Archive for October, 2013

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2013


Sarah Montgomery, a k a Jem, with her Jell-O brain. Close-up below.Nadine Kam photos

Some of my colleagues showed their talent extends beyond the printed page, celebrating Halloween with a table set with scary food that had us squealing and  backing away from certain dishes.

Here's a look:


The brain jiggled to the touch.


Death by chocolate cake with chocolate roaches.


Meatloaf head. (more…)

Halloween at Shokudo and other surprises

October 30th, 2013


The "Thriller" flash mob happens again at 7 and 9 p.m. Oct. 30 and 31 at Shokudo Japanese Restaurant and Bar.Nadine Kam photos

Diners at Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar last night were surprised by an early Halloween treat, that was also a trick for a few wee ones who started crying at the sight of a "Thriller" flash mob.

Maybe I would have cried too if I were 1 year old and saw a zombie approaching. I have to admit it was a little unappetizing to see waiters in "bloody" shirts. Luckily, it's more of a seafood than, say, a beef restaurant, and one can get away with a lot for Halloween.

Diners were surprised to see waiters dropping off their sushi and entrees at tables, then suddenly drop to the floor.

I was surprised that no one in the audience got up to join the staff in the dance, but if you can't resist dancing to thriller, the performance will be repeated at 7 and 9 p.m. Oct. 30 and 31.

Meanwhile, you can check out the video here:

While at dinner, I had the opportunity to catch up with CEO Hide Sakurai, who has plans to open Shokudo's outdoor patio as a beer garden come December. And even bigger plans to open a 12,000-square-foot Mexican restaurant on the top floor of the Victoria's Secret building next spring.

Why Mexican? He feels there are already an abundance of Japanese restaurants in town, and doesn't want to compete with himself either.
Shokudo is at 1585 Kapiolani Boulevard. Call 941-3701.


Lucky this isn't a beef restaurant. A waiter bathed in "blood" in the spirit of Halloween mixes a bowl of garlic shrimp rice, while Ritsuko Kukono snaps a photo.


Gravy is poured over a new dish of ishiyaki loco moco, with beef-and-pork patty, $12.45.


Aji sashimi. We ate the bones (deep-fried) at the end of the meal. (more…)

Happy anniversary: Greens & Vines celebrates 1st year

October 30th, 2013


A "Cuban cigar" with banana amaretto chocolate wrapped in mango "paper" with coconut "ashes" was the dessert at Greens & Vines first birthday celebration Oct. 27. — Nadine Kam photos

Sylvia Thompson celebrated the first anniversary of her raw vegan restaurant Greens & Vines on Oct. 27, with jazz on the outdoor patio at the corner of Kapiolani Boulevard and Ward Avenue, and a buffet of some of her newest creations.

It's so wonderful to see the creativity that goes into her menu. A takes a lot of labor to go meatless and fireless without simply churning out salad after salad.

Her regular menu includes mock tuna, layer dips and fresh vegan lasagnas that leave many craving veggies Syl's way.

At any rate, it offers a nice balance for those who eat out often, subjecting themselves to the high-fat, high-calorie fare of a typical restaurant.

In time for holiday season, she's also providing raw vegan gourmet specialties to go, whether for vegans accustomed to bringing their own edibles to potluck events, or those who want their meat-loving loved ones to try something new.

The holiday small plate is made of china, ready to unwrap and serve. It will include macadamia nut “cheese” with flax crackers; maple sugar pecans; chia caviar with sour kreme; and dried bananas, star fruit, and one savory piece of radish with dried pesto. Priced at $30, to serve 4. You can get a look at the plate at the Blaisdell Farmer's Market from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 6.

A medium sized plate is $40, and a large one is $50.

She is also taking pre-orders for a $45 Thanksgiving meal for one, for pick up from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 27. On the menu: Not-turkey with butter lettuce cups; Waldorf salad, cauli-thyme mash with miso shallot gravy; onion bread croutons with celery and mushroom gravy; and a kabocha pumpkin pie.
Greens & Vines is at 909 Kapiolani Boulevard, Unit B. Free parking in the building. Call 536-9680.


