Archive for June, 2015

Foie gras and flowers at Arancino

By
June 11th, 2015



<a href="http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/fashion-tribe-
PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comFoie gras marinated in cognac and brandy is strewn with a summer's garden of edible flowers and greenery.

Flowers are everywhere this summer, and on my Fashion Tribe blog I recently wrote of the season's best accessory, <a href="http://a living flower crown. Well, Arancino at The Kahala's executive chef Daisuke Hamamoto takes the same inspiration from nature and applies it to his new plates, draping his insalata Misticanza ($13) with micro greens, herbs and edible flowers, while a new dish of terrina di fegato ($20), foie gras marinated in cognac and brandy, also wears a colorful, eye-catching bouquet of edible greens.

Both are new a la carte offerings introduced this month in celebration of Arancino at The Kahala's second anniversary. Both dishes are available for lunch and dinner, along with other new dishes of pesce al cartoccio ($32), an elegant mix of seafood, shimeji mushrooms and broccolini steamed in parchment paper with white wine, and Sangiovese wine risotto layered with grilled Muscovy duck, fried leeks and gold leaf ($26).

The restaurant is also offering two new summer tasting menues, one with four courses for $65, and the other comprising five courses for $89.

The new risotto dish is offered as a Primi option on the $65 tasting menu, and the foie gras is one of two antipasti options listed on the $89 tasting menu.

Here's a look at food served during a recent sampling:

Delicate amuse bouche of English pea mousse topped with prosciutto and pea shoot.

Delicate amuse bouche of English pea mousse topped with prosciutto and pea shoot.

One view of the edible garden of seafood and greens that comprise the Misticanza, beautiful bite-size nibbles of grilled scallop and abalone, with calamari, amaebi, uni, tomato, dill, basil, nasturtium leaves, cucumber, and more.

One view of the edible garden of seafood and greens that comprise the Misticanza, beautiful bite-size nibbles of grilled scallop and abalone, with calamari, amaebi, uni, tomato, dill, basil, nasturtium leaves, cucumber, and more.

The view from the opposite end of the Misticanza arrangement. It was funny but out of all the ingredients, both my dinner guest and I saved the two pieces of sweet uni for last.

The view from the opposite end of the Misticanza arrangement. It was funny but out of all the ingredients, both my dinner guest and I saved the two pieces of sweet uni for last.

The foie gras at the top of the page was plated with fresh fruit and brioche.

The foie gras at the top of the page was plated with fresh fruit and brioche.

Sangiovese risotto was topped with grilled Muscovy duck, a tangle of lightly fried leeks and crowned with gold leaf.

Sangiovese risotto was topped with grilled Muscovy duck, a tangle of lightly fried leeks and crowned with gold leaf.

A new dish of pesce al cartoccio proved simple and delicious, with catch of the day, Manila clams, shimeji mushrooms, broccolini and tomatoes steamed  with white wine in parchment.

A new dish of pesce al cartoccio proved simple and delicious, with catch of the day, Manila clams, shimeji mushrooms, broccolini and tomatoes steamed with white wine in parchment.

Light bianco mangiare, a roasted almond panna cotta topped with housemade coconut gelato and coconut granita brought the meal to a close.

Light bianco mangiare, a roasted almond panna cotta topped with housemade coconut gelato and coconut granita brought the meal to a close.

On the $65 tasting menu you'll find antipasti offerings of seafood carpaccio or prosciutto and fruit. For your Primi selection, you'll have a choice of seafood tagliatelle; tagliolini with white wine, garlic, tomato cream sauce and uni; or the grilled Muscovy duck risotto. All in addition to a choice of lobster bisque or caprese salad, plus dessert of tiramisu or gelato affogato.

On the $89 menu you'll start with a choice of bagna cauda or lobster bisque, followed by local seafood antipasti or the foie gras dish. Secondi options are grilled seafood, sous vide Colorado lamb or braised short rib with Sangiovese wine reduction. Then choose a Primi plate of Ho Farm cherry tomato tagliatelle, tagliolini with tobiko and calamari in garlic-olive oil sauce, or mixed mushroom risotto, before ending with your choice of the day's desserts.

What I like about their tasting menus is that for each course they provide two or three options, knowing that not everybody shares the same food preferences. I certainly have my share of finicky friends.

———

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.

Central Bakery opens in Kahala

By
June 10th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comWorld-class breads have arrived in Hawaii via Central Bakery.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

World-class breads have arrived in Hawaii via Central Bakery.

Someone pinch me. Beyond chasing after Chris Sy, Honolulu finally has a permanent spot for world-class breads with the arrival of Central Bakery in Kahala in the former Kahala Moon/Wahoo's space next to Olive Tree Cafe.

Bread lovers will rejoice, but so will diners. The name doesn't reflect that Central Bakery is also a full restaurant serving Italian- and French-style cuisine, with a hint of its Japan roots.

