Saturday, May 21, 2005

Tchoup Chop

Yes, we went to Tchoup Chop last night and it was very nice.

I went expecting to pay $6.00 for parking (I don't care for valet parking) but when I followed the signs to park, the gates were all open and you could just drive in. There was no one around to ask, so we just drove in and parked. Walking to the hotel we were passed by many cars speeding through the lot, apparently driven by valet parking. We saw one particular Jaguar 4 or 5 times. I guess it was a test drive.

The hotel (Royal Pacific Resort) was very nice, and it looked crowded. You have to walk past the pool to get to Tchoup Chop and it was packed with people, too. We saw a couple of other restaurants there and they were actually more expensive than Emeril's - but didn't seem as nice inside. We arrived about 20 minutes early for our reservation and they seated us immediately. There is a large formal pond in the center full of ceramic (I think) lily pads and the water overflows the edges. It looks nice and James would have wanted to play in it if he was there. There are tables around it but we were led off to the right side. There are booths around the outside wall and we sat at a table for four next to them. I sat next to Irma, not across. It was a good sized table.

There are no windows except at the front entrance but the walls were brightly tiled (blue) and lit so that I kept thinking the light was coming from outside. By that time it was dark outside. The ceiling glowed orange. I liked it but it was a little too dark for me. Not badly, but I like light, maybe it's my eyes.

The restauant is noisy. There is some background music but the noise is mostly from everyone talking. It was so bad that you had to listen intently to the waiter to hear what he was saying. Sometimes I think I didn't hear him correctly. Irma would say something and I would say, "What!", almost everytime. I had to lean into her to hear and talk.

They gave us two menus but one was a lunch menu. It was a little hard for both of us to look at one menu, so I mentioned it to the waiter and he brought another dinner menu. He said someone would be fired for the oversight. There were three waiters for each table. Since I don't eat shellfish or pork, there was a lot on the menu I couldn't eat, starting with the shrimp toast they put on every table (Irma says I wasn't missing anything). They had a peanut dipping sauce for them and that was fabulous, I just wish I had something else to dip in it besides my little finger (to taste it). In fact I wish I had brought it home to put on some pasta - that would be good. They also gave us each a little vegetable tart and that was good, too. I could not eat any of the appetizers. They had some egg rolls but they had pork in them. That was disappointing.

Irma ordered: Warm Spinach Salad with Homemade Croutons, Goat Cheese, Toasted Pecans, Cherry Tomatoes and Chorizo Vinaigrette

Tchoup Chop Chicken "Hawaiian Style" Marinated, Spit Roasted Half Chicken served with Peanut Fried Rice, Soy Pineapple Glaze, Stir Fried Bok Choy and Baby Carrots

I ordered: Tchoup Chop Salad with Baby Lettuces, Toasted Cashews, Fresh Orange, Yellow Pea Tendrils and a Creamy Soy Dressing

Macadamia Nut Crusted Atlantic Salmon served with Ginger Soy Butter Sauce, Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and Stir Fried Vegetables

Irma liked the salad but couldn't finish it. One waiter told her she could keep it on the side while she ate the entree and another waiter promptly walked over to the table and took the plate away. We both laughed because what sense is it to have three waiters when they don't know what the others are doing. The original waiter brought the plate back after a few minutes - all with out us having said a word. We just thought it was funny. My salad was wonderful. I ate the whole thing.

The chicken and the fried rice were outstanding. She didn't finish that either but I had a few bites of each. She took the rest home. I would order that again.

My salmon was delicious. The wasabi mashed potatoes were good too, but I couldn't really taste the wasabi. Irma tried them and said they were good and that means there was no spicy heat to them. I ate all my food. I cleaned the plate. In Japan, when you clean your plate it is a signal to the host to give you more but I didn't get any more. Too bad, I would have eaten more.

For desert Irma chose the Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate Chocolate Cake. Good choice for chocolate lovers. It was so good, made with a dark bitter chocolate - not too sweet at all. Just delicious.

I had the Banana Cream Pie. It was unbelievable and Irma agreed. Wonderful.

I was full but not stuffed. Very satisfied. Irma took the chicken and salad home. The bill was $88 plus tip. We didn't have wine or drinks. We were there 2 hours.

On the way out we saw that Jaguar driving around again. It was the same kind and color anyway. I tried to go out the same way I came in but the gates were down and you needed a key card to get out. Oops. I drove to a different exit, same thing. Great. No one was around either. We watched a car go out and another followed behind but the gate closed on the hood and popped up, the driver kept going. It came back down about half way but too low to go under. Finally I noticed a gate with a guard shack and someone was there. He asked if I had a card and I told him no and explained what happened. I had no problem paying, I was expecting to anyway, but he said OK and let us out.

And that was it. We were both very pleased with the restaurant and would go back again. Thank you Emeril.

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