The $30 small holiday plate, wrapped and ready to go.

Dishes from the anniversary party:

Irresistible olive tapenade with diced avocado and tomatoes served with flax thins.


Zucchini unagi with balsamic-tamari reduction on nori skin with cauliflower sushi rice, shiso leaf, sunflower sprouts and lotus root.


Chia caviar with cashew sour kreme on watermelon radish slices. (more…)

First Course: MW restaurant

October 24th, 2013


Ahi poke with ikura, uni and crispy rice crackers, $18, at the newly open MW restaurant by Alan Wong alums Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka.Nadine Kam photos

mw1One of the most highly anticipated openings of Fall 2013 is the arrival of MW restaurant from husband and wife Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka, both long-time alums of Alan Wong's Restaurant, he as chef de cuisine and she as pastry maestro. Both won Rising Star accolades last year from

They've set up house in one of the refurbished spaces in the former KGMB building at 1538 Kapiolani Boulevard, with valet or self-parking entrance on Makaloa Street.

Alan Wong has always given those in his kitchen room to shine, putting team members in the spotlight through his Next Generation dinner series, but when someone leaves, there's always a question of how close a protégé's new endeavor will hew to that of his mentor.

In this case, MW appears to a whole different creature, with a casual temperament and novel twists on comfort food.

The Ueokas hosted three days of soft-opening dinners, and quite bravely, invited every food writer in town. I pretty much never get invited to these things because most restaurateurs wisely believe in working out all the kinks before throwing themselves at the mercy of a critic. But, they've prepared well, and I had the opportunity to sample much of the menu. Below are a few dishes you can expect now that the restaurant is open to the public:
MW Restaurant, 1538 Kapiolani Boulevard. Call 955-6505. (more…)

'Ilima celebrates Oahu's top restaurants

October 18th, 2013


Arancino at the Kahala's executive chef Daisuke Hamamoto, with company vice-president Aya Inamura, added one of the more creative touches at the event. His beef topped with truffled mashed potatoes, was topped off with a pipette full of gorgonzola cream sauce. Diners didn't know whether to squeeze it onto the dish or directly into their mouths. There was enough sauce to try both, leaving many to suggest later that when there's no time to sit down for a meal, we should have more squeezable to-go options. It was a Willie Wonka moment.Photos by Nadine Kam

Every year the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Diamond Head Theatre team up for an evening of song, dance and culinary adventures through the 'Ilima Awards, celebrating Oahu's top restaurants, high, low and in between.

Just as good as the feast following the stage performances, is seeing the chefs in the spotlight, some of them goaded to find their inner Timberlake or Beyoncé in matching the likes of Broadway star Loretta Ables Sayre's often suggestive moves in song-and-dance routines honoring each of the award-winning restaurants and their specialties.

Chefs wise to these maneuvers are likely to send up another representative from their kitchens, but the non-shy, like Chuck Furuya (representing Vino) and Ed Kenney (Town), showed that they do have backup careers should they ever tire of the restaurant biz.

Here are a few photos from the event that took place Oct. 14. More beautiful photos from Kat Wade are at

Or click to see the 'Ilima Guide.


HASR Bistro's Rodney Uyehara, with owner Terry Kakazu, cooked up boneless braised shortribs with pesto-crusted bone marrow, served over Hamakua mushroom risotto, below.



Students representing Leeward Community College's Pearl restaurant offered Asian pork belly and beans, the beans being soy beans with tomato concassé, served in a crispy wonton cup.


Chef Mavro's George Mavrothalassitis chose to put the spotlight on pastry chef Elizabeth Dippong, who came up with the Star-Advertiser table's favorite dessert of Madre chocolate cremeux with black sesame seed caramelized rice, orange meringue and butterscotch crisp, below. Also pictured, from center, are sous chef Kevin Hirahara, business manager Jo-Ann Uchimura, and sommelier Doug Johnson.

ilchoco (more…)

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