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Hello New York, this is the real poke

February 10th, 2016
By



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comAt Da Hawaiian Poke Co. at the Kapahulu Safeway Center, Kellsie Ladegaard shows the shop's ahi limu poke.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

At Da Hawaiian Poke Co. at the Kapahulu Safeway Center, Kellsie Ladegaard shows the shop's ahi limu poke.

Like Hawaii fashion before it, Hawaii food is trending across the country.

Last year, I traveled to San Francisco for a taste of Hawaii at Liholiho Yacht Club, where chef Ravi Kapur’s Spam fried rice won the restaurant a place in Bon Appetit and the Washington Post deemed his Chinese-style steamed buns with beef tongue and cucumber kimchi as one of its “Top dishes from each of America’s 10 best food cities.”

Trying to make sense of this phenom and how it all started, Jennifer Conrad, writing for Vogue, said, “In New York, as these things often happen, Hawaiian restaurants came in a crashing wave starting around 2013. Onomea in Williamsburg makes dishes like loco moco (white rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg, and gravy) and shoyu chicken (soy sauce–marinated drumsticks with greens and macaroni salad) accompanied by rum-spiked fresh juices.”

She also added restaurants Suzume, Makana, and Noreetuh to the mix. (Noreetuh might actually be good so I need to go check it out.)

The classic ahi poke with ogo, green onions and inamona.

The classic ahi poke with ogo, green onions and inamona.

But the dish of the moment is poke because of the healthier option of having a fish- rather than meat-based meal.

Only question is, how well do mainlanders know poke? On Facebook, an Insider Food video about the “poké” craze sweeping Manhattan recently sparked outrage among diners with local ties, drawing about 7,000 mostly negative comments, because what they’re creating at Wisefish and other restaurants is not poke as we know it. Instead of incorporating ingredients into the mixture, they are building salads by piling raw fish over vegetables, and covering the fish with toppings and sauces. (And yes your eyes didn't deceive you. It's picked up a diacritical mark at places like Poké Works and Wisefish Poké, to help beginners get the pronunciation right.)

As one of the more moderate toned commenters posted, “They couldn’t be doing poke any more wrong, and this has been a staple in Hawaii for so long. Small kine late guys, come to Hawaii if you wanna know what real poke taste like.”

I get that, just as has happened throughout history, food evolves as it crosses oceans and is reinvented as it embraces indigenous ingredients. Poke has certainly evolved here from the time the first Hawaiian fishermen augmented their fish with alae and ogo, the ingredients readily available to them. Over time, with immigration, people added their own flavors to the mix: green onions from the garden, soy sauce, tobiko, sesame oil, Sriracha, and more.

Da Hawaiian Poke Co also gives clams ($6 per pound) and below, peeled shrimp, the poke treatment.

Da Hawaiian Poke Co also gives clams ($6 per pound) and below, peeled shrimp, the poke treatment.

Kim chee shrimp poke was recently being offered at $11 per pound.

Kim chee shrimp poke was recently being offered at $11 per pound.

Sesame tako poke was recently offered for $13 a pound.

Sesame tako poke was recently offered for $13 a pound.

Perhaps chef Sam Choy had the biggest influence over the direction of poke when he launched his annual poke festival and competition in the early 1990s, causing an explosion in styles and ingredients. Most audaciously, he started searing the traditionally raw dish, and by 1997 was serving up “Sam’s original fried poke” at Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch and Crab. A year later, he was calling it “Fried Poke Magic.”

The biggest offense is that missing from all these national media outlets is … Hawaii. No one is heaping these accolades on local purveyors of poke, in the place where poke was born and where it’s most ono.

Outsiders might be viewing Hawaii as a land of angry people. But we are just tired of being marginalized and seeing local culture misrepresented. Respect.

p align="left">At Da Hawaiian Poke Co., Kellsie Ladegaard builds a poke bowl.

At Da Hawaiian Poke Co., Kellsie Ladegaard builds a poke bowl.

That said, we are certainly lucky to enjoy some of the best poke on the planet, and entering the arena is Da Hawaiian Poke Co., now open at the Safeway Kapahulu Center. This shop is not to be confused with Da Poke Shack Honolulu food truck.

