Archive for the ‘American’ Category

BLT Steak's new Sunset menu

By
October 7th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Grilled double-cut bacon is one of the pleasures on the new Sunset Menu at BLT Steak.

With former BLT Steak chef Johann Svensson's move up the street to BLT Market, BLT Steak's new chef de cuisine Guillaume Thivet is introducing himself with a new Sunset Menu, available from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. daily at the restaurant in the Trump International Hotel Waikiki, at 1223 Saratoga Road.

Chef Guillame Thivet has taken over the kitchen at BLT Steak.

Here's a look at some of the new dishes to ease you into the weekend:

An Aloha Kitty cocktail features Grey Goose pear, peach Schnapps, guava and grapefruit juices, crowned with a strawberry and blueberry bow.

During a recent visit, West Coast oysters were $3 apiece.

What looks like poke is really Molokai Ranch steak tartare, topped with quail egg.

p align="left">For those with a taste for decadence, Molokai Ranch shortrib poutine.

For those with a taste for decadence, there is Molokai Ranch shortrib poutine.

Be careful with the spicy tempura Kualoa shrimp. It's served head-on.

A stylized mini chirashi dish of tuna, kampachi, salmon and ikura is $16.

If you've arrived at the steakhouse for steak, feel free to order off the dinner menu. This 36-ounce Porterhouse for two is $105.

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

BLT Market launches pau hana

By
October 6th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Among cocktails on BLT Market's pau hana menu are a lilikoi margarita with cayenne salt rim and Lavender Lady made with Capasaldo prosecco, Hendricks gin and lavender.

BLT Market has launched a pau hana menu for those days when hunger kicks in before dinner or you just don't want to go home. Chef Johann Svensson's menu offers an introduction the the restaurant's full farm-to-table menus that offer the surprise of fresh ingredients available on a particular day.

The restaurant is in the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki, 383 Kalaimoku St., on the lobby level. The elevator system might be confusing for those who don't travel much. Just hit "L" outside the door and let technology take care of the rest.

Here's a look at a few items on the new menu, offered between 3 and 6 p.m. daily.

A half dozen oysters served with wasabi cocktail sauce and mignonette. These are from Kualoa Ranch, with a clean, mild flavor—I learned from visiting the ranch—is partly due to the ranch's process of letting the oysters fast in nutrient-free water and poop days before going to market.

Another preparation of oysters from the dinner menu, served with a purée of shishito peppers and crowned with smoked trout roe. So yummy!

Light and fresh tuna poke is served with crisped rice crackers. Recently, $16.

Blistered shishito peppers are served with chipotle crème fraîche. In the gamble to find the one hot pepper in the bunch, I was relieved they were all mild.

The Market burger is wonderful, topped with cheddar, crisp lettuce and onions, and accompanied by truffle aioli and your choice of regular or sweet potato fries. Recently, $24.

Yukon potato croquettes were served with black truffle aioli.

Grilled watermelon with black pepper purée and pistachio is an example of amuses that await dinner guests.

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

Top of Waikiki marks 50th year

By
October 6th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Foie gras brioche is among the appetizers on the new 50th anniversary menu selections at Top of Waikiki.

Perhaps coinciding with the Space Age that began in fall of 1957 with the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik I, the fascination with technology and the open skies led to the development of spaceship-shaped revolving restaurants in the sky.

The first revolving restaurant opened in 1961 atop Egypt's Cairo Tower, the same year Seattle architect John Graham was tapped to design a revolving restaurant, La Ronde, near the newly opened Ala Moana Center. Then in 1966, came The Top of Waikiki, now marking its 50th anniversary with a recent refresh and a new menu that combines old and new to satisfy both newcomers to the restaurants, as well as old-timers and visitors who return for the classic steak and Bearnaise sauce that owes its existence to a maitre d’ at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The dish dominated menus of the 1960s, right after Julia Child debuted her cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," awakening a fascination with the Gallic table.

