Gaylords – Restaurant Review
After travelling through the Kauai-style “city” of Lihue, there is something refreshing about seeing the Shops At Kilohana. The shops now are located on the beautiful property that is known as the “legendary Kilohana estate” that was once the home of Ethel and Gaylord Wilcox. European-style lanterns decorate the broad expanse of grassy property lighting the simple dirt road that leads to the shops. A railroad track crosses the entrance to the estate, looping around the entire property, and visitors can take train tours during the day. The entrance to the shops and Gaylord’s Restaurant itself is quite elegant, resembling something of a mansion straight out of the Victorian era, and it definitely completes the romantic ambiance of the Shops At Kilohana.
My daughter Saira, Keoki, and I entered Gaylord’s Restaurant through the front entrance, which takes you through a living room and into a hallway. We took a left through the hallway and headed to the restaurant’s seating area. We were greeted kindly by a hostess, who immediately recognized us and swiftly led us over to our reserved seats. She was quick to get everything ready at our table and grab our menus, and she was sure to ask if we needed a children’s menu. However, we turned the children’s menu down, just as soon happy to let Saira have some of our own food.
Everything looked good on the menu. We decided to start off with an appetizer, the “island caprese” which was described on the menu as having “vine ripe tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, avocado, mango, basil, and vanilla bean infused balsamic syrup.” The appetizer was amazing, and did its part to tide us over until our meal arrived. It cost $13, which could be considered expensive for a simple appetizer; however it was truly so delicious that it’s worth the price if you can afford it.
One minor challenge to ordering dinner was the limited size of the menu, however, the abundance of good sized appetizers makes up for this minor detail. I enjoy salads and vegetarian dishes and tend to eat them more often than not, and so I selected a salad from the appetizer menu as my dinner: the “local field green salad.” The salad was $11, delicious and surprisingly filling for a salad and is described on the menu as being made of “Japanese cucumber, hearts of palm, avocado, goat cheese, and orange macadamia nut dressing.” Goat cheese when combined with a good dressing and cucumber is always killer in a salad. To top it all off I had a delicious tangerine martini for about $9, which, I’ve got to say is by far the best martini I have ever had.
Keoki ordered the “filet mignon and slow cooked beef short-ribs” for $32 because when it comes to dinner, well the man doesn’t mess around, if you know what I mean. On the menu this meal is said to include “sweet white corn and black truffle polenta,” and “grilled asparagus spears with red wine braising juices.” He felt that the meal was well done, the meat was pulled off the bone, and the filet was a good healthy portion that was cooked to perfection. The filet was ordered medium and came just as he ordered, a succulent light pink, and he definitely recommends ordering the filet just the same. He also enjoyed the Gaylord’s version of a “Long Island Iced Tea,” which was a good, stiff drink for about $9.
The hostess, waiter, and bartender were all friendly and willing to make small talk, ready to tell us about themselves and what they enjoy about their job. Overall, the experience was exceptional with a uniquely Victorian restaurant ambiance, and quick and personal service.