Talk about evolution of poke, Da Hawaiian Poke Co. is the first Honolulu bricks-and-mortar outlet to offer an “Aloha Your Way” poke bar that allows diners to customize, not just their bowl, but the poke itself.

For an $11 regular (6 ounces) or $14 large (9 ounces) portion, choose from locally caught ahi, Atlantic salmon, Aloha Tofu, shrimp, tako, or a combination of two of these ingredients, add a splash of Hawaiian, spicy, wasbi, sweet ginger shoyu, Chinese-style ginger negi or yuzu ponzu sauces, and finish with any of 18 toppings or extra sauces such as spicy aioli, wasabi aoili, kabayaki or sweet chili. Toppings of avocado, Maine lobster, ikura, uni, blue crab and shredded nori come with an additional charge of 50 cents to $2.

Da Hawaiian Poke Co.'s Shaka Bowl, recently $22, features spicy ahi poke (which could use more spice), Maine lobster poke with wasabi foam, yuzu tobiko, furikake wasabi salmon poke, ikura, uni, daikon sprouts, salmon skin and kabayaki sauce, layered over your choice of white, brown or sushi rice.

Da Hawaiian Poke Co.'s Shaka Bowl, recently $22, features spicy ahi poke (which could use more spice), Maine lobster poke with wasabi foam, yuzu tobiko, furikake wasabi salmon poke, ikura, uni, daikon sprouts, salmon skin and kabayaki sauce, layered over your choice of white, brown or sushi rice.

A little simpler is the California Bowl, with Maine lobster poke and wasabi foam, yuzu tobiko, daikon sprouts, and avocado.

A little simpler is the California Bowl, with Maine lobster poke and wasabi foam, yuzu tobiko, daikon sprouts, and avocado.

If everyone orders custom poke, the operation could get bogged down, but the shop is in a place that doesn’t draw the same kind of rush crowd as a food court. But operationally, it’s something to think about, given the company’s ambitious plans to expand to Asia and the U.S. continent

You can also build your own Aloha Bowl ($11, $14) using your custom poke, starting with a choice of white, brown or vinegared sushi rice, or an additional $1.50 to start with a base of Waipoli Farm Greens; or build a bowl with Aloha Tofu poke ($7, $9), or one of the house specialty poke selections ($10, $13). The bowls come with your choice of tossed, ocean or potato/pasta salad that has more spaghetti noodles than potatoes, but I like it anyway.

Spicy ahi poke is always a staple. Here, it's not very hot. Recipes were created by Kauai chef and educator Mark Oyama, which makes me think they can't take as much heat as we can on Oahu. All the spicy and wasabi offerings here need to be amped up about four or five times to match most other Oahu outlets.

Spicy ahi poke is always a staple. Here, it's not very hot. Recipes were created by Kauai chef and educator Mark Oyama, which makes me think they can't take as much heat as we can on Oahu. All the spicy and wasabi offerings here need to be amped up about four or five times to match most other Oahu outlets.

It’s pricier, but the house Shaka Bowl ($22) combining spicy ahi poke (which could use more spice), Maine lobster poke with wasabi foam, yuzu tobiko, furikake wasabi salmon poke, ikura, uni, daikon sprouts, salmon skin and kabayaki sauce, is well worth the splurge. The sweet Santa Barbara uni used is not always available, but in that case, they double up on the lobster poke, one of my favorites here.

New York, try to top that!

Da Hawaiian Poke Co. is at Safeway Kapahulu Center, 870 Kapahulu Ave. Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. Call (808) 425-4954.

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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.

V-Day your way, from oysters to pizza

February 9th, 2016
By



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comWhat looks like a sculpture is the San Valentino dessert at Arancino at the Kahala, a special five-course menu being offered Feb. 12 through 14. Torta al Cioccolato is housemade chocolate mousse topped with raspberry sorbetto.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

What looks like a sculpture is the San Valentino dessert at Arancino at the Kahala, a special five-course menu being offered Feb. 12 through 14. Torta al Cioccolato is housemade chocolate mousse topped with raspberry sorbetto.

