On our way from Kona to Hilo, we stopped in Waimea to have lunch at Merriman's. The positive reviews of Merriman's are warranted. We so enjoyed the food that we stopped again for lunch on our return trip a few days later.
Pictures of first lunch:
Coconut curry grilled chicken with peanut dipping sauce, Vegetable and cucumber namasu, jasmine rice. The chicken was spicy and tender. The namasu was pleasantly pungent.
Signature Lunch Dish: Black vinegar braised Chinese short ribs drizzled with hot mustard, Waimea tomato and arugula, Jasmine rice. The meltingly tender, deeply flavored rib meat sat atop feiry hot Kimchee. I loved it.
Congo bar with Tahitian Vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. I am now seeking a congo bar recipe...crisp cookie-like outsides surrounded a dense mousse-like chocolate center.
Pipikaula sandwich with pumpkin-celery root soup. The creamy soup was garnished with shredded jicama, carrot and wasabi. Pipikaula is a Hawaiian smoked beef, similar to pastrami but without the pepper bite. It was tasty but I couldn't help thinking about those fabulous ribs from the previous lunch. Still it was nice to try an unusual Hawaiian specialty.
Kalua pork barbecue sandwich with slaw and steamed red potatoes. Merriman's BBQ sauce was a nice balance of sweet and hot.
Coconut creme brulee.
The chef, Peter Merriman, was a member of the original group of Hawaiian chefs who started showcasing native-grown foods back in the early 1990s, putting Hawaiian cuisine on the culinary map. He is still going strong and has recently opened a cafe on the Kona coast.
Lagniappe: Our waiter told me how to cook the marvelous black-vinegar ribs. It's simple. Braise boneless beef ribs til tender in a liquid made of Shoyu, Balsamic vinegar, garlic, shallots and ginger. I tried it (forgot to take pics) and the ribs turned out great.
For more recipes check out the website: Merriman's website