Archive for the ‘First course: What's new’ Category

First course: Stripsteak

By
August 23rd, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Michael Mina is excited to be opening his first restaurant in Hawaii. Stripsteak by Michael Mina will open its doors Aug. 25 at International Market Place.

Whereas I have heard some imported chefs dissing Hawaii's cuisine lately, Michael Mina embraces it. He clearly loves everything about Hawaii, saying that he has tried multiple times to open a restaurant here.

And why not? He's practically a part-time resident anyway, traveling here about five times a year to vacation because he "doesn't want to be disappointed," as he has been when traveling elsewhere.

The reason is simple. "I need the time to unwind, and here, I can unwind in a day. Otherwise, it's hard for me."

So he's thrilled to be opening Stripsteak by Michael Mina at the International Market Place. His restaurant will open at lunch time, from 11:30 a.m. Aug. 25, the same day as the market place, and he'll be here through early September to make sure the operation is running smoothly.

COURTESY STRIPSTEAK

The restaurant's interior hews closely to these artist's rendering of Strip Steak's bar and lounge, and dining room.

strip int

"I'm definitely nervous, I'm always nervous when opening a new restaurant," he said. But he said because this is a city where many people pass through, his waitstaff is accustomed to dealing with every type of patron, and he's happy with the team he's assembled, starting with executive chef Ben Jenkins, an 18-year company veteran whose held the top posts in the Mina Group.

The restaurant represents a departure from the traditional steak house in that Mina said he's noted that people no longer embrace the stereotypical notion of walking into a steakhouse and being almost too stuffed to walk out. He said people want to eat lighter and cleaner.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Staffers go through a training session in the dining room, during which Mina Group president Patric Yumul offers serving suggestions and demos the tableside presentation of Michael's ahi tuna (poke).

Michael's ahi tuna (poke) calls for first mixing the egg, then tossing the fish with ancho chili pepper, sweet Asian pear and pine nuts before enjoying on toast points. Different, yet still credible for locals steeped in poke knowledge.

With Stripsteak Waikiki, Mina is merging the best ideas from his Bourbon Steak restaurants and izakaya-style Pabu restaurants, a combination that fits in naturally with Hawaii's diverse culinary scene, where we are accustomed to preceding main courses with raw selections, and of course, surf-and-turf combos.

He said obsession over great product and great technique, binds the steak house with the izakaya, and both concepts suit the modern diner, who enjoys sharing dishes as a path to exploring more of what a menu has to offer. Especially with the addition of distinct regional flavors.

As for prices, starters range from $8 and $12 for charred edamame and blistered shishito peppers, respectively, up to $21 for chilled lobster tacos and $31 for Hudson Valley foie gras with roasted pineapple, brioche, coconut and macadamia nuts.

Japanese A5 striploin is $34 per ounce, 10-ounce prime flat iron steak is $44 and 8-ounce filet mignon is $54.
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Stripsteak by Michael Mina is in the International Market Place, 2330 Kalakaua Ave., Suite 330. Lunch 11:30 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays, dinner from 5:30 p.m. nightly. Call 800-3094.

A blessing of the 8,600 square foot restaurant took place Aug. 23. From left are Kahu Cordell, chef Ben Jenkins, Michael Mina, Mina Group president Patric Yumul and general manager Ron Bonifacio.

A trio of cocktails including the Black Tie, a mai tai reimagined with black sesame paste. Delicious! And duck fat fries, regular and furikake, served with a trio of sauces: ketchup, truffle and tonkatsu.

The market price "Luau Feast" raw platter featuring king crab legs, whole lobster, six oysters, six clams, six shrimp, six pieces of sashimi, two sushi rolls and two kinds of poke, for four to six.

The feast was almost as big as Krislyn Hashimoto.

A "small plate" of Instant Bacon comprised Kurobuta pork belly topped with tempura oyster and black pepper-soy glaze.

Blistered shishito peppers with slivers of espelette pepper and daikon sprouts are served over watermelon carpaccio, just in case you get the hot one. I did!

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Of course you can't go to Stripsteak and order everything BUT the steak. This market price World Wide Wagyu set features Japanese A5 striploin, American wagyu skirt steak and Australian wagyu shortrib. Yes, the Japanese are hard to beat.

A side of creamed corn with Jalapeño is so ono, $12.

A side of creamed corn with Jalapeño is so ono, $12. At this point, I had to leave for a second dinner, so didn't get a chance to sample dessert. I will make up for it later.


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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.

Chibo moves to Beach Walk

By
August 15th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Negiyaki is one of my favorite dishes at Okonomiyaki Chibo.