My review is in Wednesday's Honolulu Star-Advertiser, but here's the back story: Company president Koichiro Yanagimoto started the restaurant in Kobe, Japan, in 1999, and aimed toward expanding in the United States. After studying major cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, he saw an abundance of bakeries, “more than Paris,” he said. In Hawaii, he saw open territory with nothing comparable, making the decision to open easy.

central

I don't like filling up with bread at restaurants, but Central Bakery's are hard to resist, presented with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, butter, cracked black pepper and salt.

I don't like filling up with bread at restaurants, but Central Bakery's are hard to resist, presented with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, butter, cracked black pepper and salt.

A wonderful Melange salad offered no fewer than 12 ingredients, including pumpkin and bamboo shoots.

A wonderful Melange salad offered no fewer than 12 ingredients, including pumpkin and bamboo shoots.

The antipasto platter ($25), featured smokey quiche, salmon, paté, burrata, prosciutto, olives and grilled vegetables. With the bread and wine, it's very satisfying.

The antipasto platter ($25), featured smokey quiche, salmon, paté, burrata, prosciutto, olives and grilled vegetables. With the bread and wine, it's very satisfying.

I was worried about the whiteness of this tomato-shellfish bisque, but it was very light with depth of shellfish essence. Just beautiful.

I was worried about the whiteness of this tomato-shellfish bisque, but it was very light with depth of shellfish essence. Just beautiful.

Speaking of shellfish, there is strong oyster pungency in linguine with sea urchin and oyster. Wonderful for those who love ocean flavors. Unfortunately, the gummy quality of the pasta distracted from the sauce.

Speaking of shellfish, there is strong oyster pungency in linguine with sea urchin and oyster. Wonderful for those who love ocean flavors. Unfortunately, the gummy quality of the pasta distracted from the sauce.

What I like most about the food served here is the restraint and reverent approach to classic dishes. It's sometimes too restrained, because many of the dishes seem to lack a few ingredients that would push them to stellar levels. But I like it far more than other recent entries to the dining scene that take the opposite approach.

That is, I feel that too many chefs hoping to make their mark believe that throwing together disparate ingredients adds up to genius. It doesn't. More important than a mash-up masquerading as creativity, is taste. Do the ingredients play well together on the playground of our palate? Most of the time, I find the answer is no. Restaurateurs and chefs seem to be forgetting that running a restaurant is about pleasing guests, not about feeding their egos.

Mustard- and herb-crusted rack of lamb was nothing special. They did not ask for our doneness preference so it came medium rare, though the top piece looks pretty rare. I did not get that one.

Mustard- and herb-crusted rack of lamb was nothing special. They did not ask for our doneness preference so it came medium rare, though the top piece looks pretty rare. I did not get that one.

Lamb ragout with fusili was the better lamb option. Very strong gamey factor and scent, so if you're on the borderline about lamb, this is probably not for you.

Lamb ragout with fusili was the better lamb option. Very strong gamey factor and scent, so if you're on the borderline about lamb, this is probably not for you. This is a third portion.

If you like seafood, but the urchin and oyster combo is too strong, shrimp crema is a more delicate option, This is a third portion.

If you like seafood, but the urchin and oyster combo is too strong, shrimp crema is a more delicate option, This is a third portion.

This beef tongue stew could pass for a dish of shortribs.

This beef tongue stew could pass for a dish of shortribs.

Fantastic chocolate-almond cake, topped with candied roasted walnuts.

Fantastic chocolate-almond cake, topped with candied roasted walnuts.

Light, airy Charlotte au Fraise was plated with fresh fruit, below. Nevermind the chocolate-covered pastry. It was dry and flavorless, just there for looks.

Light, airy Charlotte au Fraise was plated with fresh fruit, below. Nevermind the chocolate-covered pastry. It was dry and flavorless, just there for looks.

central char

Central Bakery puts delicious food on the table, plain and simple. The restaurant is new, so service is green and there will likely be some cross-cultural misunderstanding, but hopefully any opening issues will be worked out over time.

Central Bakery is at 4614 Kilauea Ave. Current hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday; lunch and brunch service are expected to start at the end of the month. The cost of dinner is about $60 to $80 for two without drinks. Call (808) 777-6700.

———

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.

Kamehameha Day at Hyatt Place

By
June 9th, 2015



Guests can also try their hand at lei-making.

PHOTOS COURTESY HYATT PLACE

Guests can try their hand at lei-making at Hyatt Place on King Kamehameha Day.

PHOTO COURTESY HYATT PLACE / A Mai Tai and virgin Blue Hawaii are among the classic cocktails to be served up at Hyatt Place on King Kamehameha Day.

A Mai Tai and virgin Blue Hawaii are among the cocktails served at Hyatt Place.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach will be celebrating King Kamehameha Day on Thursday, June 11, with a complimentary lei making session and a pop-up eatery by Cooking FRESH.

Cooking FRESH chef/owner Michi Watarai will be serving three Hawaiian-inspired dishes from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Gallery Bar of Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach, as part of the hotel's King Kamehameha Day celebration.

