The first quarter “board meeting” for 2010 took place at Ka ‘Ikena, the fine dining room at Kapiolani Community College (KCC). If you have never heard of it or never dined there, you are missing out on a fantastic experience!
Ka ‘Ikena is the venue where students in the culinary arts program at KCC apply their learned skills in a simulated restaurant setting. The food is prepared by the students, the desserts are made by students in the pastry course, and the tables are served by students in the dining room course, all under the supervision of their instructors. They spend their first 2 weeks of the module in the classroom, and spend the third week putting their lessons to the test.
Because it’s a learning venue, the value is absolutely unbeatable. Three course menus for lunch range between $16.95-$18.95 and includes soup or salad, entrée, dessert, and your choice of coffee, tea or iced tea. AND the dining room has a panoramic ocean view!
On the week that we went the soup was Vichyssoise, a creamy chilled potato and leek soup:
Ka 'Ikena - Vichyssoise
Although Vichyssoise is one of my favorite soups, I opted for the Goat Cheese Tart and Tomato Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Dressing. This was excellent. The perfect combination of light crispy phyllo dough, moist goat cheese and tangy tomatoes made it one of the best goat cheese dishes I’ve ever had.
Ka 'Ikena - Goat Cheese Tart
For our entrées my friend had the Fisherman’s Stew ($17.95) with fennel in a saffron broth served with garlic crostini.
Ka 'Ikena - Fisherman's Stew
Our other friend had Beef Wellington ($18.95) with truffle sauce and roasted vegetables.
Ka 'Ikena - Beef Wellington
I opted for the Roasted Cornish Game Hen ($16.95) with creamy polenta. The bird was so big, we’re convinced it was a small chicken rather than a big cornish game hen.
Ka 'Ikena - Roasted Cornish Game Hen
For dessert, you get to make your selection from a traveling cart:
My friend had the Flan:
Ka 'Ikena - Flan
and I had the Fresh Fruit Tart:
Ka 'Ikena - Fresh Fruit Tart
Because the students need to learn in somewhat of a controlled setting, reservations are required and the menu is limited. And they’re only open during certain periods of the year following the course schedules.
But maybe that’s a good thing because Ka ‘Ikena is so fantastic, I’d be here every day otherwise. This is by far the most delicious way to support the local community. One more thing: students are not allowed to accept gratuity, so don’t forget to take that tip money and donate it to the program at the host stand.
(I was so impressed with Ka ‘Ikena I wanted to discover the other casual dining option put on by KCC students – The 220 Grille Restaurant. I themed our board meeting “Discovering KCC” and declared that we must continue part two of our meeting there next week. Stay tuned for my review of The 220 Grille Restaurant…)
OVERALL: GOOD food, WOW concept
PRICE RANGE: $16.95-$18.95 for 3 course lunch menus, $27.00-$30.00 for 3 course dinner menus. View menus on their website.
MY BILL: N/A
Kapiolani Community College
Ohelo Building, Ka ‘Ikena Room
4303 Diamond Head Road
Lunch and Dinner – view dates and hours for this semester on their website