Whether you're a traditionalist or independent, you'll find plenty of edibles to suit your Valentine's Day style. Celebrate with the love of your life, or just say bah, humbug, and indulge in a solo tin of chocolates or heart-shaped pizza. Here's a little roundup.

Papa John’s Hawaii: The pizza specialist is bringing back its heart-shaped pizza through Monday, or while supplies last. The one-topping pizza is being paired with an 8-inch pan of fudge brownies and a bouquet of a dozen roses for $60, or a single long-stemmed rose for $25. Pre-orders beginning tomorrow are recommended. Call 979-PAPA (7272) or visit papajohnshawaii.com. For every online order made with the promo code MAWROSES, Papa John’s will also donate $5 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

marcolini heart

Pierre Marcolini: A tin containing seven of the chocolatier’s Coeurs Framboise raspberry hearts is $27. Three words about this isle newcomer: Best. Chocolates. Ever. Look for the shop on the third level of Ala Moana Center’s new Ewa Wing.

Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach: The hotel at 175 Paoakalani Ave. will host a Valentine’s Day popup featuring special guest Miller Royer of Wing Shave Ice & Ice Cream, who will be serving scoops and sundaes, from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday in the lobby. Ice cream selections available will be Rose, Mayan Xocolātl (chocolate with cinnamon and a hint of cayenne pepper), and 100 percent Kona coffee (made with award-winning Aikane Kona Coffee). A strawberry and champagne sorbet will also be available. Single scoops will be $4.71, while double scoops will cost $6.81. For those seeking something sweet to share, Royer will offer sundaes with a choice of homemade sauces, including hot fudge, strawberry sauce, or Hawaiian sea-salt caramel. The single scoop sundae will go for $6.28, with double scoop sundaes are $8.38. All prices are tax inclusive. Call (808) 922-3861 or visit waikiki.place.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html for more information.

Kahala Hotel & Resort: Pick up a box of the resort’s special hand-dipped truffles in flavors of Kula lavender milk chocolate, roasted mac-nut blonde chocolate, mango yuzu white chocolate and guava strawberry dark chocolate, to share or indulge on your own. The 16-piece box of truffles, with four of each flavor, sells for $38 at Hoku’s, Plumeria Beach House and The Veranda. Call 739-8760 or email restaurants@kahalaresort.com to reserve for pick up through Monday.

Also at the hotel, Arancino at The Kahala is offering a five-course San Valentino prix fixe dinner at $89 per person, with $30 per person wine pairings, from Friday through Sunday. Reserve at 380-4400.

Here is what's on the menu:

The meal starts with an appropriately aphrodisiacal stuzzichino, or appetizer, of Goose Point oyster and finger lime, with Sevruga caviar, ocean water gelée, and spicy olive oil presented in a pipette. Wine pairing: Taltarni "tache," Victoria, Tasmania, Australia.

The meal starts with appropriately aphrodisiacal stuzzichino, or appetizer, of Goose Point oyster and finger lime, with Sevruga caviar, ocean water gelée, and spicy olive oil presented in a pipette. Pairing: Taltarni "tache," Victoria, Tasmania, Australia.

Another view of the oyster with olive oil and pearls of finger lime added, plus succulent stem.

Another view of the oyster with olive oil and pearls of finger lime added, plus succulent.

A fondue of imported Italian fontina is presented as the antipasto course, with locally grown sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and baked pane. It is tempting to finish all the fondue, and we asked for some extra veggies, but you don't want to be too full to enjoy dessert or any post-meal recreation. Wine pairing: Pinot noir, Dog Point, Marlborough, New Zealand.

A fondue of imported Italian fontina is presented as the antipasto course, with locally grown sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and baked pane. It is tempting to finish all the fondue, and we asked for some extra veggies, but you don't want to be too full to enjoy dessert or any post-meal recreation. Pairing: Pinot noir, Dog Point, Marlborough, New Zealand.

