It’s not like you have to travel to Hawaii just to get transported to the South of France, but that’s the route I took when I had lunch at Brasserie Du Vin.

The brasserie, in old downtown Honolulu across from the landmark Hawaii Theater, has a front room that’s the huge open bar with the warm wood accessories that can be associated with many old Hawaii bars. But when you walk past the bar, you see a back walkway with bright yellow café umbrellas that leads to a small backroom that makes you forget about Hawaii and makes you think Bordeaux.

Front bar is popular with the after-work crowd

That’s where I had lunch with my friend Margaret, who suggested Brasserie Du Vin because it’s one of the few downtown lunch spots that I haven’t tried yet (there’s not many new places opening in Honolulu over the years). The menu offers typical casual French fare like pommes frites and mussels.

The laid back atmosphere reminiscent of the French seaside is mirrored here, which is nice if you’re on vacation like me but not so much if you’re here during a business lunch and needs to get back to the office. While the service is friendly, there was a bit of a delay between our appetizer and our main dishes.

Croque Monsieur ($13)

While Margaret had the straight-forward chicken salad on foccacia ($12), I had the classic French standard Croque Monsieur ($13), a ham sandwich topped with béchamel sauce and a fried egg. The dish looked hearty and fresh, but the egg seemed slightly overdone and the bread was a bit tough. There weren’t any surprising flavors, so things were decent but not really transportive.

Brasserie Du Vin is big on ambiance, but the food really plays second fiddle in this French-Hawaiian café.

Rating: 2 out of 4 camera snaps



Brasserie Du Vin on Urbanspoon
Brasserie Du Vin, 1115 Bethel St., Honolulu. PH: 808.545.1115. Daily lunch and dinner (except Sunday), 11:30 a.m. to late night. brasserieduvin.com

Cafe umbrellas framed by the window

Carpaccio bresaola appetizer ($14) was dark and intense in flavor; Margaret thought it was like jerky

House-made chicken salad ($12) with butternut squash soup and chips

Ambiance is what attracts people to Brasserie Du Vin

Chocolate tart was so rich it was like a suicide chocolate cake

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