Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dean's Drive-Inn in Kaneohe - Upscale Fast Food

I ordinarily wouldn't post again so soon, but the Cheap Eats guys on KHNL, Lyle Galdeira and Russell Yamanoha, reviewed a place called Dean's Drive-Inn at 45-773 Kamehameha Highway in Kaneohe. Today, Becky's aunt and uncle called to say they were coming over and were going to bring lunch from Dean's, because they saw it on T.V.!

This isn't your typical plate lunch place, although there are some dishes like loco moco. The cooking seems to strive for something more ambitious. One of the obvious signs of this is the thin strands of vegetables that garnish every place - a very nice touch.

Here's what we tried:

1. Two kinds of soup - cream of spinach and chicken noodle. The cream of spinach was a bit too thick, as if it had too much cornstarch. The chicken noodle was hearty, with big pieces of chicken - definitely the better of the two.

2. Mahi mahi, pan sauteed with a mild sauce that had capers. I didn't taste enough flavor to discern a real sauce, but it looked like picatta. It was okay but not something I would order again.

3. The chicken teriyaki was grilled with a nice char and a delicate teriyaki sauce. It was pretty moist. My daughter liked it, and I thought it was pretty good.

4. The next dish was called chopped steak. It looked like a stir fry with onions, celery, carrots, and strips of beef. I thought this had more flavor than the previously described dishes - in general, the food seemed a little under-seasoned.

5. The best dish by far was the lamb chops. I would order these again and again. The most impressive thing is that you get several (6-7) chops that are cooked simply and nicely (again, gently seasoned, but in this case, the full flavor of the meat was all there; there is mint jelly served on the side for those who like that with their lamb). They are the kind you pick up by the bone and just gnaw on them for all they are worth.

We did not try the ahi-cakes that were featured on T.V., kind of a local take on crab cakes. I'll have to try those next time, along with a couple of orders of lamb chops.

Grace and aloha,


P. S. Lamb has an important place in Judeo-Christian history. Lamb was the main item sacrificed during the Passover festival, which was the final event that led to the Hebrews securing freedom from the Egyptians. However, instead of just burning it on an altar, the Hebrews were to eat the entire animal, an evolution in the understanding of sacrifice (Rob Bell's video "The God's Aren't Angry," gives a great explanation of the progression of sacrifice and the deepening understanding of the divine.

When Jesus is about to give himself up to the Romans to be arrested, flogged, and crucified, it is at a Passover meal, or seder, at which lamb was presumably served, although it is not mentioned in the Gospels but it almost definitely was. Perhaps the lack of mention of the lamb was intentional, because throughout history, Jesus became known as the Paschal lamb, the true sacrifice on behalf of all humankind.

So enjoy lamb and keep in mind the grace symbolized in it.

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