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Harry Lyons’ Bill of Fare: Arthur’s

It is with great honor to present to you Harry Lyons’ Bill of Fare: a guide to Hawaii’s finest restaurants, including dining tips, cartoons and recipes. Most of the restaurants of which are no longer in business, being this out-of-print book was published in 1972.

For those of you too young to remember or know, the late Harry Lyons was most famous as the editorial cartoonist for the Honolulu Advertiser from 1959 to 1979.

Of whom to note, if you remember Harry Lyons, then you probably also remember the late Corky Trinidad (I work with his son), who was the editorial cartoonist for the Honolulu Star Bulletin from 1969, all the way up to his passing in 2009. You can view Corky’s work at his tribute website here.

Harry eventually got into sports writing with his own column titled “Lyons Through His Teeth”.  After Harry left the Honolulu Advertiser, he moved to Kona where he worked for West Hawaii Today, Kona’s daily “rag”. His section in that paper was titled “Lyons on the Loose”.

He would eventually have a falling out with West Hawaii Today, moving on to start his own monthly jocular magazine called Harry Lyons’ Kona Coast, which he ran alongside his wife Vonnie. Regular columns in this magazine included topics on local art, fishing and travel, written by Kona’s best experts in the field.

Kona Coast magazine at the time also served as the town “tattler”, meaning any gossip Harry found out about while “wala’au’ing” (talking story) with the locals in the bars, would end up being published. So, say he found out a local politician was having an affair with the hot cocktail waitress in the bar he was at, then yup, it would wind up depicted as a cartoon in his magazine. “Hey, hey, HEY! that’s me!” lol

Harry passed away in 1989 at the age of 59.

Being he never had children of his own, Harry Lyons’ work is difficult to find in one collective place. I had the good fortune to be given a copy of this absolutely fantastic book from Tasty Island reader Wally C. of Kona, who was a dear, personal friend of Mr. Lyons, and whom to this day is a huge fan and collector of his work. Other notable people to collect Harry’s work included President Lyndon B. Johnson and Peirre Salinger, former Press Secretary for John F. Kennedy.


A note from the chubby author, Harry Lyons

Without further ado, let’s check out what’s in the book.

Harry Lyons’ Bill of Fare table of contents:

  • Arthur’s
  • Beethoven’s Fifth
  • Blue Dolphin Room
  • Buzz’ Original Steak House
  • Buzz’ Steak N’ Lobster
  • Byron II
  • Canlis
  • Chaco’s
  • Chart House
  • Chuck’s Steak House
  • Club Jetty
  • Coconut Palace
  • Columbia Inn
  • Comito’s
  • Coral Reef
  • Crown Room
  • Ferdinand’s
  • Golden Cape
  • Halekulani
  • Hanohano Room
  • Huggo’s
  • Hula Town
  • J.J.s Broiler
  • K.K. Tei
  • Kemo’o Farm
  • Kobe Steak House
  • Kona Steak House
  • Lahaina Fishmarket
  • Landing, The
  • Maile Restaurant
  • Martin’s Mexican Dining
  • Michel’s
  • Mister Christian’s
  • Momoyama
  • Monarch Room
  • Nick’s Fishmarket
  • Outrigger Spaghetti House
  • Pat’s at Punalu’u
  • Pieces of Eight
  • Pineapple Hill
  • Pinky’s Broiler
  • Polynesian Room
  • Quee Queg
  • Red Vest
  • Rudy’s Italian Restaurant
  • Ryu Teriyaki
  • S.S. James Makee
  • Ship’s Tavern
  • Shores, The
  • Spaniolo
  • Sugar Cane Inn
  • Sunset Lanai
  • Sun Sun Lau
  • Third Floor, The
  • Top of the Ilikai
  • Volcano House
  • Waimea Village Inn
  • Whale’s Tale
  • Willows, The
  • Winter Garden
  • Wo Fat

Features:

  • Everything you always wanted to know about wine
  • Royal welcome
  • Tips for tipplers
  • Guess who’s coming to dinner?
  • Recipes

I bet right now many of you old enough are probably saying, “I remember those places!” and “I proposed there!”. Or “That’s where I met my wife!”

What’s as notable in this fantastic dining guide of Hawaii eateries of yesteryear, aren’t just the fun-to-read, very thorough, well-written reviews by Harry himself, but also the cartoons he drew that depicts each restaurant in a whimsical light.

