Ninth-islanders now have more offbeat tropical options for breakfast and lunch — at Cinnamon’s, a Hawaiian import with two sister spots on the islands (and two in Japan) that opened in early December.
Guava-chiffon pancakes ($6.75 for a short stack of two, another option is $10.25 for four) are something we haven’t seen locally, but they’re a specialty of the house at Cinnamon’s. Guava is a fairly sweet fruit, but plenty of restraint was employed by the kitchen in this case to ensure things didn’t go into sugar-shock. Thus the velvety flapjacks were napped with a somewhat sweet, pale sauce and one that was almost fuchsia in color and slightly tart, for a deft balance. There was a smidge of whipped cream as well, which served to slightly offset the guava-ness.
But the guava geometry wasn’t in evidence with the short stack of pistachio cream pancakes ($6.75/$10.25), billed as a specialty for the Las Vegas menu. Pistachios certainly aren’t inherently sweet, but for some reason, dishes made from them seem to be. Thus it was with these pale-green pancakes, topped with a sweet pistachio-flavored sauce and some chopped pistachios. If you were born with an oversized sweet tooth, this one is for you.
In the banana-macadamia bread ($1.95 for a mini-loaf, $5.95 for a full) the fruit could easily have overwhelmed the mild-flavored nuts but didn’t, and it was a moist tropical treat.
The Kalua Pig Benedict ($7.75 for a half-order, $11.50 for a full) provided savory contrast. Kalua pork is an island specialty, traditionally salted and wrapped in ti and banana leaves and roasted in pits in the ground, although modern cooks have learned to produce respectable approximations without digging a hole in the parking lot. The meat was characteristically a little bit smoky, a little salty, tender and juicy, with a well-crafted house-made hollandaise for the Benedict touch.
But it was this dish that revealed Cinnamon’s weakest link — service — because the country tots ordered arrived as home fries instead. Both were quite good but particularly the tots, which had apparently been deep-fried and were laudably crisp, with sauteed bits of onions and red and green bell pepper scattered atop.
The potatoes were promptly subbed, with profuse apologies. All of the employees were in fact sweetly solicitous, but when several service snags are being corrected within earshot, there’s clearly a pattern. The restaurant was only about half full.
Which, luckily, didn’t extend to the house-blend coffee, which was 25 percent Kona — widely considered one of the best in the world — 25 percent Kauai and 100 percent good ($3.25, with one refill).
Management definitely needs to improve consistency of the service. But when it comes to delivering the flavors of the other eight islands to the ninth, Cinnamon’s has a knack for getting it right.