It's a chef's dilemma to serve two audiences, but executive chef Lance Kosaka does a great job paying homage to the restaurant's roots while offering up progressive selections at a 21st century pace.

With La Ronde gone, the Top of Waikiki is a treasure that continues to revolve, giving diners a panoramic view from mountain to ocean, east side and west side. Stop by for dinner and enjoy the ride.
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Top of Waikiki is on the 21st floor at at 2270 Kalakaua Ave. Open 5 to 9:30 p.m. daily. Call (808) 923-3877.

Here's a look at dishes from the 50th anniversary menu:

I loved these kalbi and kim chee tacos with crunchy summer squash and zucchini, just $10 on the happy hour menu, offered from 5 to 9:30 p.m. daily at the bar.

Ahi lettuce wraps are also on the happy hour menu.

Goat cheese rangoons on the dinner menu.

Fois gras mousse tops housemade brioche, with dots of guava jelly, on the appetizer menu at Top of Waikiki.

Local-style BBQ half Jidori chicken with warm potato salad and veggies is one of the entrées on the 50th anniversary menu.

Filipino cuisine is coming on strong across the nation, and a dish of slow-roasted porchetta was inspired by lechon kawali features a tomato and onion relish, served over mung bean risotto.

Food history lives with an entree of filet Oscar topped with butter-poached king crab legs, asparagus and served with Bearnaise and veal jus, and a side of roasted tomatoes and red bliss potatoes.

I loved pastry chef Heather Bryan's light dessert of pineapple shave ice with coconut sorbet, vanilla bean tapioca, strawberry syrup and sweetened condensed milk.

Housemade doughnuts filled with ilikoi curd and served with strawberry ice cream.

Haupia-filled eclairs served with dark chocolate sauce and candied macadamia nuts.

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

First Look: Eating House 1849

By
September 6th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Chef Roy Yamaguchi was tending to business at his newest Eating House 1849 early in the morning on Aug. 25, opening day of both the International Market Place and his restaurant at the market place's third-floor Grand Lanai.

Not wanting to miss any of the action on opening day, Aug. 25, of the International Market Place, media were among the first people on the property. And chef Roy Yamaguchi was another earlybird, hovering around his newest baby, Eating House 1849, which also opened that morning.

Yamaguchi has been on a roll this year, having opened Roy's Beach House Aug. 2 at Turtle Bay Resort, with two more Eating Houses set to open in Kapolei and Maui.

It's exciting to see him break from his original Roy's Asian fusion formula and explore new territory, even if what's new is inspired by the past. With Eating House 1849, Yamaguchi goes back to the roots of Hawaii's restaurant scene to pay homage to Peter Fernandez, who opened one of Hawaii’s first restaurants in the 19th century, and called it Eating House. Fernandez used ingredients available from local farmers, ranchers, foragers and fishermen, a practice our top chefs are trying to reclaim today, after decades of seeing our palates shaped and restaurants co-opted, by sellers of convenience.

The outdoor patio and bar.

The pork and shrimp gyoza with garlic aioli and spicy XO sauce were so good, we ended up ordering up a second serving because one per person just isn't enough.

Yamaguchi explained that the first food purveyors were likely the equivalent of today's bed and breakfasts, where people seeking room and board were fed simple meals. Entrepreneurs like Fernandez offered an alternative.

Of course, this being Roy, don't expect your great, great, great grandfather's chicken hekka or Porgtuguese bean soup. Though rooted in our plantation heritage and the chef's taste memories of his grandfather's cooking, dishes are thoroughly contemporary to suit today's more adventurous, sophisticated palate. Something like Eating House 1849's "Huli Huli" kim chee pork belly, with its combo of pork belly laced with go chu jang and miso aioli, and draped with kim chee would probably have made your ancestors' heads spin and their eyes pop out of their sockets. The audacity! The explosion of flavors! But for us descendants, it is oh so good.
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Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi is on the third floor Grand Lana at International Market Place, Waikiki. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner. Call 924-1849.

