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Monday, August 25, 2008

Eating Locally in Town

Town Restaurant in Kaimuki

Town exterior

A friend of ours invited us to lunch at "Town", a recent arrival to Kaimuki's restaurant scene that is known for featuring fresh, locally-sourced ingredients in its ever-changing menu.

Town's menu

Town daily menu

I like their motto at the bottom of the menu: Local first, organic whenever possible, with Aloha always. Their menu is dependent on whatever is available that day from local farms. Of course, eating this way tends to be expensive, especially considering Hawaii's higher costs of farming.

Town Mussels in Fennel, Tomato and Cinzano Broth

Town mussel soup

The kids shared an order of black mussels served in a fennel, tomato and Cinzano broth with pastina pasta. I didn't get to try any of the mussels but the fennel and tomato were very tender. The lemony broth had me wanting more.

North Shore Cattle Co. burger with Gorgonzola

Town North Shore Cattle Co grass fed beef burger with gorgonzola 2

Annie ordered a North Shore Cattle Company grass-fed beef burger on a grilled ciabatta bun. North Shore Cattle Co does a brisk business serving lunch at the Kapiolani Community College farmer's market on Saturdays. People line up and wait a long time for their grass-fed beef burgers and sausages. The wait for Town's burger seemed just as long, as the kitchen was backed up that day.

The burger was worth the wait, though. Annie opted for topping the burger with gorgonzola cheese along with the traditional accompaniments of lettuce, tomato and onion. Even better, the kitchen cooked the burger to medium, just as she asked. Try doing that at other burger places!

Town Vegetarian Panini

Town portabello mushroom panini 2

Our vegetarian friend ordered a panini with sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions and tatsoi. It looked good.

Grilled Opah with Kula Strawberry Salad

Town Kula strawberry salad with chevre and grilled opah steak

I ordered the Kula strawberry salad with arugula, almonds and goat cheese, and added a grilled opah steak. I felt that the vinaigrette dressing overwhelmed the sweet Kula strawberries. The opah had a good texture - firm but not flaking.

All in all, our lunch total came to $60, including soft drinks and tip. That seems like a pretty steep price to pay for lunch. No doubt, the quality of the food is high and the freshness of the ingredients is impeccable. But I don't know if I could afford to eat this way all the time.

Would you pay this much for local, organic restaurant food? Leave a comment!

Aloha, Nate

Town
3435 Waialae Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
808-735-5900

Map image

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8 Comments:

Jenster said...

I'm drooling over those mussels and the vegetarian panini. If the total was $60 for three adults and two kids, I'd say it was pretty reasonable, considering that you were getting high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. Having said that, though, I admit it would be pretty steep for me to pay that much on a regular basis for lunch and I'd have to save it as a "special occasion" spot.

What our family (two adults, two hungry kids) does sometimes is agree ahead of time that we will budget for a nicer restaurant by sticking with water instead of ordering other beverages. Even two iced teas and two soft drinks easily add $10 or more to your order. It's amazing how many more meals you can get out of your budget if you don't order beverages.

Debinhawaii said...

I'm actually a fan of *town* and their other restaurant *downtown* at the Hawaii State Museum. It is a little pricey to do all the time but I feel the quality of what they do is really good. I usually have great meals there.

friedwontons4u said...

I love the quote they have on top of the menu. How true!

If I was able to afford always eating at a restaurant that serves only local and organic food, I definitely would. But I think most people like me don't have that luxury. What I do try to do is buy seasonally. Sometimes I find that seasonal local organic produces are only slightly higher in price vs. conventional produce. It's always a great feeling knowing how your food was treated and where it came from.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Jenster - yeah, we had iced teas and unfiltered apple juice, so that really added to the total.

@Deb - haven't had *downtown* yet - maybe next time!

@friedwontons4u - we always look out for the best deals at farmer's markets, be it organic or conventional. Local and seasonal is the way to go!

Michelle said...

Hi Nate and Annie! I finally have a computer so I can get back to normal blogging and commenting! It was so wonderful to meet the two of you and I hope you had a wonderful rest of the trip, and a smooth trip back too.

I've really been wanting to try this restaurant because I fully stand by their philosophy - especially here in Hawaii. I'd definitely pay $60 for lunch for 5 people, to support a place like this. Your beautiful pictures make me wish I could do it tonight!

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Michelle - hi, great to hear that you're back online!

Go to Town, just try to keep the costs down by drinking water instead.

Laura said...

i love Town! im always craving their house lemonade. i love their ever-changing menu and great, fresh food.

Nate-n-Annie said...

@Laura - House lemonade, huh? I guess we should have gone for that instead of the unfiltered apple juice.