Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fairwood Drive Inn & Pho 27

Fairwood Drive Inn & Pho 27 are two connected restaurants located on Waialae Avenue in Honolulu, Hawaii (just across from McDonald's and close to Longs Drugs). This post only details my experience of Fairwood.

This appears to be a family-run business, and it just opened on November 29, 2011. A young man and young woman took orders at the Fairwood counter. The interior is bright and inviting, but I have a problem with the door right near the ordering counter (on the employee side)...get rid of that. To me, I take that as a sign that they would want to "hide" something or use that as a sanctuary to get away. I like restaurants where it's possible to at least peer into the kitchen, unrestricted at all times.

I ordered two dishes for me and my family to share. First, a chicken and choy sum dish with cake noodles ($8.25). The cake noodles were nicely prepared, retaining that crispiness (not overly soggy from the accompanying sauce). The chicken pieces were juicy and moist. The choy sum retained the bright green freshness and possessed a slight crunch.

Chicken and Choy Sum with Cake Noodles
(Fairwood Drive Inn)
Next, the Local Boy combination plate ($8.95): honey garlic chicken, teriyaki beef, and char siu with white rice and macaroni salad.

Local Boy Combination Plate
(Fairwood Drive Inn)
I enjoyed the three meats on the plate, especially the chicken. The sweetness of the honey gave some life to this one. Ordering teriyaki beef may land you a lot of stringy fatty pieces, but Fairwood gave a nice lean portion. The smoky char siu was also very good. Unfortunately, I felt the macaroni salad was a miss, just too sweet. I don't know if they added sugar when they shoulda added salt, but it didn't work for me. My mom liked it, though.

I visited this place about a week after it opened, and I can tell these people were still figuring out how to efficiently run a restaurant. There was lack of consistent communication. While I was there, any orders were coming out incomplete, mine included. In fact, my choy sum cake noodle dish sat on the counter for a good five minutes before the Local Boy plate finally made its way to the pass. The two people at the counter taking orders were likely in their teens to early 20s. They had precious smiles but lacked assertiveness in letting people know when their order was ready. Not sure if it's hesitation, shyness, or plain unwillingness to speak up. In time, I hope they gather their bearings a bit more and become more comfortable. I was in their shoes once, so I wouldn't be too quick to write this place off in that respect. 5/10

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