A note from the editor for Sunday, October 2, 2011

I told myself I wouldn’t do it again. But I believe in second and even third chances. Plus, there’s so much this place has going right that I just don’t want to quit on it.

But the status quo of abysmal service prevailed again last weekend at KP Lounge. This Kapa‘a hole-in-the-wall has been on the verge of sweetness ever since its renovation.

The atmosphere is stellar, with its moody lighting and striking artwork. The drinks are original and well-crafted.

And the food is solid, especially in the pupu arena. If you’re willing to temporarily blind your health consciousness, I highly recommend the artichoke, edamame and fries with dipping sauces.

Server attention, however, is lacking. I’m not talking about wanting someone coming by every two seconds to ask if there’s anything they can get me; that’s downright annoying. I’m just saying a little less devotion to friends visiting you at work and more time making sure you actually put in my order would be appropriate.

Even on a non-busy evening with nowhere else to be, the time it takes to receive whatever you ordered is long enough to consider just walking out and finding somewhere new. If you don’t mind sitting and sipping at the bar for a spell, then no worries. But leave your appetite and expectations at home.

By contrast, service is routinely exceptional at Oasis at the Beach at Waipouli. What it lacks in unique environment, it makes up for with an ocean view.

Their Epicurean concoctions, while a bit on the pricey side, deliver a taste-bud tingling experience. I had cast off won-tons, for instance, years ago because they are just too, well, fried. The version Oasis serves up are somehow lighter, crispier and — to my surprising delight — stuffed with a tasty glob of poi. Yum.

Washing this dish down with the Hawaiian chili pepper-infused vodka watermelon cooler did the trick. Spicy, yet not overbearing. The Thai martini was another hit. I’m not sure I’d fork over 12 bones apiece for either, but the half-off happy hour prices seemed reasonable to me.

I’ll no doubt return to both spots. With limited options for a night on the town here, we sometimes have to take what we can get. And I rather enjoy KP Lounge’s decision to stay open later than most bars.

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