Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Last night I went out to dinner with my friends at Prima.  This was my first time at this relatively newly-opened restaurant, so I thought a review is in order.  Prima is located near Foodland in Kailua town. They have both indoor and outdoor seating.  We chose to sit outside, and liked it, even though it looked directly at the parking lot. I was not too impressed by the decor, bland modern restaurant look.  

The food, however, was very good.  We have tried quite a few items on the menu, and while the portions are tiny, most of the dishes were excellent.  My three favorites were:

Maitake mushroom, pickled hon shimeji, cremini, cauliflower puree

 Fennel Panna Cotta, fennel stem marmalade, coffee salt

Ahi Crudo, prosciutto, heart of palm, mint, chili, pineapple vinaigrette

The ahi was heavenly.  The mushroom dish was great, particularly the cauliflower puree. I will have to make this at home.  The fennel panna cotta was perfection, though the coffee taste was not very noticeable in the coffee salt. 

Roasted and marianted beets, taleggio, purslane, sesame, cumin
It was good but nothing to write home about.

 We also had the brussels sprouts with prosciutto and bordelaise, which was tasty, and two of the daily specials: the foie gras, and 

carrot mousse with a poached egg on top.

I liked the mousse, and it was very nicely presented.  The last two items we had was the risotto with asparagus and preserved lemon, which I found too lemony and did not like very much, and the Boquerones pizza (tomato, mozzarella, thyme, onions, garlic, chili water, white anchovies).  Prima supposedly has very good pizzas, but this one did not impress me.  Maybe it was the chili water, but the pizza tasted too sour.  

The service was good, and they even let me sample three of the red wines so that I could choose. Not being an expert on Italian wines, I appreciated this offer very much.  It was a good thing I tried three. I found two of them really not to my taste, but the third (actually the first one I tasted) was very nice.  So we went with that bottle,

Argiano Rosso Toscano, a nice dry full-bodied Italian wine.

Would I recommend Prima?  Yes, I definitely would.  Innovative dishes, nicely presented, and the small portions make it easy to try many different flavors. I will give a different pizza a try next time, and steer clear of the risotto.  

What can they improve?   I thought the wine list was way too short for such an impressive menu.  They really need to invest in a more extensive wine collection.  We also had difficulty trying to make a reservation, but ended up getting a table as walk-ins.

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