Saturday, June 11, 2011

Yogur Story in Honolulu

Many Tales are Spun at this Cafe
815 Keeaumoku St. (on Rycroft), Honolulu
Ala Moana
PH: 808.942.0505
Open daily, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Reservations, major credit cards accepted


It's hard to describe the restaurant known as Yogur Story. Is it a frozen yogurt shop? Is it a cafe? Is it a restaurant? Nobody knows, but it's probably a little bit of everything.

That's what puzzled my niece when we went there for dinner one night. There's no story behind Yogur Story, other than someone didn't know how to spell yogurt. Walking in, the spacious bright area with a mezzanine area looks like the lobby of a grand hotel. But the casual tables and self-serve frozen yogurt dispensers say otherwise.

Side note: If you follow the address you might also be confused because the entrance is not facing Keeaumoku, which is the main thoroughfare leading up to Ala Moana Shopping Center. Instead it's off Keeaumoku on Rycroft, with parking in the front.

A local review of the place, which opened in late 2010, explains that the concept behind Yogur Story is very common in South Korea, where the tart fro-yo that's invaded the States originally came from. (The owners are Korean-Americans.) To me, it has a real coffee house feel except it doesn't have wi-fi.

My sister and brother-in-law said they came here on a Sunday morning to meet some friends, and the place definitely seems like a great place for breakfast with the airy feel and patio seating. For the dinner menu, Yogur story had a mix of Hawaiian favorites and a few entrees.

My brother-in-law ordered one of the restaurant's signature dish called the Fat Pig Fried Rice ($13.95), supposedly because of the pork adobo shredded meat blended in with the rice. The dish even comes out looking like a face with two eggs serving as the eyes and slices of Portuguese sausages as the mouth. (They call the eggs "oinker up.") To me, the dish symbolized the typical serving portions of food in Hawaii and it's so aptly named.

My sister ordered a simple Caesar salad, and my niece and I both ordered the same entree, which was Ahi Del Rey ($17.95), a tuna fillet encrusted with black sesame and topped with a sauce that I forgot the ingredients. The dish was plated like one you'd find at a high-end restaurant, and I did like the sauce and flavor of the fish although it was near done while I generally prefer my tuna to be seared on the outside and nearly raw in the center.

Throughout dinner I kept staring at the self-serve fro-yo dispensers, which looked closed because the lights above them were dark. So we thought maybe the yogurt is served during the day, but when our server said we could go up and help ourselves, my niece and I went up to get some fro-yo for dessert.

There were only four flavors: original, taro, honeydew and orange cream. I got everything except taro, and while I liked the flavors, I thought the texture of the fro-yo was more icy than creamy. If I were to rank the fro-yo in my Bay Area ranking, it would be in the bottom 20 percent. My niece, however, is not a fan of ice cream and the texture of Yogur Story's fro-yo reminded her of sorbet so she enjoyed it. So if you like your fro-yo more sorbet like than ice-cream like, then you'd probably like it too.

Because Yogur Story looked like it was more known for breakfast, I returned with my Mom on my last day in Honolulu before my flight home. Since it was Monday morning, the place was pretty empty, but it had a relaxing and casual feel.

I got the regular breakfast of two eggs and choice of meat. I got my eggs scrambled with Portuguese sausage. You're offered a choice of rice (very Hawaii) or herb-roasted potatoes. I got the potatoes but they actually were quite soft and not very crispy. The plate also came with a lot of toast and some fruit.

My Mom ended up trying their waffles. Yogur Story actually had a lot of creative waffles like red velvet and sweet potato. But I knew my Mom would think they were weird so I ordered her the regular classic waffles with fruits. The plate came out looking pretty big and she said she enjoyed the waffles, which had a nice crispy edge. Another sign of how Yogur Story is confusing, my Mom's waffles came with a side of frozen yogurt, which she passed on because she doesn't like eating cold things in the morning.

Even after visiting twice, I'm still not sure I know the story behind Yogur Story. But if it sticks around for awhile, you can make up your own story because it has that feel of being someone's regular hangout. The food seems to be all over the place, but it seems to be more a place to gather for more than the food.

Single guy rating: 2.5 stars (Something for everyone)

Explanation of the single guy's rating system:
1 star = perfect for college students
2 stars = perfect for new diners
3 stars = perfect for foodies
4 stars = perfect for expense accounts
5 stars = perfect for any guy's dream dinner


Carolyn Jung said...

What a fun place! I love the idea of a Red Velvet waffle, too. Sounds so wonderfully decadent for breakfast. ;)

Anonymous said...

Funny that you never caught a wifi connection, because Yogurstory had always had free wifi. The passcode is Yogurstory and some numbers which I forget but ask any staff and they will tell you. I did