LIHUE — If you don’t mind leaving a restaurant feeling heavier than when you arrived and your wallet feeling lighter than it did, Gaylord’s restaurant at Kilohana is the place to go for a private, intimate meal.
When my girlfriend came to visit from Oahu this past weekend, I wanted to take her somewhere quiet enough to hold a conversation but had an atmosphere that didn’t feel like I was in a ghost town.
When I first moved to Kauai a little over three months ago, I kept hearing about Gaylord’s and how they have the best mai tai cocktail on the island.
Coming from Oahu, where I lived in the heart of Honolulu and had easy access to bars and various restaurants, I would politely nod and say, “yeah, I’m sure they do,” not taking the claim seriously.
So after booking a reservation for two and getting a table on the edge of the courtyard, adjacent to the stage area where live performances occur every now and then, my expectations were high.
It’s safe to say that I wasn’t disappointed.
When I took my first sip out of Gaylord’s 1944 mai tai recipe, I was sold. My girlfriend enjoyed hers, but felt it was a little too strong for her liking.
But at the end of the day, that’s the point, right?
For the quality of food on the menu, the prices are reasonable. But prepare for the bill to begin adding up after ordering cocktail after cocktail, which were in the ballpark of $11-14, apiece.
We started with the Island Caprese, which went for $14. The avocado and buffalo mozzarella complimented the basil and vanilla bean balsamic syrup very well. It wasn’t a very heavy dish, which was a good thing since both of our entrees were more filling than we expected.
I ordered the Oven Roasted Half Chicken which came with garlic whipped potatoes, asparagus, shallots on a bed of herb and white wine butter sauce.
The presentation of the food almost made the food look too good to eat, but the smell of the garlic and the tenderness of the chicken was almost too tempting to even wait for my girlfriend to take a picture.
She ordered the Red Wine Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs, which melted in your mouth. The ribs also came with the same side dishes as my meal. The ribs were cooked perfectly, but it didn’t make me regret my decision to order the chicken one bit.
My dish went for $25 and hers went for $27, but seeing as we had to box up our dinners to go and couldn’t bare the thought of ordering dessert without collapsing, we had no complaints.
Add in the ambience, the live piano music, a friendly wait staff that constantly refilled our drinks and came by to check on us throughout the night, the dinner was worth every penny.
Gaylord’s was more than a romantic night out, it was an experience that I am eager to have again.