For the primi course, you will have a choice of linguine with Saltspring Island, B.C., mussels in a garlic pomodoro sauce, or the risotto below. Pairing: Vermentino, Poggio al Tesoro, Toscana, Italy.

For the primi course, you will have a choice of linguine with Saltspring Island, B.C., mussels in a garlic pomodoro sauce, or the risotto below. This linguine is the lighter choice and I love the texture of the housemade pasta. Pairing: Vermentino, Poggio al Tesoro, Toscana, Italy.

Gold leaf-topped saffron risotto was luxurious, but braised oxtail was a little tricky to eat gracefully. Maybe not the perfect date-night option. Pairing: Amarone della Valpolicella, Bolla, Veneto, Italy.

Gold leaf-topped saffron risotto was luxurious, but braised oxtail was a little tricky to eat gracefully. Maybe not the perfect date-night option. Pairing: Amarone della Valpolicella, Bolla, Veneto, Italy.

The secondo course is a sous vide and grille local Shinsato center-cut pork loin, served over fried leeks and lotus root. Pairing: Chardonnay, Sonona "The Cutrer," Sonoma Coast, Calif.

The secondo course is a sous vide and grille local Shinsato center-cut pork loin, served over fried leeks and lotus root. Pairing: Chardonnay, Sonona "The Cutrer," Sonoma Coast, Calif.

As for The Kahala's restaurants, from Feb. 12 to 14, Plumeria Beach House will be offering an all-you-can-eat dinner buffet, at $80 per adult and $40 for children. Favorites such as prime rib and crab legs will be available, along with such special dishes as baked oysters with lehua honey butter and roasted duck breast with a raspberry gastrique. If fine dining is more your style, a lover’s four-course dinner ($120 per person) will be available at Hoku's, or enjoy a $75 per person prix fixe menu at The Veranda, with main course choices of grilled beef tenderloin and sautéed foie gras, or roasted Maine lobster with scallops. For reservations, call (808) 739-8760 or email restaurants@kahalaresort.com.

The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong: Valentine's dinner, with reservations from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, starts with a choice of Kula tomato biqsue of roasted beet and Waipoli greens salad, followed by a choice of grilled ahi or steamed crab and shrimp appetizer. Then pick one of three entrée choices from petit filet mignon, Okinawan awamori pork belly rafute, or seared mahi with Bhutanese red rice with lup cheong. Dessert is a matcha opera cake with green tea buttercream, azuki mousse and Waialua chocolate. The cost is $65 per person. Call (808) 945-6573. The restaurant is on the third floor at Macy's, Ala Moana Center.

Bali Steak & Seafood: The restaurant at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort & Spa is offering a Pre-Valentine’s Day dinner Feb. 12 and 13, at $89 per person, starting with an amuse bouche of Kona kampachi tartare with jicama, watermelon radish, cilantro and finger lime. Then take your pick of first course of island beet and Surfing Goat cheese salad; or poached Kauai prawn with Nalo Farms baby mizuna, Big Island oranges, toasted walnuts and Meyer lemon vinaigrette. Then choose from main course of Kona coffee and cocoa-dusted beef filet; pan-roasted fresh catch; or roasted Kona lobster tail. Dessert is burnt honey Pots de Crème with strawberry medallions and ganache.

Then on Valentine’s Day the $89 per person menu starts with the same amuse bouche followed by one of three first course choices of the beet-and-goat cheese salad; hamachi and strawberry carpaccio; or seared diver scallops. Then choose one of four entrées, starting with the three above, or Maui sugar-glazed duck breast. Dessert is the same as the pre-Valentine menu. A Valentine’s Day limited a la carte menu will also feature steaks and such aphrodisiac selections as blue crab cakes with mustard sauce and sambal ($21), abalone and Parmesan gnocchi ($20), market price King crab legs or a Bali Seafood Platter for two, that for $95 includes ahi poke, King crab, jumbo shrimp, abalone, Kona Kampachi Crudo, and more. Reservations: (808) 941-2254.

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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.

Award merits return of Mavro classic

February 9th, 2016
By



PHOTO COURTESY CHEF MAVRO Chef Mavro's George Mavrothalassitis is bringing back his salt-crusted onaga in celebration of the restaurant's latest AAA 5 Diamond Award.

