Pau Hana Patrol: Set sail for Chart House

Feb. 14, 2014 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
Seating in the Chart House lounge offers a view over the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor. (Bruce Asato / basato@staradvertiser.com)

Seating in the Chart House lounge offers a view over the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor. (Star-Advertiser photo by Bruce Asato)

BY MICHELLE RAMOS / mramos@staradvertiser.com

I was in Waikiki, it was a Wednesday after 10 p.m. and my friend and I were starving. What to do?

I searched so you don’t have to: Chart House Waikiki has a late-night happy hour, seven days a week.

A look at the drink prices on the happy-hour menu posted on the restaurant’s door lured us in. A lychee martini ($5) sounded good, and well drinks and margaritas were the same price.

There were also daily drink specials, which on this night included a Washington Apple ($4.50) made with Crown Royal.

CHART HOUSE WAIKIKI LOUNGE

1765 Ala Moana Blvd.

(808) 941-6669

HAPPY HOUR

4:30 p.m.-closing Mondays; 4:30-7 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 5 -7 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays; 10 p.m. to closing daily. (Food is served until 11:30 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and until 12:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.)

» Lychee martini, $5
» Well drinks, $5
» Oyster shooters, $6 for three
» Fish tacos $9.75
» Ahi wontons, $9.50

My friend is a beer drinker, and Chart House offered domestic brands at a reasonable $4.50 during happy hour, with 16-ounce drafts at $5.75, and Steinlagers were $4.75. There also was an extensive food menu.

For people who love seafood and don’t mind spending a little more, this is a good destination for late-night happy hour — and the prices come at a discount to the regular Chart House offerings.

The late-night happy-hour menu includes oysters Rockefeller ($15.25), escargot ($10.95) and shrimp and scallops scampi ($11.50), along with oyster shooters ($6 for three), fish and chips ($8), calamari ($7.95) and ahi limu poke ($9.75).

A WALK up the steps brought us into the lounge area of the restaurant. The open-air room looked decent but a little worn.

A hostess was there to greet us, pointing us straight ahead to the bar. We were pleasantly surprised that there was live music playing as we walked in.

A bunch of women were seated at tables right in front of the duo performing, and another two dozen or so customers were scattered throughout the lounge, many of them filling an area that looked out to the Ala Wai Harbor, which the restaurant overlooks.

We sat on the less crowded side of the bar, where we watched a basketball game on one of the three TVs in the lounge. I also noticed another menu hanging over the bar with wine choices and, according to the bartender, a few more nightly food specials.

The bartender told me Kimmi’s Firecracker Unroll ($12 at happy hour) was a popular choice, so I ordered it — and it was good. I was served about 10 nice-size slices of raw ahi with onions (like poke but with bigger pieces of fish) on a bed of white rice, topped with mayo-Sriracha sauce and lots of strips of nori. Off to the side was a palmful each of pickled red ginger and fresh kai ware sprouts.

At that moment I wished I was there with a bigger group so I could try more of the seafood items. And so that someone could help me eat the Firecracker Unroll: It was huge.

The friend I was with does not eat seafood, so we also ordered a half-order of the fried rice ($6.75) and half-order of pork chops ($8.75), which consisted of two crisp-on-the-outside and juicy-on-the-inside pieces simply seasoned with salt and pepper and cut into strips, bone included.

For those who don’t eat seafood, the happy-hour menu also includes tofu poke ($5.95), Caesar salad ($6.25, $9.95 with chicken), spinach salad ($12.25), garlic chicken ($8.25), New York steak pupu ($24), teri bites ($7.95) and soybeans ($6.25).

Sizzling steaks are also available for $2 off the regular dinner prices ($35.50 and up).

Our drinks arrived quickly, and the lychee martini was good, although served in a smaller glass than what I was used to getting. But, then again, it was only $5.

WHILE we waited for our food, the band announced its last song — “Smooth,” by Santana — and the women sitting in front all got up to dance. It’s a plus for late-night happy hour that the music continues until 10:30 p.m. Wednesdays and until after midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

Chart House definitely has its own fan club. A male customer sitting a couple of stools away from us must have been a regular; the waitress and bartender greeted him as an old friend as soon as he walked in.

Another man sat on the stool next to me and ordered fish tacos. All I could see was the coleslaw on top, so I asked him if there was enough fish under there. He said there was plenty and that it was a repeat order for him. It was his third time at the restaurant that week.

I could probably eat there several more times in a week, too, with such a varied menu to choose from.

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