Archive for August, 2014

Café Grace reboots bagel culture

By
August 14th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comCafé Grace's chicken Alfredo melt, finished with bacon.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Café Grace's chicken Alfredo melt, finished with bacon.

Terumi Drake couldn't help noticing over the years that her customers at Lox of Bagels enjoyed their bagels one way, simply slathered with plain or flavored cream cheese. But she knew the the bagel could be the basis of more substantial, creative fare, and has set out to prove it, rebooting bagel culture via an extension of her business, Café Grace by Lox of Bagels.

The new cafe opened its doors today with a blessing and taiko performance, as well as a media tasting of a handful of sandwiches and desserts.

In keeping with today's sustainable, locally sourced ethos, the sandwiches are full of fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Highlights include a chicken Alfredo melt; bagel and egg combos on a taro bagel; and lox with jalapeño egg salad, for those who love the sting of heat.

As a grand opening special, the cafe is offering a bagel (excluding taro and cheese bagels) with plain cream cheese for $1 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 15, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 16, while supplies last. (The regular price is $2.75.)

The menu is more adventurous than Lox of Bagels Dillingham location, and this is just a start. One item on their "coming soon" roster is bagel French toast. Waiting for that one!

Thunderous taiko rhythms greeted guests at the grand opening of Café Grace by Lox of Bagels.

Thunderous taiko rhythms greeted guests at the grand opening of Café Grace by Lox of Bagels.

The Café Grace staff, led by president Terumi Drake, third from left, and general manager Stacy Kim, second from right, is blessed before entering the cafe. In the center is the cafe's namesake Grace, Drake's 17-year-old daughter.

The Café Grace staff, led by president Terumi Drake, third from left, and general manager Stacy Kim, second from right, is blessed before entering the cafe. In the center is the cafe's namesake Grace, Drake's 17-year-old daughter.

Lox topped with spicy jalapeño egg salad is likely to become one of cafe's best sellers.

Lox topped with spicy jalapeño egg salad is likely to become one of cafe's best sellers.

Egg appears on the menu many times. Below, a cross-section reveals an egg omelet layered with ham and cheese on a taro bagel.

Egg appears on the menu many times. Below, a cross-section reveals an egg omelet layered with ham and cheese on a taro bagel.

Grace section

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Café Grace is on the Kawaiahao Street end of Imperial Plaza, 725 Kapiolani Bouldevard. Hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Call (808) 492-1493.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Experience the divine at Wada

By
August 13th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comWashugyu tataki topped with sea urchin is one of the many wonders on the menu at Wada.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Washugyu tataki topped with sea urchin is one of the many wonders on the menu at Wada.

Once the domain of the AARP set, a new generation of the underemployed and the single is discovering the beauty of happy hour, where diners can indulge at reduced prices.

Restaurant Wada's recent launch of a happy hour menu provided a welcome excuse to revisit this gem, known for serving some of the most decadent sushi in town, as well as beef tongue in multiple forms.

The restaurant showcases the work of Takanori Wada, a Hokkaido native who worked at Sushi Yasuda in New York City, before opening his restaurant here.

Restaurant Wada is at 611 Kapahulu Ave. Call (808) 737-0125. Happy hour starts at 4 p.m. and runs through 6 p.m., and again from 9 to 11 p.m. for late-nighters Tuesdays through Sundays. Select dishes run $3 and $5, and select sushi is $2.50 per piece. Select handroll or roll sushi is $3.75, and Kirin draft, hot or cold sake, shochu, pinot grigio, chardonnay, pinot noir and merlot selections are offered at $3.

Washugyu tataki in garlic ponzu.

Washugyu tataki in garlic ponzu.

Sea bass sashimi.

Sea bass sashimi.

There's tender tako underneath the layer of greens and salmon roe.

There's tender tako underneath the layer of greens and salmon roe.

If you're in an indulgent mood, try the tuna akami topped with foie gras, at $9.50 per piece.

If you're in an indulgent mood, try the tuna akami topped with foie gras, at $9.50 per piece.


As decadent as some of the sushi is, I also loved the simplicity of agedashi tofu, just $3 during happy hour.

As decadent as some of the sushi is, I also loved the simplicity of agedashi tofu, just $3 during happy hour.


Crispy mochi sticks ($7.75) are light spring rolls with a center of mozzarella and mentai cod roe wrapped in thin, crisp rice paper. It is $5 during happy hour.

Crispy mochi sticks ($7.75) are light spring rolls with a center of mozzarella and mentai cod roe wrapped in thin, crisp rice paper. It is $5 during happy hour.


Beyond happy hour, washugyu tongue is the centerpiece of an ishiyaki meal, at $47 for 8 slices of the Oregon black angus, or $62 for 16 slices. The tongue is cooked at the table, at 10 seconds on one side before being flipped over and cooked through. It's accompanied by a light lemony ponzu sauce, pepper and garlic salt. The second part of this meal is a stir fry of harumi, or skirt steak, and onions with shishito peppers.