PHOTO COURTESY CHEF MAVRO

Chef Mavro's George Mavrothalassitis is bringing back his salt-crusted onaga in celebration of the restaurant's latest AAA Five Diamond Award.

In celebration of another Five Diamond Award from The American Automobile Association, Chef Mavro is bringing back his famous onaga baked in a rosemary-Hawaiian salt crust, through Feb. 12.

The AAA Five Diamond list is based on anonymous visits by restaurant inspectors. Only 0.2 percent of the 30,000 restaurants reviewed earn the top rating. Chef Mavro restaurant’s first Five Diamond Award was in 2008 and it continues to be the only independently owned restaurant in Hawaii, and one of only a handful in the U.S. to achieve the AAA’s highest rating, placing the restaurant in the company of such internationally renowned restaurants as Le Bernardin, Per Se, Daniel, Eleven Madison Park, and Jean Georges in New York; and in California. The French Laundry, Gary Danko, and Benu, among others.

Here is the link to the award winners.

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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.

The Nook welcomes diners to dinner

February 3rd, 2016
By



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comI never get tired of ordering The Nook's grilled ribeye with wasabi creme fraiche and Yukon potato with pork belly bits. It's on the menu now that the restaurant has launched dinner service.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

I never get tired of ordering The Nook's grilled ribeye with wasabi creme fraiche and Yukon potato with pork belly bits. It's on the menu now that the restaurant has launched dinner service.

The Nook Neighborhood Bistro opened in summer of 2014 and quickly picked up a following because of its homey vibe, and casual brunch offerings with creative twists within a framework of sustainability. We were all set for breakfast and brunch, but given the great food, many longed for more.

Well, the moment has arrived. Over the holidays, the Nook quietly introduced dinner service, and if you’re already a fan of their breakfasts, you’ll likely find yourself returning at night.

It’s taken them this long to secure a liquor license that makes extending food service worthwhile. To put things into perspective, the menu features one page of food and three pages of drinks ranging from wines by the glass or bottle, draft and bottle beers, and cocktails such as a “Classic-ish Mai Tai” ($10) with bruléed pineapple.

Owners Hailey Berkey and Anicea Campanale are a welcome sight and score extra points for being among the few women restaurateurs able to make a go of their business in what’s still a man’s world. The oversight of these longtime friends provides assurance that service will run smoothly. Berkey works the front of the house while Campanale exercises her creativity in the kitchen.

Although people inquired whether favorites from the brunch menu would reappear on the dinner menu, Campanale didn’t want to repeat herself and has created a menu that will give you amnesia over just what you liked about breakfast once you find your new favorite dishes.

Campanale said her family didn't know how to eat fennel other than to bite into the raw bulb. She now turns them into tempura-battered frites ($7) made even more delicious when dipped into a curry aioli.

Campanale said her family didn't know how to eat fennel other than to bite into the raw bulb. She now turns them into tempura-battered frites ($7) made even more delicious when dipped into a curry aioli.

Not everyone is a fan of fennel. If you're not sure where you stand, try the crunchy polenta fries ($7) instead, served with a blue cheese and balsamic reduction or garlic Sriracha aioli.

Not everyone is a fan of fennel. If you're not sure where you stand, try the crunchy polenta fries ($7) instead, served with a blue cheese and balsamic reduction or garlic Sriracha aioli.

There’s not a single wrong note in the “First Bites” selections that boil down to a matter of preference. Do you want the fresh, bright lime notes of Kauai shrimp and fish ceviche ($14), above, or the warmth of steamed clams ($13) in a warm broth of white wine, garlic, lime and chilies, with crumbled Shinsato pork sausage, below?

There’s not a single wrong note in the “First Bites” selections that boil down to a matter of preference. Do you want the fresh, bright lime notes of Kauai shrimp and fish ceviche ($14), above, or the warmth of steamed clams ($13) in a warm broth of white wine, garlic, lime and chilies, with crumbled Shinsato pork sausage, below?

nook clams

Housemade paté ($9) is also wonderful, but the portion is skimpy considering they’ve done the work of spreading it for you, bruschetta-style, on a few pieces of toasty baguette, topped with Ali’i mushrooms and arugula.

