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HI STEAKS @ Foodland Farms Ala Moana

A friend of mine recently told me there’s a “Hy’s Steak” in the new Foodland Farms in Ala Moana, and I was like “No way! Seriously, a Hy’s, the legendary steak house in Waikiki on Kuhio Avenue is now branching out to Foodland supermarkets?” Lo and behold, it’s actually HI STEAKS (HI = Hawaii), a subsidiary of the Sullivan Family of companies.

So this past week I tried HI STEAKS in Foodland Farms Ala Moana, not once, but twice, and must say, it was VERY GOOD. Not excellent or great, but very good, with two key points that need to be addressed to make it a “5 SPAM Musubi” eatery.

First and foremost, let’s check out HI STEAKS’ menu…

Prices definitely aren’t bad considering the somewhat “upscale” image of the Foodland Farms concept.

As you see, every plate comes with your choice of white or brown rice, with furikake sprinkled on top as option (not mentioned), along with either a Spring Mix Salad, Asian Potato Salad, or in the case on the visits I made, Kim Chee Slaw…


Spring Salad, Asian Potato Salad and Kim Chee Slaw

All there is left after that next to rice is meat, meat, and more meat…


Hawaiian Smoked Meat, Hamburger Curry, Smoked Chicken Thighs and Garlic Shrimp


Grilled USDA Choice Top Sirloin Steak

What’s cool is, if you’re not really sure what to get, they’ll give you a free sample of any meat entree so you can try before you buy…

You have several sauce choices to add to your meat of choice…


Sauces: Teriyaki, Garlic Butter, Kim Jung Un Chee, A-1, Horseradish or Chimichurri

Before we get to the plates I ordered, check out the dining area, which is adjacent to HI STEAKS and Coffee Bean & Tea to the left as enter the market…

OK,, let’s get to the plates, starting first and foremost with the Original Steak Combo (includes a 24 oz. drink, not shown)…


HI STEAK Original Steak: USDA Choice Sirloin Steak with Asian Potato Salad and White Rice topped with Furikake and side of Garlic Butter. $11.99


HI STEAK Original Steak Combo: USDA Choice Sirloin Steak with Asian Potato Salad and White Rice topped with Furikake and 24 oz. Drink (not shown). $12.99

Let’s zoom-in for the “money shot”…

Very nice. Perfectly done medium-rare on the inside, with a reasonable char on the out. Which I was actually surprised at the doneness, being this cut was sitting in a warmer for who knows how long before I ordered this.

But here’s where they drop the ball on two counts. First of all, the steak is WAY under-seasoned, as in almost not at all. I barely tasted any salt or pepper on it. And this was on two separate occasions I tried it. I remember when the Foodland in Koko Marina (Hawaii Kai) used to grill steaks in the front of the store on Kiawe, they used to season it with McCormick’s most excellent Montreal Grill Seasoning, and that used to ROCK. I swear, those were the best steak plates I had of any of the “steak plate” places. I say HI STEAKS needs to use the Montreal Steak Seasoning on these bad boys, and it would ROCK!

I also don’t like the idea of the steaks sitting in warmers that appear like they were grilled off-site. Not only did the steak arrive on the plate luke-warm at best, but by the time I got to the last piece eating it in that air conditioned market space, it was already cold! I really think they should get rid of those ridiculous meat warmers and put a real GRILL there where they grill your steak to order right before your eyes. I swear, if they did that, it would be a dramatic improvement.

Other than those quibbles, the steak was again cooked to medium-rare perfect, quite tender, and the generous dollop garlic butter melted over it certainly helped in the flavor department. As it stands for the steak, 3 SPAM Musubi (very good).

Now that side of Kim Chee Slaw was OUTSTANDING! Very creamy, with a subtle yet not overbearing “hit” of Kochuchang action going on. Where you know it’s Kim Chee Slaw, yet not screaming at you what it is, where it would otherwise punch you in the face. Totally get this if you’re a fan of either slaw or Kim Chee, and wondered what it would be like as a hybrid. 5 SPAM Musubi for sure!

