KALAHEO — If you’ve ever dined in Kalaheo, chances are you stumbled into a restaurant that personifies Kauai’s storied paniolo past.
Named as one of the best restaurants on the Westside in this year’s Best of Kauai, Kalaheo Steak and Ribs, like its motto suggests, is all good.
“We have been pleasantly surprised by the awards we’ve been receiving from the public,” said Ernie Kanekoa, co-owner of KSR. “We’ve always believed in having a quality service and quality food. We try to maintain that.”
In 2010, Kanekoa and his partner and co-owner of KSR Caroline Fredericksen revitalized the former Kalaheo Steakhouse, adding a historic flavor of a paniolo-themed environment in every corner of the eatery, while providing quality service and offering one of the tastiest prime rib dinners on the island.
“On the entrees, we’re known for our prime rib and rib eye. We have fresh fish daily. We have something for everybody,” Kanekoa said. “If someone is a vegetarian and doesn’t eat meat, we’ll create something for them that is cooked in olive oil, no heavy creams, no butter. It will be good enough for what they want.”
The roast prime rib ($32) is a well-marbled hunk of meat rubbed with brown sugar, chili flake and is served with fresh vegetables. It also comes with your choice of roasted garlic mashed potatoes, baked potato or rice.
The roast prime rib packs so much of a hearty punch that it can actually serve two people.
The entree menu also includes 11 other items: from The Gourmet Paniolo Burger ($16) to simple and tasty Meatloaf and Mash ($18) to even freshly caught fish valued at market price.
Kanekoa is updating the menu.
“I hope to have some new items on the menu within the month,” he said. “I might try something like a bacon-wrapped shrimp with jalapeno, baked in a special sauce and served with steak.”
Dee Ford, an employee with KSR since it opened, said the restaurant is her home away from home.
“I love it. It takes years to be where you want to be,” she said. “I like working with my staff and friends the most.”
Absent from KSR recently is co-owner Caroline Fredericksen who is under the weather, Kanekoa said.
“She’s getting better, and she’ll be back on track,” he said. “I think it will be good when she gets back. We’ll be a team again.”
Adding to KSR’s diverse entree and appetizer menu is the live entertainment.
Thursday and Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. features the group Wailoa, while Not My First Rodeo plays during the second Friday of every month.
“This side of the island, we need some sort of entertainment,” Kanekoa said. “We’re moving forward with that.”
Catering to a mix of 80 percent locals and 20 percent visitors, Kanekoa said it’s been a pleasure serving the community.
“We have a lot of repeat guests from the Mainland,” he said “In the winter, we have a lot of snowbirds that fill up the restaurant. We enjoy their company, and it’s been a joy because we’ve been making friends every year. Caroline and I have to thank all the people for supporting us all these years.”
Kalaheo Steak and Ribs is open from 4-10 p.m. on Tuesday-Sunday. Happy is hour is from 4-7 p.m. Dinner is served from 5-9:30 p.m. For more information, call (808) 332-4444.