Hawaiian beers, mai tais and a non-alcoholic Blue Hawaii will also be offered as drink specials during the pop-up food event.

Cooking FRESH will be offering a poke bowl ($10), pork ribs with guava BBQ sauce ($8), and a slider trio featuring kalua pork with guava BBQ sauce, Kauai grass-fed beef burger with tomato and micro greens, and fresh catch with cucumber-wasabi yogurt sauce ($9).

Longboard Lager and Big Wave Ale on draft will be available for $5.50 per glass, bottles of Fire Rock and Castaway beers at $7 each, mai tais for $7, and a non-alcoholic Blue Hawaii for $5.

Guests will also be able to participate in complimentary lei-making sessions.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach is at 175 Paoakalani Ave. Call (808) 922-3861 for more information.

———

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.

Hard Rock puts burgers on tour

By
June 9th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comJodi Mikel Miller presents a trayful of slider-sized samples of the Honolulu Burger.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Jodi Mikel Miller presents a trayful of slider-sized samples of the Honolulu Legendary Burger during a preview event on Thursday.

What started in Hard Rock Tokyo as a fun way to explore flavors around the globe has become an international phenomenon, as Hard Rock Cafe started its summer by launching its inaugural World Burger Tour.

Local chefs have always had the freedom to create a unique Local Legendary Burger capturing the flavors of their city, but those creations were only regional hits until now.

More than 150 local burgers were evaluated by Hard Rock's culinary team, with 16 favorites selected to star on the World Burger Tour menu, four of which are available at the restaurant's Waikiki location through the end of the month.

Alas, Honolulu's Portuguese sausage-topped burger didn't make the World Tour cut, but luckily for us, it's available here and happened to be my favorite during a preview tasting on Thursday.

With each burger marked by a Hard Rock flag and the flag of its home nation, our tabletop looked like a mini United Nations covered with slider-sized samples.

Culinary adventurers don't have to pack their bags to order up the half-pound burgers, which include the Andean Burger, a Bolivian Legendary featuring a Certified Angus beef patty topped with avocado slices, a fried egg, melted Cheddar cheese and garlic mayonnaise.

Plainer than its international relatives, this is the burger that is most frequently ordered.

The Bosphorus Burger: Turkish Legendary features a Certified Angus beef patty topped with homemade eggplant salad, haydari sauce and pickle.

The Bosphorus Burger: Turkish Legendary features a Certified Angus beef patty topped with homemade eggplant salad, haydari sauce and pickle.

The Schnitzel Burger: A German Legendary.

The Schnitzel Burger is a German Legendary with two stacks of pork schnitzel (think tonkatsu) topped with sauerkraut, spicy brown mustard and bacon.

The Chamorro Burger: This Guam Legendary features a Certified Angus beef patty topped with housemade Chamorro glaze, chili paste and spicy pepper Jack cheese. It's popular with Japanese clientele who know who Chamorros are.

The Chamorro Burger: This South Pacific Legendary features a certified Angus beef patty topped with housemade Chamorro glaze, chili paste and spicy pepper Jack cheese. It's popular with Japanese clientele who know who Chamorros are.

The Bosphorus and Honolulu burgers were my favorites, the hometown burger paired with fries served with a creamy Sriracha sauce.

The Bosphorus and Honolulu burgers were my favorites, the hometown burger paired with furikake fries served with a creamy Sriracha dipping sauce, below.

hard sriracha

Each of the World Tour burgers are paired with a signature french fry-dipping sauce combo. These chili-seasoned fries with chipotle garlic ketchup goes with the Chamorro burger. Parmesan Romano fries with garlic aioli aligns with the Andean, and herb-garlic fries with chimichurri mayo pairs with the Bosphorus burger.

Each World Tour burger is paired with a signature french fry-dipping sauce combo. These chili-seasoned fries with chipotle garlic ketchup goes with the Chamorro burger. Parmesan Romano fries with garlic aioli aligns with the Andean, and herb-garlic fries with chimichurri mayo pairs with the Bosphorus burger.

It's too bad not all the burgers could be offered here. I would have loved to try Mumbai's tandoori-spiced chicken burger, Vietnam's banh mi burger, Miami's Cuban burger and Dubai's date burger.

Cocktails showcased during the tour include:

Mai Tai One On: A Pacific-inspired blend of Mount Gay Eclipse Rum, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, Monin Orgeat, a splash of lime and orange juice.

Pomegranate Mule: Of Absolut Vodka, Monin Pomegranate and ginger beer.

Mezcarita: A smoky margarita from Mexico, combining Del Maguey Mezcal, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, Malibu Coconut and fresh strawberries.

Pineapple Ginger Caipirinha: A Brazilian blend of Água Luca Cachaça and pineapple with a splash of Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur.

Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu is at 280 Beach Walk Ave. Call (808) 955-7383.

———

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.

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Archives