In this ongoing chronicle series of Harry Lyons Bill of Fare, I’ll share each review.

We start in alphabetical order today with the first review on Arthur’s, which to note is no longer in business. Foster Tower Hotel is now a residential property, with Cheeseburger Waikiki and several other retailers on the ground floor.

Enjoy the beginning of this long journey down memory lane with Hawaii’s beloved editorial cartoonist, Harry Lyons!


Arthur’s

ARTHUR’S
Foster Tower Hotel
2500 Kalakaua Avenue
Waikiki
Tel. 923-8355*

The great dining room is almost hidden in the fast, noisy setting of one of the world’s busiest resort areas.

Its neighbor across Kalakaua Avenue is famed Waikiki Beach, where bikini’d bodies (instead of gourmet dishes) are roasted to golden perfection. ARTHUR’S massive rich wooden doors open into a world of quiet elegance, a fine restaurant completely insulated from the bustle outside.

It’s a haven of rich burgundy-wine red tones, glove-soft tufted leather banquettes and expensive woods. You walk through a little archway, past the more informal dining and cocktail lounge area, into the main dining room. Settle into your comfortable booth, order a cocktail from your black-jacketed waiter and study one of Hawaii’s truly outstanding bill of fare.

Take a moment to savor the atmosphere: ARTHUR’S has a Continental relaxed aura to it. Namesake Arthur Stuman has contributed many ornaments and artistic treasures from his travels. A magnificent chandelier of crystal and burnished gold is a focal point of the room. Beneath it an intricate hand-crafted glazed china bower of flowers perches at the apex of four velvet booths. Softly lit oil paintings in gilt frames reflect the rich wall coverings.

The red, gold-lettered menu has obviously been put together with care, impeccable taste and imagination.

A fabulous selection of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres starts you off in the right direction on a culinary trip to be remembered. If you fancy a cold appetizer, try the sliced smoked king salmon, Iranian Beluga caviar or a palate-refreshing dish like prosciutto and papaya. The hors d’oeuvres include escargots, marvelous crepes stuffed with ham and gruyere cheese and sauce Bechamel, Couquille St. Jacques or my most recent discovery, Bouchee a la Nantua. This one is listed as “a patty shell filled with bay shrimps in a savory grayfish (don’t they mean crayfish?) sauce,” but I can only call it a delicious array of seafoods in a rich cream sauce.

ARTHUR’S is one of a very select few Hawaii restaurants to earn Holiday Magazine’s top award for culinary excellence, and I’m sure they’ll continue to deserve it. One of the reasons is their soup and salad list, too often glossed over by other dining spots. Choose from ARTHUR’S salad maison, a special house plate that is perfectly presented in color and texture, hearts of palm or artichoke or Caesar salad.

I’m a soup buff, and I usually sate myself here with their silk-textured chilled vichyssoise, the green turtle soup with sherry or the creamy rich seafood bisque of shrimp and lobster.

There are a couple of dozen entrees of extraordinary beef, fish, fowl and lamb. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but my very personal choice is usually between ARTHUR’S fantastic steak Diane (I have the recipe here.); poulet au champagne, chicken in a  sauce of champagne, cream and mushrooms; lobster thermidor or frog legs, Provencale; or a delectable selection for two (if I’m lucky that night) like entrecote of prime rib or chateaubriand.

Please don’t ask me about the desserts. They’ll put me on a scale. Ask that skinny waiter over there.

PRICE RANGES:
Ala Carte Entrees: $4.75 – $9.00
Coat and tie recommended.
___________________________________________

STEAK DIANE
1 oz. butter
1 8-oz. filet (butterflied)
1 oz. brandy
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. French Dijon mustard
2 oz. dry sherry wine
1/3 c. bordelaise sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Salt and pepper slightly your filet. Saute in hot skillet both sides to your liking.

Flame with brandy, and remove filet from skillet. Add shallots, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Deglaze with sherry wine. Stir thoroughly and simmer until reduced to one-half. Add bordelaise sauce. Stir firmly to obtain a smooth sauce. Pour over filet and serve with your favorite vegetable. Serves one.
___________________________________________

~ Harry Lyons

*Arthur’s is NO LONGER IN BUSINESS.