Housemade paté ($9) is also wonderful, but the portion is skimpy considering they’ve done the work of spreading it for you, bruschetta-style, on a few pieces of toasty baguette, topped with Ali’i mushrooms and arugula.

The one dish I’ve come back to each time I’ve been here is the orange green tea chicken ($14), a bowl of tender fried Jidori chicken with a whisper of orange sauce, fried garlic and chilies, served with a small glass of Sexpot green tea. I’ve seen people order this dish as an entrée, but I consider it one to be shared as a little bit of fried chicken goes a long way. The only problem with sharing is the awkwardness of sharing the tea. Hopefully, your friends will generously relinquish their shares to you.

The one dish I’ve come back to each time I’ve been here is the orange green tea chicken ($14), a bowl of tender fried Jidori chicken with a whisper of orange sauce, fried garlic and chilies, served with a small glass of Sexpot green tea. I’ve seen people order this dish as an entrée, but I consider it one to be shared as a little bit of fried chicken goes a long way. The only problem with sharing is the awkwardness of sharing the tea. Hopefully, your friends will generously relinquish their shares to you.

Campanale reveals her Italian upbringing in a dish of grilled asparagus ($9) layered with local sunnyside-up egg with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano with a splash of truffle oil, worth ordering again and again.

Campanale reveals her Italian upbringing in a dish of grilled asparagus ($9) layered with local sunnyside-up egg with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano with a splash of truffle oil, worth ordering again and again.

We were a little confused by the Okinawan sweet potato gnocchi ($15) though. Instead of announcing the dish as “nyo-key,” our waiter said “nochi,” like “mochi.” When it had the chewy texture of mochi, we thought that was a clever play on words. When that was not the case, well then it was just bouncy gnocchi, which is not the desired state.

We were a little confused by the Okinawan sweet potato gnocchi ($15) though. Instead of announcing the dish as “nyo-key,” our waiter said “nochi,” like “mochi.” When it had the chewy texture of mochi, we thought that was a clever play on words. When that was not the case, well then it was just bouncy gnocchi, which is not the desired state.

I'd also pass on the pastelone ($18), a nice attempt at a gluten-free "pasta," by substituting the plantains of pastele, and topping it with a Big Island beef marinara and green olives, topped with cheddar and fontina. Unfortunately, the flavor and texture of the plantains wilt under the weight of the salty meat sauce and cheese.

I'd also pass on the pastelone ($18), a nice attempt at a gluten-free "pasta," by substituting the plantains of pastele, and topping it with a Big Island beef marinara and green olives, topped with cheddar and fontina. Unfortunately, the flavor and texture of the plantains wilt under the weight of the salty meat sauce and cheese.

All is well with the real pasta, a roasted vegetable linguini ($17) with bacon. I was particular enamored by the sweet roasted kabocha in the dish.

All is well with the real pasta, a roasted vegetable linguini ($17) with bacon. I was particular enamored by the sweet roasted kabocha in the dish.

I love pork belly more than beef, and the braised pork belly ($23) with a hint of cinnamon and sweetness of Asian pear gastrique is also wonderful, but it's the steak that I've come back for every time.

I love pork belly more than beef, and the braised pork belly ($23) with a hint of cinnamon and sweetness of Asian pear gastrique is also wonderful, but it's the steak that I've come back for every time.

Going light on dessert works for me, and for that, there is yuzu sorbet. But if you're not counting calories and are young enough to indulge, you must try the mochi churros served with a cup of killer Mexican chocolate.

Going light on dessert works for me, and for that, there is yuzu sorbet. But if you're not counting calories and are young enough to indulge, you must try the mochi churros served with a cup of killer Mexican chocolate.

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The Nook Neighborhood Bistro is on the ground floor at Puck’s Alley, 1035 University Ave. Open for brunch from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays to Sundays, and dinner 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 6 p.m. to midnight Fridays to Sundays. Call (808) 942-2222.