Most people don't think of vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts as an adequate pupu, but these are fried with toasted pine nuts, Golden raisins and tossed with balsamic vinegar to become the appetizer of your dreams.

Hawaii's Portuguese heritage is celebrated with this dish of Manila clam and Hawaiian tako cataplana with housemade linguica. The mild tomato sauce left something to be desired, as did the sweet bread, though I get the connection. With more Italian restaurants out there, people just assume red sauce = garlic bread.

After doubling up on the gyoza, it was really tempting to do the same with "Huli Huli" pork belly. This dish with go chu jang, miso aioli, kim chee and green onions amounted to a party in the mouth, in a good way, without trashing the premises. Flavors were balanced and got on well together. So awesome!

Sometimes sequence is everything. After the pork belly, Lola's pork adobo lumpia seemed rather staid; served with a small green papaya salad and sambal tomato that wasn't particularly memorable.

Housemade corned beef reuben gets an assist from local Naked Cow Dairy Swiss cheese, Mul kim chi and the brightness of Thousand Island dressing.

It's not local without a loco moco, and the Hawaii Ranchers beef patty with Hawaiian mushroom gravy makes this one outstanding. So juicy!

Kiawe-smoked ribeye + chimichurri sauce. 'Nuff said.

Dessert of molten lava cake and vanilla bean ice cream will make you appreciate the evolution of restaurants since the days of the original Eating House.

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

Saturday brunch at Mud Hen

By
August 9th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

A cava bar is at the heart of new Saturday morning brunch at Mud Hen Water in Kaimuki. It starts with sparkling wine for build-your-own mimosas and sangrias with ingredients like mango and lilikoi purées, champagne grapes, sliced strawberries, and simple syrups.

Many of us use weekends for catching up on all the errands we can't get to over the busy week. But, it should be a time to restore a little balance and relaxation to our lives. For me, there are few things more relaxing than a weekend brunch, and Mud Hen Water separates itself from the pack with the offering of a cava bar and dishes that are strictly local in inspiration.

Start with a $12 carafe of sparkling wine for build-your-own mimosas and sangrias with ingredients like mango and lilikoi purées, champagne grapes, sliced strawberries, and simple syrups.

With drink in hand, you can start perusing a menu that follows through on Ed Kenney's philosophy for the restaurant, of delivering a "Hawaiian sense of plate," setting it apart from just about every restaurant in town. Don't expect your basic bacon and eggs here. Instead, your locally inspired breakfast will more likely feature biscuit and mapo tofu gravy, waffle-fried chicken wings with spicy guava sauce, and corned beef hash with kim chee. Here's a look:

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It's always nice to share, and Mud Hen allows you to do that with its popular Sea Board, on this visit comprising smoked a'u ku, preserved akule, walu brandade fritter, cheese, soda crackers, bread, starfruit mostarda and pickles, for $22. I loved the varied flavor profiles of the fish, and liked the walu fritter so much I ordered seconds.

Polenta can be one-dimensional in large quantity and tiresome after a while, but the GoFarm Polenta here is topped with Sweetland Farm goat cheese, stewed fruit and honey to make it more interesting. This dish is $11.

One of my favorite dishes was the waffle-fried chicken wings. The batter was feather light and crisp. It's served with spicy guava sauce and slaw ($12). I'm not that big a fan of sweet sauces. I would love to see this redone with prawn paste, as done in Singapore. Now that would be spectacular!

The Eggs Benedict reimagined as biscuit and mapo gravy, with two eggs and bok choy ($13).

Somewhere under that egg is corned beef hash accompanied by avocado and kim chee ($15). Eat separately or mix it all up bi bim bap style.

Fresh fish and lu'au is served with two poached eggs, roasted roots and inamona dukkah ($18). This was another of my favorite dishes. They have a way with roots.

Fresh fruit offered at the cava bar.


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Mud Hen Water is at 3452 Waialae Ave. Saturday brunch runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 737-6000.

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

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