Pomai’s notes

Did you take notice of the price ranges?! “$4.75 – $9.00. Coat and tie recommended.” Ha ha ha!

It sounds like many of Arthur’s dishes were prepared with alcohol of some sort. I’m guessing Arthur’s was in the spot that is now occupied by Cheeseburger Waikiki, which just reopened this weekend after a major renovation. It’s really nice! Big screen TVs cover an entire wall near the front on Kalakaua Avenue.

I’m so making Arthur’s Steak Diane recipe. I love tableside dishes. I make a pretty kick @ss Steak Au Poivre! The secret is the Brandy (or Cognac if you can afford it). No scade ’em! The fiyah!

Beethoven’s Fifth

In the next installment, Harry Lyons reviews Beethoven’s Fifth restaurant, also a bygone Honolulu eatery formerly located on North King Street….


Beethoven’s Fifth restaurant – cartoon by Harry Lyons

The Tasty Island related links:
Oahu Eateries Memorialized
Oahu Bars & Nightclubs Memorialized

10 thoughts on “Harry Lyons’ Bill of Fare: Arthur’s

  • August 10, 2014 at 7:41 pm
    Permalink

    He sounds like he had many stories to tell, but I think you mean “Tattler” instead of “taddler”.
    I love reviews, recipes and general food culture from bygone eras.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2014 at 7:50 pm
    Permalink

    h,

    Dang nabbit. As good as I think I am with spelling, that one escaped me. Fixed. Mahalo!

    Believe me, after I get finished going through archiving this book, you will certainly know the landscape of Hawaii’s dining scene as it evolved during the late 60’s and early 70’s. At least from what I hear, a magical era, especially in world-famous Waikiki. ;-)

    Reply
  • August 10, 2014 at 10:04 pm
    Permalink

    I also wanted to say, in honor of Harry Lyons and Corky Trinidad, being somewhat artistic myself (aren’t we all?), I’m going to start including my own cartoon drawings for each post on this blog.

    Taking no more than 5 minutes to pen out, this is a totally crude draft of a cartoon representing one of my most recent posts about a Chili & Rice bowl (except it’s actually a plate lunch) from Rainbow Drive-In on the eve of Hurricane Iselle…

    Very crude indeed, that a 5 year old could draw, however, I’ll get much more refined in future attempts, yet not sure yet which caricature and simple line art style I’ll settle with. Stay tuned and find out!

    Reply
  • August 11, 2014 at 12:04 am
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    Wow, that when there no such person as a foodie. Now more people are becoming gourmet. No such thing as taking pictures of food as of now.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2014 at 4:48 am
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    Pomai-
    This is a great book. I found it last year in a used book store in Kailua and couldn’t NOT buy it! It is so classic Hawaii. It made me laugh a little when I paid almost $15, and the original price was $1.95! It was worth it. Thanks for the bit of history behind it.

    Reply
  • August 12, 2014 at 7:26 am
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    @ Doreen – “Kona” Wally got a copy used on Amazon for just $3. There’s a few used copies on there right now going for $15.

    @ Kelike – Upon reading Harry’s excellent descriptions in his reviews in this book, I’m inspired myself to be more creative with my vocabulary. His delivery is almost erotic. I especially like the way he details his explanation of each restaurant’s decor. You’ll as I add more reviews.

    h – Um, thanks. I’ve got quite a clever cartoon coming up for my next review!

    Reply
    • August 12, 2014 at 9:09 am
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      Can’t wait to see it. I’d love to be artistic. I have masterpieces in my mind, but my hands… they won’t cooperate.

      Reply
  • December 14, 2014 at 4:58 am
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    Harry Lyons actually had three children.   Jennifer (Washington State), Steven (Deceased) and Stacey (Honolulu, Hi.  Many of his cartoons were in my grandmother’s attic in Scarsdale, N.Y. (where Harry grew up).  He started cartooning at an early age (9?) for the White Plains Reporter isparch.  The cartoons in the attic were a treasure.  Many cartoons had appeared in Look, Life and Saturday Evening Post.

    Reply
    • December 14, 2014 at 5:59 am
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      Timbo,

      Mahalo for the info’ about Harry and his children. Didn’t know he was from New York. Which reminds me that I need to follow-up with more content from his book.

      Reply

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