Take a Bite

Morimoto celebrates 60th in Waikiki

May 27th, 2015
PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comChef Masaharu Morimoto with his most famous birthday guests Malia Jones and Alex O'Loughlin.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Chef Masaharu Morimoto with Malia Jones and Alex O'Loughlin.

Hawaii is fortunate that Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto celebrates two birthdays every year — his real February birthdate and his legal documented birthdate of May 26. He celebrated his 60th February birthday in Napa and chose to spend his second celebrating one day early at his namesake restaurant in the Modern Honolulu.

Star gazers were elated to see "Hawaii Five-0" well represented by none other than Steve McGarrett, aka actor Alex O'Loughlin, with swimwear designer wife Malia Jones, Taylor Wily, Dennis Chun, Teilor Grubbs and associate producer Angie Laprete. (See more Honolulu Pulse photos from the party here.)

The chef with Taylor Wily, Kamekona on "Hawaii Five-0.".

The chef with Taylor Wily, Kamekona on "Hawaii Five-0.".

A screen on one side of the room looped the 2011 "Five-0" episode "Ma Ke Kahakai," in which Morimoto made a guest appearance as himself.

The centerpiece of a table laden with desserts was a birthday cake for the chef, created by A Cake Life's Kristin Kato. There were many details reflecting the chef's life, pastimes and favorite things, including his Yoskshire Terrier, Mai, golf at Honolulu Country Club and singing, among the talents he demonstrated for guests that evening.

Morimoto hams it up with his birthday cake.

Morimoto hams it up with his birthday cake.

The cake, created by A Cake Life, was embellished with details reflecting Morimoto's life.

The cake, created by A Cake Life, was embellished with details reflecting Morimoto's life.

Sashimi and floral arrangement. Below, lobster tail. I'm so glad more Hawaii chefs have learned to cut up the morsels for us, for easy picking. Coz the last thing anyone wants to do on a date is to tackle food hands on.

Sashimi and floral arrangement. Below, lobster tail. I'm so glad more Hawaii chefs have learned to cut up the morsels for us, for easy picking. The last thing anyone wants to do on a date is to tackle food hands on.

morimoto lobster

Yummy Chinese-style duck bun with tomato and green onion relish.

Yummy Chinese-style duck bun with tomato and green onion relish.

Yellowtail pastrami dredged in togarashi has been a mainstay of the Morimoto Waikiki  menu since opening day.

Yellowtail pastrami dredged in togarashi has been a mainstay of the Morimoto Waikiki menu since opening day.

Waiters passed around some of Morimoto's most popular dishes, including pork gyozas, hamachi tacos, and, pictured, rock shrimp tempura coated with spicy kochujan and wasabi aioli sauces.

Waiters passed around some of Morimoto's most popular dishes, including pork gyozas, hamachi tacos, and, pictured, rock shrimp tempura coated with spicy kochujan and wasabi aioli sauces.

Calamari tempura salad with white miso dressing.

Calamari tempura salad with white miso dressing.

Oyster with uni and foie gras.

Oyster with uni and foie gras.

Wagyu carpaccio with yuzu soy sauce was o e of my favorites.

Wagyu carpaccio with yuzu soy sauce was one of my favorites.

Spicy Alaskan crab leg and fries with tobanjan aioli. So yum!

Spicy Alaskan crab leg and fries with tobanjan aioli. So yum!

There were many desserts available, including Liliha Bakery Coco Puffs, but I passed them up. I could not eat another bite.

There were many desserts available, including Liliha Bakery Coco Puffs, but I passed them up. I could not eat another bite.

Morimoto also took centerstage for a Tahitian dance (some captured on video below), though some of his moves looked more like bon dance or air guitar, all in fun.

With so many talents and definitely not shy, it's no surprise he found TV fame before arriving on our shores.

Happy birthday chef! And come back and celebrate with us next year!

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is 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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