Beyond happy hour, washugyu tongue is the centerpiece of an ishiyaki meal, at $47 for 8 slices of the Oregon black angus, or $62 for 16 slices. The tongue is cooked at the table, at 10 seconds on one side before being flipped over and cooked through. It's accompanied by a light lemony ponzu sauce, pepper and garlic salt. The second part of this meal is a stir fry of harumi, or skirt steak, and onions with shishito peppers.

More sushi decadence, uni and ikura.

More sushi decadence, uni and ikura.


Flash-fried skate fin was a recent daily special, served with lemony aioli.

Flash-fried skate fin was a recent daily special, served with lemony aioli.


This grilled eggplant was more like an Italian casserole with mild tomato sauce and golden mozzarella. This dish puts many a local Italian restaurant to shame.

This grilled eggplant was more like an Italian casserole with mild tomato sauce and golden mozzarella. This dish puts many a local Italian restaurant to shame.


Wada is at 611 Kapahulu Ave. Call (808) 737-0125.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

New happy hour menu at Hy's

By
August 12th, 2014



Hy's new mini beef Wellington happy hour specialty is perfect for those trying to cut back on both meat, and carbs of the puff pastry.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Hy's new mini beef Wellington happy hour specialty is perfect for those trying to cut back on both meat, and carbs of the puff pastry.


In May, Hy's Steak House launched its renovated Executive Level, as well as a convertible private dining room called the Executive Suite that accommodates up to 25 for corporate events and meetings, complete with presentation and slide-show ready HD television, Wi-fi and audio system, or other special occasions, from intimate birthday and anniversary parties to wedding receptions.

Some of the details were noted in one of my earlier posts: http://www.honolulupulse.com/2014/05/hys-steak-house/

The latest news is executive chef Erwin Manzano has come up with an elegant new happy hour menu that addresses a new generation of diners easing away from large meat entrées in favor of grazing and sharing a variety of smaller, more affordable plates, including adorable mushroom cap-size mini prime filets of beef Wellington, thoroughly enjoyable at $10. (The full entrée is $48.95 in the dining room.)

Just because portions are smaller doesn't mean these dishes are any less satisfying. They're still quite old school, rich in the butter and cheese that many of us still love, albeit in moderation.

Prices start at $5 for panko fried onion rings, to $12 for a prime rib sandwich or ahi poke. Happy hour runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m. daily in the lounge, and also features $8 classic cocktails and wines by the glass, as well as $8 seasonal cocktails such as a refreshing summer strawberry Lemondrop, limoncello Collins, white sangria and Watermelon mojito.

Here's a look at a handful of the dishes:

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comEscargots a la Hy's remains one of the restaurant's classic dishes, offered at a reduced price of $10 during happy hour.

Escargots a la Hy's remains one of the restaurant's classic dishes, offered at a reduced price of $10 during happy hour.


Grilled asparagus is topped with poached egg and finished with bacon, Parmesan and truffle oil, $8.

Grilled asparagus is topped with poached egg and finished with bacon, Parmesan and truffle oil, $8.


Baked garlic shrimp and artichoke swimming in cheese and butter.

Baked garlic shrimp and artichoke swimming in cheese and butter.


If you choose to proceed to dinner, roast rack of lamb is a good choice. It's $39.95 for a half rack.

If you choose to proceed to dinner, roast rack of lamb is a good choice. It's $39.95 for a half rack.


Also on the main menu, prime filet mignon with rosemary skewered shrimp. It's amazing how much flavor is infused into the shrimp from the single rosemary stem. It's $52.95 for a 7-ounce filet mignon.

Also on the main menu, prime filet mignon with rosemary skewered shrimp. It's amazing how much flavor is infused into the shrimp from the single rosemary stem. It's $52.95 for a 7-ounce filet mignon.


Finish with a classic dessert of Bananas Foster or Cherries Jubilee. How classic? According to Wikipedia, the flambé ice cream and cherries is generally credited to Auguste Escoffier, who prepared the dish for one of Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebrations, though it is unclear whether it was for the Golden Jubilee of 1887 or the Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The 10-year difference might have big a big deal at one point, but after more than a hundred years, it's legendary either way.

Finish with a classic dessert of Bananas Foster or Cherries Jubilee. How classic? According to Wikipedia, the flambé ice cream and cherries is generally credited to Auguste Escoffier, who prepared the dish for one of Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebrations, though it is unclear whether it was for the Golden Jubilee of 1887 or the Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The 10-year difference might have big a big deal at one point, but after more than a hundred years, it's legendary either way.

Hy’s Steak House is at 2440 Kuhio Ave. Call (808) 922-5555

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Morning Glass to open in Fishcake

By
August 6th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comMorning Glass staffers, from left, Ted Evans, Lani Hatakenaka and Mahina Akimoto, with owner Eric Rose, at a preview of its new Kakaako satellite location inside Fishcake.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Morning Glass staffers, from left, Ted Evans, Lani Hatakenaka and Mahina Akimoto, with owner Eric Rose, at a preview of its new Kakaako satellite location inside Fishcake.