Okonomiyaki Chibo has a new address, having moved out of Royal Hawaiian Center and onto Beach Walk Avenue, next to Bill's restaurant. The move into what was formerly Bill's downstairs cafe has meant downsizing from more than a hundred seats to fewer than 50, making it a lot cozier.

With the move, there's also been some menu changes, including making a few "hidden" menu options official, with a permanent spot so that everyone can enjoy them, not just those in the know. These dishes have a lot to do with comfort, such as okonomiyaki-style omelet of egg and slices of pork, and potatoes two ways (hash browned and sautéed) with bacon and onions.

They're still acclimating to the change, but for now, below is a sampling of a few dishes available.

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Okonomiyaki Chibo is at 280 Beach Walk Ave., Suite L-106. Open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m. daily. Happy hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

This hidden menu combo of pork and egg is now on Chibo's menu for good.

This hidden menu combo of pork and egg is now on Chibo's menu for good.

Salads cut the guilt involved with eating out, and Chibo offers several options, including this tofu salad.

A Korean salad features a spicy dressing and sprinkling of sesame seeds over lettuce, beet strings, carrots, red cabbage, onions and fishcake.

A carpaccio trio of maguro, salmon and tako are part of a new tapas menu.

A carpaccio trio of maguro, salmon and tako are part of a new tapas menu.

Paper thin crispy gyoza is one of the specialties at Chibo. That little bit of sauce packs an intensely salty kick.

Grilled opakapaka is a welcome addition to the menu at Chibo.

Fluffy garlic fried rice and miso soup are staples for accompanying any dish.

Potato lovers will be drawn to this duo of hash browns and sautéed potatoes with bacon, though the bacon was rather flabby. Crisp mo' betta.

Well this is an interesting dish for teppan steak lovers with vegan friends. This is faux steak made with konnyaku, or potato gelatin, known for being high in fiber and low in calories. It looks like steak, but its bounce factor is recognizably konnyaku. It's $8 vs. $38 for Prime New York steak here.

A strawberry or pineapple slush is a refreshing treat on a hot day. There's ice cream on the bottom. It's $8.

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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.

Roy's Beach House now open

By
August 4th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Roy's Beach House has opened its doors at the Turtle Bay Resort.

Roy Yamaguchi is a busy man on a roll this year, slated to open four Hawaii restaurants. First to debut is Roy's Beach House at Turtle Bay Resort, which opened its doors Aug. 2.

During a preview dinner a day ahead of the opening, I was able to sample some of the resort menu at the beachfront restaurant and bar that replaced Ola restaurant.

Given the beachfront setting, surprisingly the first in Roy's 28-year history in the islands, the chef offers fare worthy of Hawaii's royals who once swam and relaxed at Kuilima Cove, and honors Hawaii's hotelier history with dishes like pineapple upside-down cake and Surf & Turf, that attempted to introduce a little bit of Hawaii's culinary fare to westbound visitors. We've come a long way since then, but those dishes do stir a pleasant sense of nostalgia.

Next up will be his Eating House 1849 restaurant, which pays homage to Hawaii's plantation past, set to open in the revamped International Market Place, followed by openings in Kapolei and on Maui. Can't wait for all of International Market Place to open, but for now, photos below show little of what you can expect from a visit to Roy's Beach House.
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Roy's Beach House at Turtle Bay Resort is open daily for lunch from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Call (808) 293-7697.

A glorious beach setting is always a welcome sight.

Another welcome sight after a long drive, Beach House sangria and Just Because cocktail of rum, passionfruit and lilikoi purée and mint, topped with coconut flakes. So ono!

I love that Kualoa Ranch is able to produce oysters, served here with wasabi cocktail sauce, Tabasco-tequila mignonette and jalapeño ponzu.

Island-style poke over your choice of brown or white rice is $20.

TOP 3 DISHES

Here are my dinner picks to date, though I need to go back and reaccess before a formal review.

Maybe because it's summer, and it's so hot outside, this Hau'ula tomato salad ($16) was light and fresh, just what I needed.

Again, because there was so much meat on the table, silky misoyaki butterfish ($38) with sizzled Ho Farms tomato sauce offered respite from heavier dishes.

I loved the idea of retro pineapple upside-down cake and the mellow sweetness of the caramelized pineapple. Not a sour note here.

MORE DISHES

This photo doesn't begin to show how large this Tuscan braised lamb shank is. Let's just say it was shared by eight people and I had enough leftovers for two meals. Beans could have had less salt.

Macadamia nut mahimahi is a stock dish that gets an upgrade from an accompaniment of lobster Pernod essence, like a concentrated lobster bisque.

