PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiki's Bar Grill executive chef Ronnie Nasuti and mixologist Alejandro Alvarado brought tiki culture to CookSpace Hawaii last week.
Retro is in, and Tiki's Grill & Bar may have a head start when it comes to cocktails and modern tiki-style drinks. Think Singapore Slings, Zombies and the world-famous Mai Tai.
Executive chef Ronnie Nasuti and mixologist Alejandro Alvarado, both from Tiki’s, were in the kitchen of CookSpace Hawaii on Saturday to demonstrate the how-to of the classic 1944 Mai Tai and other cocktails, and simpatico pupu, though of course, with their own spin.
For instance, to the classic Mai Tai, which includes dark and light rums, orange curacao and orgeat syrup, among other ingredients, Alvarado adds a layer of lilikoi foam.
Alvarado shares the main attraction, the 1944 mai tai topped with his signature passionfruit foam.
Sherri and Lloyd Kandell are fans of tiki culture and exotica, which Lloyd recreates through the music of Don Tiki.
You could not have the potent mai tai without food, and Nasuti's first offering was the Tahitian lime-marinated "poke," poisson cru, sprinkled with sea asparagus and toasted, shredded coconut.
Next came furikake-charred ahi sashimi with a takuan-wasabi sauce. Amazing!
The last dish was bacon-wrapped bleu cheese mochi drizzled with kabayaki sauce, bubu arare and nori, not seen here because the chef kept adding and adding. Even at the table, he was adding a splash of truffle oil. In that way, contemporary chefs work much like painters or fashion designers.
Nasuti squeezes lime over ono before finishing the poisson cru.
Alvarado's lovely to see, lovely to sip "Hula Ahi (Firedance)," a blend of mango puree, orange juice and tequila, with the heat of jalapeño and a rim of li hing powder.
Alvarado also created his "HibisKiss," incorporating Absolut Hibiskus and housemade hibiscus syrup, and at the end of the evening, guests were sent home with a sampling of the hibiscus syrup, as well as recipe to make it.
You can perform a taste test of your own at the restaurant, in the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, 2570 Kalakaua Ave. Call (808) 923-8454.
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 email@example.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.