There are many ways to judge one of those Honolulu restaurants that people talk about. Imagine dropping in at the last possible moment on a hectic Christmas Eve, an afternoon when most of the staff has demanded and received time off.
The sole remaining waiter maintains aplomb in spite of obstacles such as a poorly laid out space & inconveniently positioned kitchen. Despite these obstacles, the waiter gives good service, maintaining a genuine smile.
With most of the specials exhausted, one orders an unpronounceable (for those of English-German-American heritage) Tacchinio Affumacato, pleasantly described as a ‘Rotisserie roasted turkey breast, sliced and served with Parma Prosciutto, Provolone cheese, tomato, lettuce, and a pesto aioli.
The Turkey Sandwich (American translation) arrives, is quite good, especially two side dishes of red potato salad and coleslaw, plus a pickle slice and a pepper chino. However, this writer has a dozen errands yet to accomplish. Thus half of the sandwich is packed up to go. In the Christmas rush the sandwich languishes in a bag amidst a pile of bags dumped on couch for most of the evening, gets thrown into the depths of the refrigerator where it is ignored for two days.
On the third day, adhering to the adage, waste not, this writer retrieves sandwich. “Wow.” It tastes incredible, remaining moist. The three seed baguette is tasty, not all dried out. That is the mark of a good restaurant.
The downtown crowd raves about Café Che Pasta parked on the mauka end of Bishop Square, at 1001 Bishop St. Mention snagging lunch or dinner at Che Pasta and eyes will sparkle with eyebrows raised. Inevitably, “how was it?” is spoken with the preset notion that it must have been great.
Hard core Italian food lovers might quibble, but those wishing to nibble pasta & sauce with various meats & veggies will enjoy the fare at Café Che Pasta, and your wallet will not suffer grievously. Prices are reasonable considering the variety and the care with which food is prepared, though be prepared for grandly named dishes that are in fact simple good food.
Even my Italian friends admit their language is ‘pretentious. Thus one is confronted with items such as Linguini Con Granchico Piccante, Papparadelle Toscani, Canneloni Bologonesse, and Insalata Con Frutti Di Mare, among other items priced between $8.50 to $12.95.
Che Pasta is popular for its Antipasto selections; Bruschetta, grilled herbed Italian bread topped with Roma tomatoes, basil & dry aged cheeses for $6.50 but by far the most popular choices are Calimari Fritti, seasoned fried calamari with wild greens & julienne vegetables with wasabi cocktail sauce for $9.50, Zuppa Di Vongole, fresh Manila Clams braised with fresh herbs in a light tomato sauce for $10.50, and Carappaccio Di Salmone, naturally cold smoked salmon filet, lemon zest, Italian parsley, red onion, capers, cream cheese and crostini for $10.50.
Friends assure me that the menu is easier to pronounce after a few drinks thus Che Pasta has a full service bar, as well as sodas, ice tea, expresso, Cappucino, and Café Latte. There is an array of delectable deserts; Gelato, Sorbetto Confections, and Cakes & Pastries made in house. Everyone is encouraged to ask about their daily Dessert Specials.
Café Che Pasta is popular for their catering services supplying many a downtown office party with an incentive to stay around (or, at least until the food is pau), one can call them via 808-524-0004 or fax a request via 808-533-0028. Café Che Pasta is open from 11AM To 2 PM for Lunch Monday thru Friday, and Dinner from 4:30 PM to Closing at 8PM.
An important note, though the restaurant is closed on Saturday, the bar is open as Café Che Pasta hosts Salsa Saturday from 10PM To 2PM when “DJ Chavo spins merengue, reggaeton, bachata and salsa, and La Friikiitona’s models display the latest fashions.”