In these grim economic times when many Honolulu restaurants are closing their doors (Nick’s Fishmarket, Brew Moon, and E&O Trading Company are some recent casualties), it’s encouraging to see a restaurant offering good food at good prices and still thriving.
When we called ahead, we were under the impression that Uncle Bo’s did not take reservations on a Saturday night, but we arrived to discover that the reason they couldn’t take our reservation was because they were fully booked. Luckily, after just a few minutes of waiting, the hostess magically found a table for our party of four. The interior of this small restaurant is modern and casual with a bar and small lounge area (even this area had “reserved” signs posted) near the entrance.
The menu at Uncle Bo’s includes casual American fare (steaks, pizzas, pastas), fresh local catch, and an extensive pupu section, with hints of Thai and Chinese flavors throughout. My friend told me they’re famous for their pupus, so I decided to make a meal out of just the pupus. Besides, I can never pass up oyster shooters when I spot them on a menu.
- Oyster Shooters ($7.00/4pc): I love their version with chopped cilantro and a sauce similar to an oriental salad dressing. No cocktail sauce here.
- House Mixed Greens ($4.00): Balsamic dressing was on the sweet side
- Thai Street Style Chicken Wings ($9.00/6pc): Grilled, not fried, and topped with cilantro and sweet chili sauce
- Crispy Crab Cakes ($8.00): Two good sized cakes, served with sweet chili sauce
- Uncle Bo’s Dynamite Shrimp ($9.00): Flash fried shrimp and creamy mayonnaise goodness
- Thai Style Steamer Clams ($11.00): A big bowl of clams with sweet chili flavor
- Spicy Tuna Wraps ($8.00/4pc): Spicy tuna and rice on Korean seaweed, like open faced sushi
- Chicken Piccatta Pasta ($15.00)
Perhaps it’s just the items we ordered, but in my opinion the Thai sweet chili sauce was overused. For example, the menu said that the Thai Street Style Chicken Wings are marinated in Thai herbs like basil and lemongrass, but unfortunately I could not taste any of that because it was overpowered by the sweet chili sauce covering the wings – perhaps the sauce would have been better on the side.
But everything was still delicious, reasonably priced, and portioned to share (and the restaurant is open late) which must be the reason this restaurant attracts large groups of young co-workers and friends. There were parties of about 10, 20, and 30 people seated around us. The service was friendly and the food came out surprisingly fast considering the place was packed. I didn’t make it past the pupu section on this visit, but the next time I’m there I hope to try their steaks and fresh seafood entrees.
Price Range: $7-$14 for pupus, $11-$18 for pizza and pasta, $18-$26 for steak and seafood entrees, $4-$6 for dessert
My Bill: The girls and I always go dutch. My portion came out to $27.00
559 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
($5 Valet parking available, or $4 paid public parking lot across the street)