Ya-Ya’s Chophouse & Seafood

Happy New Year everyone! By now, you’ve heard of Ya-Ya’s right? The restaurant that President Obama visited so it’s become a bit of the “it” restaurant right now. Funny thing is, I’ve been meaning to try Ya-Ya’s before his visit and actually made my reservation the day before news broke!

So how was the visit? Join me on this photographic journey…

Pink Cadillac | $14.00
We start with muddled watermelon then add Suntory Haku Vodka, Lillet Rose and St Germain Elderflower Liqueur. This is served in a mini carafe over watermelon and lychee ice at the table.

Look, I’m not going to beat around the bush on this. This drink was delicious. Doesn’t it look pretty? I don’t know if you can see it but the ice cubes are pink and white. I ordered two of them. I’m not a drinker and I just had to have two. Gotta admit, the Chinese in me loved that the ice cubes were flavored. That’s like a whole other drink! Delicious, I would definitely order this again. Wait, does that mean I had 4 drinks? Hmm…

Complimentary Bread

Fresh out of the oven, ono! I always like molasses bread. The pointy bread was interesting…I think it tasted good because it was still warm and somewhat soft from the oven. If the pointy bread was served cold, I bet they would be hard and rubbery.

Life hack: remove the butter ramekin right when they bring the bread to the table. Don’t be like us and end up with melted butter from the heat of the bread!

Creamed Spinach | $11.95

What can I say about creamed spinach? Tasted like the typical creamed spinach you get at a steakhouse, nothing unique or special about this one.

Créme Brulee Corn | $10.95
fresh Kahuku corn hand shucked & cobbed; served w/ a sweet candy shell

Why? Why? Why? I think they wanted to put an interesting spin on corn and our curiosity got the best of us. We ordered it. Waiter said our orders were great choices. Okay. This was the worst corn dish I have ever ordered. Look, corn is already sweet. It was an abomination to Kahuku corn.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy creme brulee like any other dessert loving human being. But this? It does not work. Burnt sugar over creamed corn does not work. It was much too sweet and the sugar was much too hard (yes, it’s supposed to be). This just doesn’t work. I would not order this again, blech!

Ya-Ya’s Lobster Pan Roast | $54.95
w/ live whole Maine lobster, crab meat, Manila clams, sea scallops & jumbo Kauai shrimp

I apologize for the different colorings with the photos. What is it with restaurants and the dark dark lighting? How was this dish? DELICIOUS. So good. I will share a few tips if the restaurant reads this, nothing to do with the taste.

  1. Provide gloves – Yes, we had to go at this dish with bare hands.
  2. Provide a seafood bib – I get it, you’re a nice restaurant but this dish is very saucy and my white shirt still got stained as careful as I tried to be.
  3. Crack the lobster – if you’re going to make your diner dig out meat from the entire lobster, help us out by making it easier to get to the meat. It must have been quite a sight to watch us eat this (talking fully hands-on).
  4. Provide wet wipes – Well since we didn’t have gloves, our hands were complete drenched in the sauce (there’s lot of delicious sauce). I had to dirty my cloth napkin (was all red) and still had to run to the bathroom to wash hands.
PRIME Bone-In Prime Rib | $65.95
“Double Prime” slow roasted overnight 32 ounce

Best prime rib I have had in my life. Hands down. Am I an expert on that? Probably not. I only get to grind on prime rib at buffets but those are okay, no? This hunk of meat was the most tender and perfectly seasoned piece of prime rib I have ever had. Melt the “mout” kine tender, I am still dreaming of it. I was also able to take home the leftovers which DID NOT GO TO WASTE, LET ME TELL YOU.

Candied Cheesecake | $12.95
topped w/ fresh berries

Haha, after the creme brulee corn catastrophe, this was still ordered. Cute little serving of cheesecake with the burnt sugar topping. I don’t know about their plural description of fresh berries, came with one sliced up strawberry.

Ya-Ya’s Beignets | $12.95
w/ vanilla ice cream, organic cane sugar & chocolate sauce

Your eyes don’t deceive you. This is a picture of the dish right when it was placed on our table. Vanilla Ice Cream became vanilla soup – maybe while it was waiting in the kitchen? If you know me, I don’t care for vanilla ice cream anyway so I just ate the beignets. Tasted great with the chocolate sauce, I would order this again!

Okay, the reason I brought up the Obama visit was because it may have impacted the service on our visit which means I can’t judge them too harshly for it. It was busy in the restaurant when we arrived and only got busier. They have a very big bar area with two big TV screens showing the football game. At one point during our dinner, two male diners stood by me to watch the TV and made loud cheers (restaurant is small – the bar and the tables are all together). Not quite sure what atmosphere this restaurant is going for, it’s definitely not a sports bar so that was a bit odd.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to dine and leave. I don’t stick around after eating to have long conversations. Well, same thing this time but we were still in the restaurant for over 3 hours. Huh? I know our food took quite a while to come out but I didn’t realize it was that long, once again, it was probably due to the popularity from Obama. I will forgive that.

Bathroom! Oh my gosh. The bathroom is located outside of the restaurant around the corner and is shared with other restaurants. You need a key to get into the restroom area, then you could access male/female/family restroom. Well, each time a person had to use the restroom, the hostess would escort the person to the restroom with the key so she could bring it back with her. Not exactly a sustainable practice. I went multiple times due to lobster sauce hands and too much liquid intake.

The food was delicious (minus the corn), the service itself was actually really good. Great waiters who were thoughtful and worked as a team. We were a bit ignored near the end but I assume it’s because of how busy they were. I would definitely give them a chance again. And yes, it was expensive! It was a holiday get-together. Gotta start the new year right!

3 responses to “Ya-Ya’s Chophouse & Seafood

  1. vickinags

    oooh, that lobster and prime rib looked so ono! Can’t wait to try.

  2. kat

    oh em gee bathroom outside with key?!

  3. Too expensive for me but you do know how to enjoy good food and experiences, and I love reading your reviews.

    Best prime rib for me was at Duke’s Waikiki – but that was quite awhile ago. Recently, it was a special at Kahai Street Kitchen. So ono!

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