Forty Niner Restaurant in Aiea
This past weekend was a milestone: it was Sky’s first time away from us while D & I went out on a date. Luckily my sister offered to babysit so we knew our kids were in good hands. He’s quite attached to me and I was a little concerned for how he would react, but fortunately he waved bye-bye to us without so much as a tear and happily started playing with cousin. I’m sure many parents can remember that anxious feeling of leaving your baby for the first time! D and I decided to stay close by just in case…
It was brunch time so we headed to Forty Niner Restaurant in Aiea, our first time there. It’s an older building on the corner of Kamehameha Highway (or Kam Highway for short) and Hoomanu Street that’s been around for ages. There’s ample parking in the lot next to the restaurant.
The restaurant became famous with Japanese tourists when it made an appearance on a TV show and received an award for (loose translation:) “dirty-delicious” restaurant. Not to worry, it’s not dirty, but it does have a very old diner feel to it, something D found very comforting, saying it reminded him of home (Maui).
The space is a little strangely separated by a wall – the left half has a counter with a few seats, and the right half has tables and booths. They have separate entrances so if you’re dining in, enter from the right side. If you’re ordering take-out or prefer counter seating, enter from the left side. There’s also additional seating out back.
Here’s the menu: if you’re craving local comfort food, you’ve come to the right place. Saimin, oxtail soup, loco moco, macadamia nut pancakes, teri beef plate lunch, they’ve got it all covered!
We tried the “Dirty Hash Loco Moco” ($14.95) which has corned beef hash layered on a hamburger steak, gravy and onions over rice, topped with eggs cooked your way and drizzled with a secret “dirty sauce”. (I get that they won an award, but I’m not sure how I feel about all the dirty references LOL). We ordered our eggs scrambled and switched out the white rice for fried rice. The dirty sauce tasted like a mustard mayo concoction which added an extra layer of “oooohhhh” to an already indulgent bowl of comfort food.
Here’s a look at what’s going on underneath the covers:
We also shared the Hapa Pancakes ($9.75) which is two thick pancakes covered in coconut sauce and Nutella sauce. Their pancakes are pretty thick and dense and while delicious, we could not finish it all!
The food is delicious, and the service so warm and sweet. If you want to experience a meal in an old diner surrounded by locals, check out Forty Niner Restaurant in Aiea!