Pau Hana Patrol: Wings, free cheese pizza slices are hits

Oct. 29, 2010 | 3 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition

Texas Rangers fans Sue and Jeff Wagner, left, and Martyn and Diuana Hafley cheer at Giovanni Pastrami as the Rangers beat the Yankees to advance to the World Series. —Dennis Oda / doda@staradvertiser.com

The Phillies fans were in one section of the room, the Giants fans in another when we stopped by Giovanni Pastrami last week during the National League baseball playoffs. With multiple big-screen televisions on almost every wall, there was a good view of the game from every seat in the house. I didn’t interrupt the fans to play census taker, but from some of the comments overheard I could tell that some were Hawaii residents, enjoying a midafternoon pau hana drink or two alongside vacationers.

GIOVANNI PASTRAMI

Where: 227 Lewers St. (ground level)

Happy hour: 2 to 6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays
» $3 domestic draft beer
» $4 import draft beer
» $4 well drinks
» $5 mai tai
» $5 Blue Hawaii
» $7 Stoli Martinis
» $1 off wine by the glass

Pupu Specials:
» Half-order nachos ($5)
» Half-pound Buffalo Wings ($5)
» Chili Cheese Fries ($5)
» Chips & Salsa ($5)
» Onion Rings ($5)
» Personal Pizzas, seven varieties ($5 each)

Note:

Validated valet parking ($3) is available; driving makai on Lewers Street, turn left at Helumoa Road and then take your first left up the ramp.

There was enough of a crowd that I wondered whether the staff might be a few hands short, but as it turned out service wasn’t a problem. The bartender was attentive enough in keeping up with the almost-full bar while also filling the orders from the hard-drinking fans at the tables; our food order came in a reasonable amount of time with all the hot items still hot from the kitchen.

The Buffalo Wings ($5) were outstanding; the meat was moist, the skin just a bit crunchy but not overfried, the seasonings spicy as expected but not too hot for most palates.

Chili Cheese Fries ($5), enough for two or three people, were good, basic unpretentious bar food — solid, well seasoned and a good foundation for anyone planning to have more than a drink or two. Don’t forget to ask for a fork!

A half-order of Nachos ($5), also enough for at least two people, also was OK as basic bar food. The pile of crunchy chips, some of them a bit burned, was covered with the standard condiments. It didn’t disappoint, but was not as impressive as the wings.

I was definitely impressed, however, by the free cheese pizza that comes by the slice, by request with another purchase between 3 and 5 p.m. Order a drink or other food items and you qualify.

The slice I received was hot, the crust soft and chewy (rather than tough and dry), and the cheeses and seasonings were rich and flavorful. It was gourmet food compared with the chips and trail mix-type

stuff that some bars provide as free pupus

for the cost of a drink.

Had I known it was that good, I would have asked for a slice when I placed my order!

If I hadn’t been so full, I would have ordered a couple of the personal pizzas and continued my research for another hour or two.

Waitresses Julie Pitchford, bottom left, holds up a plate of nachos, and Shellie Boudreaux holds a cheese pizza. Customers are given a free slice with a happy-hour order at Giovanni Pastrami. —Dennis Oda / doda@staradvertiser.com

—John Berger / jberger@staradvertiser.com