Morning Glass Coffee will have a satellite home in Kakaako on Aug. 11, opening day for Morning Glass Coffee + Pastry Bar at Fishcake, the contemporary home furnishings store and art gallery located at 307C Kamani St.

The 10-by-10 square-foot space, designed by Maura Fujihira, co-owner and lead interior designer at Fishcake, will serve primarily as a grab-and-go stop, showcasing handcrafted sandwiches and a handful of fresh pastries exclusive to this location, plus local and Stumptown coffees that put the original Manoa location on the map when owner Eric Rose first landed from Oregon.

The creative/work/share space is also home to BoxJelly, whose founder Rachung Fujihira said, "Life isn't compartmentalized, so this way people can get their coffee, do some work; it creates synergy.

Among Morning Glass + Pastry Bar drink specialties are Vietnamese-style iced coffees,  iced tea and sweet English breakfast tea with sugar and fresh mint.

Among Morning Glass + Pastry Bar drink specialties are Vietnamese-style iced coffees, iced tea and sweet English breakfast tea with sugar and fresh mint.

“A coffee bar with this level of craftsmanship and attention to detail will really enhance the coworking experience for our members and visitors.”

Popular items that will be available at the Morning Glass counter will include coffees of the day prepared by the pour-over method, where each cup is individually brewed, espressos and house made sodas. Made-from-scratch pastry items will include scones, cinnamon rolls and, sweet and savory turnovers.

For a heavier snack, a limited number of mozzarella, italian, BAT (bacon, avocado, tomato) and salami sandwiches will be available.

Among savory edibles are the salame, arugula, provolone and tomato sandwiches pictured, as well as  Egg-A-Biscuit sandwiches of bacon, gruyere, scrambled eggs and arugula on homemade buttermilk biscuits.

Among savory edibles are the salame, arugula, provolone and tomato sandwiches pictured, as well as Egg-A-Biscuit sandwiches of bacon, gruyere, scrambled eggs and arugula on homemade buttermilk biscuits.

Bringing Stumptown coffee to Manoa was Morning Glass' original claim to fame.

Bringing Stumptown coffee to Manoa was Morning Glass' original claim to fame.

Enjoy it all within the unique setting of Fishcake, a home furnishings, art and design gallery.

Enjoy it all within the unique setting of Fishcake, a home furnishings, art and design gallery.

Morning Glass Coffee + Pastry Bar will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays inside Fishcake, 307C Kamani St., in Kakaako. Call (808) 366-1525.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Arrivederci Mediterraneo, for now

By
August 5th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comFabrizio Favale's homemade sausage, onions, mushrooms and Parmesan with rigatoni.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Fabrizio Favale's homemade sausage, onions, mushrooms and Parmesan with rigatoni.

After more than 20 years of operation, Mediterraneo will be closing its doors at the end of the month.

It’s one of the few Italian restaurants in town helmed by an individual of actual Italian ancestry and owner Fabrizio Favale will be taking some time off to revisit the Motherland and Rome, where he grew up.

The chef-owner has a loose plan to return to Hawaii and establish another restaurant in a more heavily trafficked spot, and I’d like to hold him to that, but he has no specific time frame in mind.

So, until then, if you want to catch the last bites of his home-style dishes, you’d better make those reservations now.

There were generous chunks of lobster in these ravioli in creamy pink sauce.

There were generous chunks of lobster in these ravioli in creamy pink sauce.

I recently stopped in for a last meal, and while there, Favale reminded me of a review I wrote upon his opening. I don't remember it and it's not searchable online because my column preceded the Star-Bulletin's Internet launch on March 18, 1996, but according to him, I disparaged his wife and that changed his life for the better when he divorced. I still find it hard to believe a few little words can change lives, but back then I was very young and unfiltered and took criticism very seriously before realizing it wasn't only the chefs who couldn't take it, but readers couldn't take it either. Most people only want to hear happy news.

Thankfully, restaurants have gotten better over time as the whole dining community has become more sophisticated, and Mediterraneo was among the first restaurants to play a part in that.

Mediterraneo's seafood pasta comes with several pasta options: spagetti, cappellini, rigatoni, fettuccine and pappardelle.

Mediterraneo's seafood pasta comes with several pasta options: spagetti, cappellini, rigatoni, fettuccine and pappardelle.

For those who haven't been there, Mediterraneo's oxtail osso buco is not to be missed.

For those who haven't been there, Mediterraneo's oxtail osso buco is not to be missed.

Old World ambience.

Old World ambience.

Mediterraneo is at 1279 S. King St. between Birch and Cedar streets. Call (808) 593-1466.

Arrivederci, and hope to see you soon in a new location.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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