Have you ever gone to a new restaurant, hoping that it will be a good dining experience but not sure it will deliver? Usually, I try a new place based on a review or personal recommendation. But in this case, my mom and I decided to try Longhi’s at the Ala Moana Shopping Center just because it was there.
For years – and I mean at least twenty – we have shopped at the Ala Moana, most times parking in the same part of the center near Long’s Drugstore, which we frequent for everything from toothpaste to gin, body lotion to water filters. And, the Ala Moana Shopping Center is huge, so it’s good to have a known go-to spot. Longhi’s Restaurant is on the 4th floor of the mall, right above our go-to spot, and has been for the past 10 years.
Only, we didn’t notice it … until last week, when we strolled by the Longhi’s menu posted nearby and it looked a bit inviting. So, we said, “Why not?” The restaurant looks out over Ala Moana Park toward the ocean, so we thought we might even catch the sunset.
Well, what a surprise! Michael, our attentive waiter who didn’t rush us, and a nice glass of wine primed us for the first course: Artichoke Longhi – steamed and laden with melted butter and Parmesan cheese. So rich and delicious!
Next we pondered the varied list of salads. Upon Michael’s urging, we decided to try the Belgian Endive Salad, even though my mom had her reservations about the ingredients: endive leaves with gorgonzola cheese (which she doesn’t like), caramelized macadamia nuts and a honey-scallion mint vinaigrette.
OMG! I am telling you, in all honesty, this salad is one of the best things I have ever eaten. It is right up there with a buttery omelet I had in the south of France a couple of years ago. The kind of flavor that stays with you, totally tantalizing every bone in a person’s foodie body. Each endive leaf held savory-creamy cheese and crunchy-sweet nuts, drizzled with unquestionably the loveliest taste of minty goodness every created. The flavors melded in such a delicate and delectable way that my mom totally forgot she didn’t like gorgonzola cheese. Bravo, Longhi’s!
We finished the meal with an order of Fresh Clams Linguine that included a large portion of tender clams in a lovely broth, with just the right amount of garlic – plenty for two people.
What a great find after all these years. And the founder, Bob Longhi, is my kind of guy. The restaurant website quotes him as saying, “We want to show everyone that anyone can be a great cook, all you have to do is put your attention where it belongs.” Right on, Bob.
Eat well. Be happy.
P.S. The photo does not show the complete dish because I forgot to take it when the salad came. We were surprised by the interesting presentation, which provoked us to dive into the salad immediately …and once we did, it took everything I had to stop and snap a picture. Sorry.