The Contemporary Museum Café — restaurant review — Hawai’i
Posted on February 10, 2007 by Kris Nelson
I think I’ve only eaten here once before and clearly cannot recall the food, but when I wandered briefly with the older wealthier artsy crew, they always insisted I should go to The Contemporary Museum Café. But I often visited the museum, never the café. “Next time”, I thought, “next time”. Well, sorry to say, I don’t think there will ever be a next time. While their organic health food is packed with vitamins and minerals, it is bland and boring. I’ve actually had better hummus when it was prepared from a powdered mix, and the Café served it with Tostitos rounds. Can you believe it? Tostitos, man. My vegan lentil patty was sooo dry that it kept breaking off and landing on my Tostitos. It was also an unappetizing sooty dark brown and only flecked with mushroom bits. It did come with a gigantic lettuce leaf and unripe tomato slice that unsuccessfully attempted to add any kind of moisture.
I hoped Chris would have better luck with his order, the Caprese Wrap with marinated mozzarella, but noooo. It was the same thing: dry and bland. At least his had pesto and intermittent sloshes of a tangy vinaigrette, but it too came with cheapo Tostitos. I don’t have anything against Tostitos, but I expect a lunch establishment with hoity toity clientele and $10 sandwiches to at least make an effort and cut up pita wedges or something.
The waitress was a bit flighty, handing Chris a lemonade when he ordered an Iced Thai Coffee, only remembering at the end of our meal. She also couldn’t comprehend Chris’ request for a vegetarian muffuletta sandwich (like the yummy ones we had in New Orleans), protesting it was a “meat sandwich”. When asked if they could just omit the salami and prosciutto, she puzzlingly said “I don’t understand how they could do that, it’s just not possible”.
The Contemporary Museum Café is a short trek up the romantic rendezvous lookout Mt Tantalus. It’s a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of Downtown and the hustlers in Waikiki. In addition to the neighboring museum and David Hockney exhibit room, there’s a botanical garden and outdoor art installations. The Café also takes advantage of indoor/outdoor space with featured paintings up on the walls and a giant metal brassiere sculpture on the lawn.
As we were leaving, I noticed the woman at the next table (who was swooning over her gay male companion’s new Armani shirt and Prada pants or whatever) ordered a shrimp salad which looked like there were only four pieces of tiny underfed shrimps lying on it. Poor things. They died in vain didn’t they?
The Contemporary Museum Café
2411 Makiki Heights Drive – Honolulu, HI
Tues-Sat11:30am – 2:30pm
Sun12 – 2:30pm