Next up, we have HI STEAK’s Hawaiian Smoked Meat…


Hawaiian Smoked Meat with Asian Potato Salad and Furikake Rice. $11.99

Here’s version 1.0 (the one above was from my second visit)…

Now, you guys who know me, know I know how to make a killah’ Paniolo style Big Island Smoke Meat. So I KNOW (hey wait a minute, that’s too many “knows” lol) what “Hawaiian Smoked Meat should taste like. And I would say HI STEAKS take on it is VERY GOOD.

Let’s look back for a second at my version of “Hawaiian Smoked Meat”…


Pomai’s Big Island style Smoke Meat, served with a bowl of Poi

OK, looking at that, where do you see the difference? Poi, shee-yah! lol But other than that obvious difference, also notice my smoke meat is “papa’a” crispy on the edges, being that I PAN-FRY my smoke meat, just like how you would do with bacon. That my braddahz and sistahz is how you ROLL when you whack some Smoke Meat! Whoah wait, that didn’t sound right. lol

See, that’s  how you do it! An’ ‘den you whack ’em wit’ Poi? Braddah’ cuz! WIN—NN—-NAHZ!!!

Anyways, back to HI STEAK’s Hawaiian Smoked Meat, the execution is definitely there, and the pork itself definitely has enough fat to keep it moist and tasty. The smokiness level is decent, however I think it could be just a tad more smokey. Which by-the-way, they use Strawberry Guava and Kiawe as their smoking wood.

All they have to do to dramatically improve it is simply to pan-fried the smoked meat to the point where it’s papa’a (seared) on the edges like bacon, along with say some onions and bell peppers, that would totally take this from 3 stars to 10 stars!

Oh yeah, the Smoked Meat is served with what they recommend, being their Lilikoi Sauce. Which tastes like a combination of “something fruity” in a sweet ‘n sour way combined with a tomato-ee BBQ sauce, yet not that smokey of a BBQ sauce, if you know what I mean. With that, I think it’s a nice sweet, tangy and robust compliment to the smoked pork, however if I had my way? Poi, baby!

Then we have their Asian Potato Salad, and I will say, this is by far one of the best Potato Salads I’ve ever had. Think Namasu meets Potato Salad and that’s what this is, no more, no less. You know how Namasu style (Japanese pickled) cucumbers taste? Well, imagine in an immersion with the creamy ‘n rich mayonnaise coating tender potatoes, and there you go. This is it. HI STEAK’s Asian Potato Salad. And it ROCKS! If you go here for the first time, GET IT!

HI STEAKS in the new Foodland Farms is actually their second location, as the original is in the Food Pantry on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki, which is a “mini market” subsidiary of the Foodland company.

And let me just say, the new Foodland Farms in Ala Moana is AWESOME. All I can say is your jaw will DROP when you walk through this store. I’ll be posting a complete pictorial walkthrough of the new Foodlands Farms Ala Moana soon, so stay tuned for that.


HI STEAKS is right past Coffee Bean & Tea on the left side as you walk into Foodland Farms Ala Moana

Summing it up, my initial impression of HI STEAKS @ Foodland Farms Ala Moana is again “VERY GOOD!” with room for potential to be great. It’s priced right, the folks who work there are wonderful and the location can’t be beat. Definitely give them a try, which I would say go for the Hawaiian Smoked Meat as your first choice, and hopefully your other half (or party) will order the steak so you can whack that too. Load ’em with butter and sauce and she go.

HI STEAKS
Foodland Farms in Ala Moana Center
Honolulu, Hawaii

The Tasty Island rating:

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Ono!)

