappointed that I didn’t order the dish for myself!! The fish itself is tender and juicy, with a ponzu based sauce and the whole dish is covered in fried garlic. Oh lawd it’s good. You HAVE to try it to understand the deliciousness of their garlic ahi steak.

Garlic Ahi Steak

Garlic Ahi Steak

On another visit, my husband ordered their braised short ribs which comes with a choice of two flavors: BBQ or Gravy. My husband opted for their BBQ flavor. If any mainlander ordered the BBQ, they’d probably assume it was American BBQ sauce, however, the dish comes with a Korean style BBQ sauce. Slightly sweet and salty with a hint of garlic. The short ribs were very thick slices of kalbi and it was some of the BEST kalbi I’ve had. Having grown up with family from Hawaii, every family bbq includes our own barbecued kalbi but this was something totally different. The kalbi had been braised for what I assume is many hours and the bones slipped right out of the meat. The meat just melts in your mouth and coupled with the sweet and savory sauce is a complete foodgasm.

BBQ Braised Short Rib

BBQ Braised Short Rib

I would rate Pioneer Saloon 4 out of 5 stars. While the food is amazing, sometimes the service can be a little off. It seems they hire young high school or college students who are really unfamiliar with the menu. The last time I was there, I asked about one of the sauces and the girl just told me, “I have no idea”, and didn’t bother to ask anyone even though the owner was right behind her. Having worked in the hospitality business, I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to service. I’m  not expecting service equivalent to a fine dining restaurant, however, I expect employees of restaurants to have some familiarity with their menu. Even if they don’t, when a customer asks a question regarding a dish, I should hope the employee would attempt to ask the kitchen or manager for more information. Overall, Pioneer Saloon is an excellent restaurant with an extensive menu. I’ve come to the restaurant on every visit I’ve had to Oahu since first trying it and plan on making it my regular spot when I’m in town. Any visitors looking for GREAT Japanese food on the Island should come try, I promise you’ll leave very satisfied 🙂

Pioneer Saloon – 4 Stars

3046 Monsarrat Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815

Diamond Head

Ph: (808) 732-4001

Since they don’t have their own website, please check out their Yelp page for more information here 

 

Baking Day 4: French Butter Cakes (Madeleines)

Initial Thoughts: I’ve never baked Madeleines before but I’ve always thought they were so cute and the perfect mini cake to give to friends or to have at afternoon tea. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’ve never baked them before, but I found some gorgeous gold touch madeleine pans that were on sale at Williams-Sonoma so I figured I’d give it a shot.

Preparing the Batter: This recipe is VERY simple. The recipe from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook (where all these baking recipes will be from) makes enough batter for 12 madeleines. Once I prepared the batter, the recipe calls to leave it in the fridge overnight.

Baking: The following day I began by buttering my new madeleine pan by using a silicone brush dipped in melted butter. If you don’t own a pastry brush, I think you can probably just use a paper towel instead too. You keep the buttered pan in the fridge or freezer until the butter hardens, which is a GENIUS idea! I’m not sure why I’ve never thought of this before, but by hardening the butter, it releases the cake a lot easier so you don’t have to worry about “stickage” (I know that’s not a word but I just made it up). Once hardened, I first piped half the batter using a ziploc bag and then spooned the other half into the pan but I realized I had waaaay too much batter in some of the molds so I needed to scoop batter out from the overfilled molds and add it to the other ones. I think this may affect the “puff” of the madeleine because you’re messing with the batter more than you have to. I think using a spoon is the way to go. The madeleines went into the oven at 350 F for 9 minutes. As soon as the tops looked ready, I removed them from the pan directly on a baking rack with the puff side up.

Results: I think I’ve found my new favorite recipe! The madeleines turned out close to perfectly! I’m not sure if it’s due to the pan being “Gold Touch” (not quite sure what that means…will look it up later) but the bottoms of the madeleines browned VERY fast so it’s important to really keep your eye on them. I also removed them once 1 minute too early and I think that affected the puff of the madeleines as well. The cake was super buttery, moist and FLUFFY! Airy and light, these madeleines are dangerous because you can definitely eat a few in one sitting, but these suckers have a loooot of butter in them. Overall I really love this recipe and I plan on making more madeleines in a variety of flavors.