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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.

Chef Mavro makes Foodie Top 100 list

January 28th, 2016
By



PHOTOS COURTESY CHEF MAVRO / nkam@staradvertiser.comChef George Mavrothalassitis harvests watercress at Sumida Farm. Accolades keep rolling in for the chef and his restaurant.

PHOTOS COURTESY CHEF MAVRO / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Chef George Mavrothalassitis harvests watercress at Sumida Farm. Accolades keep rolling in for the chef and his restaurant.

Chef Mavro is the only Hawaii restaurant to have made Mode Media's Foodie Top 100 Restaurants Awards list.

Critics said "A synergic union of French technique, local ingredients and Hawaiian flavor," is what earned the restaurant a spot on the list.

The Foodie Top 100 Restaurant Awards are created by a select group of food critics, based on food first, followed by experience, service and beverage options. It allows the critics to select the leading chefs at restaurants without a price point or wine list as a requirement.

"The Foodie Top 100 Restaurants list stands apart as a guide for global restaurant exploration that is focused on carefully curating the most outstanding food experiences,” said Patricia Wells, representing France.

Other participating critics are Gael Greene (United States), Masuhiro Yamamoto (Japan), Jonathan Gold (United States), Charles Campion (United Kingdom), Alexander Lobrano (France), Sam Ohta (Japan), Yuki Yamamura (Japan) Kundo Koyama (Japan), Aun Koh (Singapore), Vir Sanghvi (India) Michael Bauer (United States), Karen Brooks (United States), Phil Vettel (United States), Marie-Claude Lortie (Canada) and the Mode Media team: Samir Arora (publisher/editor), Erika Lenkert (editor) and Diane Tapscott (mnaging editor).

Here are links to my most recent visit to Mavro, at 1969 S. King St., as well as SF Area's State Bird Provisions, showing two very different, but excellent experiences.

Inside Chef Mavro.

Inside Chef Mavro.

Here is the list of Foodie Top 100 RESTAURANTS U.S. 2016

SOUTHWEST / HAWAII

Joël Robuchon

Restaurant Guy Savoy

Twist by Pierre Gagnaire

Uchiko

Chef Mavro

NEW YORK AREA

ABC Kitchen

Atera

Bâtard

Le Bernardin

Blanca

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Bouley

Brushstroke

Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

Daniel

Eleven Madison Park

Empellón Cucina

Fatty Crab

Gotham Bar & Grill

La Grenouille

Ichimura at Brushstroke

Jean-Georges

Kajitsu

Masa

The Modern

Momofuko Ko

Morimoto NYC

Red Farm NYC

The River Café

Rosanjin

Shuko

Soto

Sushi of Gari

Tsukushi

LOS ANGELES AREA

Animal

Bistro Laurent

Farmshop

Matsuhiusa

Mélisse

Mozzaplex/Chi'Spacca

Nobu Malibu

n/naka

Providence

Rustic Canyon Restaurant & Wine Bar

Shunji

Spago

Taco Maria

Trois Mec

Urasawa

SF BAY AREA

Acquerrello

Atelier Crenn

Aubergine in L'auberge Carmel

Benu

Chez Panisse/Cafe

Coi

Commis

Keiko À Nob Hill

Kusakabe

Manresa

Quince

Saison

Sierra Mar

State Bird Provisions

Sushi Sam's Edomata

Terra Restaurant

The French Laundry

The Restaurant at Meadowood

The Village Pub

Wakuriya

CHICAGO / ST. LOUIS

Alinea

Blackbird

El Ideas

Elizabeth

Goosefoot

Grace

MK

Naha-Chicago

Spiaggia

Topolobampo

Tru

Tony's

NORTHWEST

Altura Restaurant

Ava Gene's

Beast

Canlis

Castagna Restaurant

The Herbfarm

Le Pigeon

Pok Pok

Poppy

Roe

Sitka and Spruce

SOUTH

Blackberry Farm

The Inn at Little Washington

Bacchanalia

Restaurant August

NORTHEAST

Menton

o Ya

Vetri

Zahav

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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.