Side Street Inn

Where do the chefs go to hang out in Honolulu when they’re done with work?  A question recently asked by chef/food critic/tv show host  Anthony Bourdain .

The answer?  Side Street Inn (1225 Hopaka St. 808.591.0253).

Side Street InnAll photos found from Google Search as I didn’t have my camera with me.

Tucked away literally along a side street near Ala Moana Shopping Center, Side Street Inn is a hidden gem of a restaurant.  Altho parking can be abit of a hassle (they do offer valet, but I prefer parking at Ala Moana and just walking) and the food is a little pricey the quality of the food is well worth it.  The restaurant/sports bar itself is comprised of 4-5 seperate rooms each with at least 2 LCD TVs.  The place is small and tends to get very crowded, usually after work (“pau hana”) hours, typically 4-8pm.

All the food is served ala carte – family style so everyone can share it “pupu” style (finger food). The last time I went, we started off with a Chicken Caesar Salad.  The dressing was excellent and the grilled chicken strips were very tender and juicy.

The most popular item on the menu (and the one they’re best known for) is also one of the most expensive.  The pork chops shown below come in at a whopping $21.

Pork Chops

Served simply with ketchup, the pork chops are thick and pan fried to perfection.  The meat is cut into bite sized pieces and the bones are left on the plate so you can get every last piece of juicy goodness.  Definitely worth the price.

The Misoyaki Chicken is another one of my favorite dishes from SSI.  (Again see below).

Misoyaki Chicken

Breast and thigh meat cut into strips with a miso coating that was delicious and not overpowering of the chicken itself.  The chicken was slightly charred which added a slight crunch to parts.  Served with a small side salad, this dish was excellent.

As a rule to myself, I always order the Kimchi Fried Rice (a local favorite). Seen below in the screen cap of No Reservations.

Anthony Bourdain/Kimchi Fried Rice

The kimchi has a very good and not-at-all overpowering spice that gives it just enough of a kick to make it heavenly.

Unfortunately as with any restaurant there are some dishes that don’t quite live up to rest of the menu.  The Fried Calamari was over-battered and slightly overcooked which made it end up tasting like a mozzarella stick.  The Escargot with Garlic Bread was delicious, but for my taste it was too cheesy and you lost the taste of the escargot itself.  And finally the Chopped Steak with Onions was more like Onions with some Chopped Steak.  The sauce was delicious and the steak was superb, unfortunately the plate was about 85% onions, which for even someone like me who loves onions, was a bit much.

Overall though, Side Street Inn is an excellent place to go for some drinks and delicious food.  Plus it doesn’t hurt that almost everytime I’ve gone there I’ve seen some form of celebrity, whether it be some of the stars from LOST, or one of the local TV news anchors.

It was recently rumored that SSI was closing down due to the terrible state of the economy, but after talking with our waitress last night I am ecstatic to say that those rumors were simply that.  SSI will not be closing anytime soon.

As our waitress said “Where else would everyone go for their pork chops and beer?”



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