It is so rare that I find a restaurant to add to my short list of favorites. Yet, I’ve found one. I was safely fed, the staff was knowledgeable, and the food was amazing!
There’s been a lot of hype surrounding Star Noodle as of late. They’ve won multiple awards from “Best New Restaurant” to “Best New Chef” and others. Sheldon Simeon, all the way from the Big Island, has created a fabulous new dining experience for the island. The menu is simple, but the food is full of well balanced, complex flavors. How he has been able to keep the momentum for this long is amazing; as is the following the restaurant has considering its location (hidden up at the top of a light industrial area).
The interior of Star Noodle is minimal in style, and has a mix of light and heavy materials with a slight Asian influence. The doors to the restrooms are heavy sliding slabs of wood, but the tables and chairs in the dining room seem as light as feathers to the eye. The lighting is neither too cold, nor too warm (though not fantastic for food photography when using an old generation 1 iPhone).
You’ll want to be sure to call in a reservation, or be prepared to wait 20 to 30 minutes for a table, even at 8:30pm (like we did). My only issue with this is that there is nowhere for customers to sit and wait, and we weren’t offered a menu to look over while we waited. We just had to stand there. That’s okay though when you’ve got the arms of your love to be enveloped in. If you’re alone, try to get a seat at the bar, or bring a book.
The mix of music was fun, and got more so toward the end of the evening shift. I know someone there likes Morrissey (so do I).
I think you’re ready for me to shush about the other stuff and describe the food aren’t you? Alright, well that’s easy and uneasy to do. You see, it’s one of those things where you can’t quite describe how good the food is, you can only describe how you felt while eating it, and after eating it.
First, let me say that my server Michelle was outstanding. She knew exactly what was gluten free and when I asked if they cooked the noodles all in the same water she went and found out. She said they did, but that if I was willing to wait they would put on a pot of fresh water to boil just for me. I said I was willing to wait, and so it was done. She shared her personal favorites with us, and we discovered we had a friend in common.
After a long time of looking at the menu we finally decided. It was difficult to decide because rice noodles, or 100 percent buckwheat noodles, could be used in any dish I chose them to be. However, we chose to go with Pad Thai since it is a good way to judge a restaurant. We’ve had Pad Thai so many places, so we knew we could tell if it was up to par or not. Oh yeah, it was.
Devin chose to have the pork buns (which are not gluten free). He said they were pretty good. A touch sweet, but they fit well. He really liked the hoisin sauce served alongside them.
I ordered the Vietnamese Crêpe. Basically, it’s eggs and glutinous rice flour made into a crispy crepe and filled with shrimp and ground pork cooked in coconut milk. With the crêpe were some Bibb lettuce leaves, mint, Thai basil, cilantro, and julienned carrot. I was told that the best way to go about eating it was to put pieces of the crêpe and meats into a leaf of lettuce with the herbs and carrots. A light sauce, which reminded me a bit of a mild Thai sweet chili sauce without the chilies, was there for drizzling onto my, now, little Vietnamese tacos. Oh my god, I’ll be ordering this again.
The crunch of the lettuce and crêpe, along with the textures of the meats, the freshness of the herbs, and the sweet sauce all made a delicious combination. But, it didn’t stop there. The flavors went on when I added the hot chili sauce, or the spicy wasabi mustard to my tacos.
As we shared the Pad Thai, and had our own plates, we were completely stuffed by the end of the meal and had no room for dessert. How sad. Next time we’ll eat less in the main courses and save room for dessert. However, we were starving after Devin’s gig at the Royal Lahaina.
Oh, I forgot to mention that you should try the Cranzu. It’s non-alcoholic, and it’s delicious. It’s cranberry juice and yuzu (a type of citrus) juice mixed together. Mmmm. Devin said it was like being kicked in the mouth in a good way.
Devin says “No single thing was the most amazing thing I’ve eaten, but all together it’s one of the better places on the island. It’s all about the overall experience of the place and the food.” He was also very happy with the prices.
I’m in complete agreement with him. It’s also so nice to know there is somewhere on the west side I now love and look forward to dining at in the future. I might even beg for trips over there just to go to Star Noodle.
Congratulations Star Noodle. You just won another award. You’re in the Top 3.