I had downed a ton of mochi (see last post), so you'd think maybe I wouldn't want dinner. WRONG! I needed something savory, so we headed to Hilo Bay Cafe. The place has an interesting menu, and a daily roster of specials using foods from the Big Island.
I didn't get any pictures of the interior, but think California suburban strip mall. It's yellow and very dim with curvy parts and a long bar. (Actually, hey, their website comes through with an interior picture save! Yay!)
We were seated right by the window, where we could see a car with Alaska plates parked in the lot outside. You don't really realize that EVERY license plate in Hawaii is Hawaiian until you see something like that.
Against our better judgment, we ordered three courses to share. First up, crab-mascarpone stuffed calamari with a beurre blanc. This was really good, but I'm sure you can imagine quite rich, with all that cheese and butter and silky crab. I imagine this was great for my already-elevated cholesterol.
Next, a mushroom pot pie with mushrooms from Hamakua Mushrooms, whose booth I saw at the Hilo Farmers' Market.. You can order this with chicken, but I love mushrooms so, so much and wanted to taste them more as is. The pastry was extra-buttery, as was the stew. Super rich. I was completely full by the time we got through half of this! The salad was a welcome accompaniment.
When Logan first dug into this pot pie, we both thought those creamy white stalks looked awfully like chicken, but they were just some seriously meaty mushrooms.
Our third course arrived just in time to catch me completely full. It was ono (the fish, and also the Hawaiian word for delicious), with that same rich beurre blanc sauce that was on the calamari. Too bad we managed to order courses that repeated such a fundamental ingredient. The risotto the ono was on was extremely cheesy and buttery as well. The dish was enjoyable, but taken as a whole the meal was richness piled on richness. I could only manage a couple of bites.
The meal at Hilo Bay was nice. They have a short, well-chosen wine list, and an interesting menu. There are other items on there that I'd like to try, partly because I'm curious if they use to much butter and cream in everything! I would go back if I was in the area, and Logan's actually visited a couple of times since I left town.
Hilo Bay Cafe is at 315 Makaala Street in Hilo. 808.935.4939.