Related links:
FoodlandAlaMoana.com
HI STEAKS Ala Moana – Yelp user reviews
HI STEAKS Waikiki – Yelp user reviews
Big Island Smoked Pork – The Tasty Island

10 thoughts on “HI STEAKS @ Foodland Farms Ala Moana

  • September 17, 2016 at 6:13 pm
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    Been meaning to try these steaks! Am loving the fried chicken in the ‘hot’ section of the super market. Thanks for the super thorough post :)

    Reply
    • September 18, 2016 at 1:20 am
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      Aloha Kathy,

      Glad you enjoyed the post. ;-)

      I check out your “Afternoon Tea” blog, and must say,  your photography is INCREDIBLE! I read that you split your life between Manhattan and your home town here in Honolulu, which is pretty cool.. And also that your life pretty much revolves around Tea. I credit my weight loss and management to Japanese green tea. which as you know is rich in Epigallocatechin Gallate, a.k.a. EGCG, that magic metabolism booster.

      Anyway, glad to meet a new blogger friend from Honolulu. I’ll add your site to my links page. Mahalo for stopping by! Love your photos!

       

      Reply
      • September 18, 2016 at 8:20 am
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        Speaking of green tea who weight loss and management, what kind of green tea did you consume and what methods did you use to prepare and did you add anything to the tea?  I prefer cold tea versus hot tea, is that as effective or does it need to be hot tea?

        Reply
        • September 18, 2016 at 9:02 am
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          Kerri,

          Regarding brewing tea cold versus hot, I asked that same question, however the factual pros and cons seemed inconclusive. Particularly whether hot brewing extracts more beneficial chemical compounds out of the tea leaves vs. cold brewing. There’s a pretty good article on the subject here at Arbor Teas Blog.

          That said, I’ve always brewed my green tea hot.

          As for brands, I switch between the imported Japanese brands (from Don Quijote), and also Costco’s Kirkland brand, which is repackaged from Ito En; that’s the best deal. I prefer the ones with the matcha powder in them (usually it’s dusted over the bag inside). Sometimes I’ll buy the “el cheapo” green tea at Don Quijote, however it pales in comparison, both in flavor and color to the Japan brands. All those brands come as tea bags, not loose leaves.

          Keep in mind, I had an exercise routine during the weight loss stage (and still do now), using the green tea mainly as a metabolism booster. I don’t drink as much tea anymore, mainly because it was staining my teeth. I suppose if I brew it hot, then chilled and drink it through a straw, that could work. ;-)

          Reply
  • September 18, 2016 at 3:14 am
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    Pomai, been to Hy with my guy a few times and love it there. Happy now we able

    now could enjoyed it at of all place Foodland .  Love their steaks and see it now

    great.  Only thing missing is a baked potatoe with that steak.

    Reply
  • September 18, 2016 at 3:22 am
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    @Amy,  Lahaina Chicken sell baked potato at Ala Moana food court. It yummy.

    Get some before heading to Foodland for HY steaks.

    Reply
  • September 18, 2016 at 4:14 am
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    Vickie and Amy,

    Sorry if I confused you from the introduction, but again, this is HI STEAKS (a Foodland subsidiary), not a remote branch of Hy’s Steak House in Waikiki.

    Vickie,

    Not sure if you’re aware of this, but Lahaina Chicken Company is owned by the Yummy’s Restaurant Group, headed by Peter Kim, who also owns Yummy’s Korean BBQ, Liliha Bakery and Signature Steak & Seafood atop the Ala Moana Hotel. If you want a top-of-the-line wet-aged ribeye steak with a million dollar $$$ panoramic bird’s eye view starting from Ala Moana Beach all the way to Ewa, head on up to Signature Steak! 4 times the price of HI STEAKS (not including sides, dessert and wine), but totally worth it if you can afford it!

    Reply
    • October 3, 2017 at 8:12 am
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      Operative term – “If you can afford it”!!! :D LOL I can cook / grill anything they offer at ~ 25% of their price (purchased from Foodland) and still afford a 6 pack of Pau Hana Primo beer any day of the week for these prices! Betcha you could too! :D Sad it’s getting to the point that Kamaaina can’t afford to live there any more… That’s me too!

      Regards!

      Haru

      Reply
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  • October 3, 2017 at 8:17 am
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    Post- script – At least Rainbow’s is still holding the line with their “$5.00 at 5 ” special! YES! I still listen to “Hawaii’s Kool Gold” EVERYDAY! :D LOL.

    Reply

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