Restaurant Review Ė Kevin's Two Boots

By: Kevin McQuarrie
Oahu Island News

Off the main drag in Kailua is a small and quaint cafť tucked away in the corner of a quasi strip mall. My companion and I made our way to the Kainehe Street restaurant to try out the Cajun food and famous ribs at Kevinís Two Boots (known in the take-out business as Kevinís Rib Crib). We got a bit lost, but our perseverance was well worth the effort as the food was everything we had hoped for and more.

Kevinís Two Boots is small and colorful, with pink walls and a Mardi Gras motif. Frank Sinatra was the music on tap when we arrived, which created a laid-back yet jazzy feel to the restaurant. The garden patio style table we sat at could have used some placemats or a tablecloth to soften the feel, but then again we were going to be dining on messy ribs and catfish Ė white tablecloths probably werenít in order.

We arrived at 5:30 p.m., just after the restaurant opened for dinner, and had the place to ourselves, except for another couple dining early. Kevin does take reservations, which I would suggest on the weekend, but for weeknights they seem able to accommodate most walk-ins.

I was hungry, so we wasted no time and ordered our fare for the night. Our salads arrived quickly, and were the freshest mix of organic greens Iíve had on the island. I chose the house dressing, Garlic Parmesan Ranch, which had a wonderful garlic kick that stayed
in my mouth well through the appetizer course. My companion chose to eat the salad without dressing and regretted it, so I suggest the house dressing which perfectly complemented the fresh greens.

Our appetizer arrived after we had completed our salads, which I prefer because I do not enjoy juggling my salad with the other food on the table. Itís nice to have time between the courses. We ordered the Catfish Strips and tartar sauce ($5.95). The fish was coated in a flavorsome corn meal and pepper batter; while it made the strips look dry it was quite the opposite, and gave the fish an excellent flaky texture. The fish was not over-filling, as some fried foods can be, which was good because our main meal was about to be served.

For my main course, I decided to have the Louisiana Jambalaya ($12.95) with the add-in Shrimp ($3.00). A tasty piece of cornbread accompanied my Jambalaya, and this was just what I needed to take the spicy edge off my meal. The shrimp add-in worked very well with the chicken and sausage, and provided a little more substance to the dish. The blend of spices, onions and peppers in the Jambalaya gave the dish more than enough flavor to clear my sinuses Ė which is how I gauge the authenticity of Cajun food.

My companion decided to go for the specialty of the house Ė 1/2 Rack of Baby Back Ribs ($16.95) with the Spicy Hot Cajun sauce. I really wanted to taste these special ribs but didnít order them because of the mess usually involved with consuming them.

If your image of eating ribs is anything like mine, you envision dozens of napkins, maybe a bib, and those little square packets of wet wipes. While our server did bring us a basket containing several napkins and the little wet wipes, they were not necessary
because the rib meat was so tender it just fell off the rack and left the bones clean and bare. This explains their motto, ďIf you need teeth to eat um they ainít KevinísĒ.

When I finally decided to reach across the table and taste the ribs, I was envious that I hadnít ordered the Baby Back Ribs. I thought the Spicy Hot Cajun sauce was savory and when I return to Kevinís that is how I will order the Ribs, although they also offer a Honey BBQ sauce if the spicy style is not for you. The Ribs come with a scoop of white rice, a scoop of potato salad, a cup of first-class brown sugar beans and a slice of corn-bread Ė we were not going home hungry tonight.

Even though we stuffed ourselves, I didnít want to miss out on the dessert menu. We chose to take a piece of the famous Sweet Potato Cheesecake ($4.50) home for a midnight snack. When I arrived home, it wasnít even close to midnight, but I had to get a taste of this cheesecake. It looked like a miniature tartlet; our server had packed up a container of pecans and a very sweet praline sauce to drizzle over the little cake. I decided that even if all the other food we had eaten had been less than impressive (which it was not) I would still go back to Kevinís just for the cheesecake. One bite and it was understandable why this sweet delight is one of Kevinís scrumptious specialties. It was not too heavy, and I loved the flaky crust that surrounded the cheesecake pie. Maybe next time Iíll order dessert first to make sure I have enough room!

Kevin's Two Boots
35 Kainehe Street
Kailua, HI 96734 Phone: 230-8111
Sunday - Thursday 5pm till 9pm
Friday - Saturday 5pm till 9:30pm
Closed Monday

Reservations Recommended