Taking Advantage Of Lunchtime Deals

Gyu-Kaku offers lunchtime barbecue specials | Jo McGarry photo

Here’s a tip on dining well on a budget: Go for lunch instead of dinner, especially if the restaurant in question is located in a busy mall.

Shopping centers usually have strict operating hours, and for many restaurants that means opening at lunch to a smaller crowd than they see at dinner. It usually makes for a winning situation for diners, as the same or similar items often appear on a restaurant menu at a reduced rate at lunch. And it’s amazing how much cheaper the check runs without the addition of a bottle or two of wine.

I’m not sure there’s a better example of this than at Royal Hawaiian Center, where Wolfgang’s Steak House, known for its high-quality, hand-cut, dry-aged beef, offers lunchtime value that’s hard to believe.

The elegance of Wolfgang’s is the same in dazzling daylight or in warm, nighttime glow, but at lunch you’re much more likely to walk in and find a seat right away.

The crowds that throng at around 6.30 p.m and fill every square inch of the dining room and bar have not yet assembled at noon, and the dining room offers a calm, peaceful refuge and a bird’s-eye view of bustling Kalakaua Avenue.

Lunch specials at Wolfgang’s run from 11 a.m. to 3.30 p.m., and current menu items include Prime Angus Burger, Tropical Chop Salad, Mahimahi Sandwich and a Mahimahi Fish ‘n’ Chips – all for $10. Lunchtime dining isn’t limited to the specials – the Wolfgang’s regular menu is available all day. I can’t imaging going either for lunch or dinner and not ordering a side or two of Canadian bacon …

One of the reasons Japanese favorite GyuKaku often has long lines outside its wooden doors is its 10-course $19.95 lunch special with barbecue choices that include filet mignon, thinly sliced beef tongue, kalbi chuck, New York steak in a miso marinade, and nakaochi rib eye. Gyu-Kaku also offers a year-round lunchtime happy hour with some incredible pricing …

Russell Siu continues to offer one of the best value culinary evenings in town, as his long-running cooking classes continue next month. Originally a one-night class that ran occasionally, the classes are now offered over two evenings to satisfy increasing demand. Part of the popularity of the class is its relaxed, no pressure environment. Siu and his chefs offer advice, share techniques and genuinely try to demystify recipes for attendees. The $67 ticket for the March 14 and 15 dates includes a three-course menu: Coquille St. Jacques, Kale and Roasted Beet Salad, Breast of Chicken Oscar and Chocolate Mousse. Guests are encouraged to eat and sip wine as they learn. Dinner is served at the end of the demo and recipes are provided.

Make reservations by calling 737-1177. Even with an added date, the class is sure to fill up quickly.

Happy eating!