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The first Duke's was built in Honolulu and the name came from one of the best surfers to ever ply these waters - Duke Kahanamoku.  I had been reluctant to try these places because they appeared to be tourist traps.  But stupid me!  I'm extremely glad we tried the one in Lihue on Kauai because it turned out to be a great dining experience!

A Lively Place

Duke's place in Lihue is attached to the Marriott hotel although you'd ever really know it if you entered from it's separate, outside entrance.  The atmosphere is decidedly tropical and casual.

Our waiter was a bit of a head case.  He was extremely pompous and arrogant but yet good at what he did.

Steps from Barefoot Bar to Upstairs Restaurant

We started out by sharing two appetizers--Sugarcane Shrimp and Spring Rolls.  The Sugar Cane shrimp were simply marinated shrimp and skewered using sugar cane.  The spring rolls were nicely done.

For my main course I went with the pompous waiter's recommendation--giant Hawaiian moonfish or Opah.  Not to be confused with Oprah.  Okay a little humor so sue me!  The fish was encrusted with parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs (incredibly crisp Japanese bread crumbs) and herbs and lightly sautéed to a golden perfection.  On a scale of 1 to 10, this rendition was a 57!  Outstanding!  It came with some veggies and a big mound of rice.  My wife chose a land lover's combo of Huli Huli (barbecued) chicken and ribs.  She felt like the seasonings were a little strong on her food, especially the chicken.

I can't rave enough about the piece of fish I had there. It was a good size serving and it was done to perfection.  I remarked to my wife after the meal that it was some of the best fish I've ever had in Hawaii.

One funny thing happened during this meal.  I thought it was funny, anyway.  My wife got up to use the restroom just as a waiter was flying by with a tray of food.  Yup, he caught her ankle and went into a tail spin dumping the food all over the floor and some of it wound up on nearby diners.  It really wasn't my wife's fault but it looked like something you'd see in an episode of the Three Stooges!

Do try Duke's Canoe Club in Kauai.  It's a great place.  Reservations are suggested at tel. (808)-246-9599.  They have a web site here.


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