When the mahi reappeared with braised shortribs on a Surf & Turf plate ($37), we didn't know the sauce was the lobster essence for the fish, so dipped the beef in it. The shellfish-beef combo was a winner with the men at the table.

Thai chicken was layered with curry sauce and a sprinkling of peanuts. Served with pineapple chutney and jasmine rice.

Chocolate souffle cake is always a favorite of chocoholics.

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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.

Bozu's dozens of temptations

By
July 27th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Beef in a decadent (and telegenic) appetizer of mountain yam and sea urchin beef roll (currently $15.75 for three) at the newly open Bozu Japanese Restaurant at McCully Shopping Center was rather chewy, but if you're the type who swallows your sushi in one gulp, this should pose no problem. The leaf is shiso. The dab of green on top is wasabi.

Hoshi Katsu has stepped out of the kitchen of other Japanese restaurants around town, most notably Imanas Tei, to open Bozu Japanese Restaurant on the second floor at McCully Shopping Center, and there are a lot of foodies around town who are going to be happy that he did.

His izakaya is a joy, with many a jewel of a dish leaving me with a hunger to try what's next, and next. Portions are small, but mostly reasonable when shared. It's best to try it with at least three friends in tow so you can explore the range of hot-cold, seafood-meat, grill-saute, raw-cooked specialties.

Then there are the things that can't be shared, like chilled chawanmushi or crab miso soup. Get your own.

And, my best piece of advice is, keep your eyes open for what's going out to other tables. It's a little bit like "When Harry Met Sally." "I want what she's having," without the moaning. Chances are you'll see lots you want to try, even if you'd already filled your belly and it means booking your next reservation before walking out the door.

My full review is in the paper today. Here's a snapshot of dishes sampled:

TOP 3 DISHES

Chilled chawanmushi is a refreshing summer treat, with the flavors of the ocean, including bursts of salt from fresh ikura pearls. Currently $7.50 per glass, roughly about twice the size of a shot glass.

Slices of juicy, grilled black pork tontoro. You may need more than one of these $8 servings. Portions tend to be small here, which works for those who want to cover as much of the varied menu as possible.

Chicken liver mousse had us clamoring for more bread to scoop up every delicious bite.

LEAST FAVORITE

Tsukune, tare style, was tasty on the outside, but lacked flavor on the inside, though I appreciated the attempt to make it more interesting with a crunchy mince of lotus root inside.

A special of crab miso soup looked divine but the crab required too much hard work without enough of a payoff.

A crab mayo whitefish roll with avocado seemed promising but it was rather dry and fell

A crab mayo whitefish roll with avocado seemed promising but it was rather dry and fell apart. It was incongruously paired with tomato sauce.

THE REST

I have often mentioned how little I care for rice. What I do love are potatoes, and Bozu's tangy potato salad.

What's better than french fries? Fries sprinkled with garlic and housemade anchovy sauce. Not everyone will appreciate the fishiness, but I do. I wish someone here would make fish paste fried chicken the way it's done in Singapore. Yummers!

For others who don't care for rice, Bozu has a cucumber wrap, riceless "sushi" with a center of ahi, yellowtail, salmon, whitefish, cab and avocado. I loved the combination with crunch, but didn't photograph it. This is the house Bozu Roll with rice, and all of the above plus shrimp.

Chef/owner Hoshi Katsu at work, plating the masterpiece below. Sorry, I don't know what it was. A lot of things were going out to other tables after I ordered, on every occasion. Which is what I mean about wanting more every time you see a dish go by.

bozudisplay

Can anybody ever go wrong with hamachi kama?

A dish of fried chicken and eggplant is Bozu's nod to Chinese cuisine. The sauce was rather heavy and I liked the dish's crunchy zucchini best. It was unscathed by the sauce.

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Someone once told me they missed aku poke. So I decided to see what I was missing and try the aku tataki. Now I know why ahi is the fish of choice. The texture is better.

Mirugai kushiyaki was one of about 20 daily seafood specials. This was $5.75 per skewer.

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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.

4th of July Four Seasons-style

By
July 6th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Glen Almazan oversaw a raw bar featuring crab claws and snow crab legs, and different kinds of poke.

All across the nation, the 4th of July is celebrated with an All-American backyard bash. In Hawaii, the beach cookout is another popular option. So the Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina made it a double celebration when it hosted a grand opening party for 500 with a backyard barbecue extraordinaire, complete with a view of the resortwide fireworks show at the end of the evening.

Guests were welcomed with cocktails and treated to music by Tahiti Rey while enjoying food from a raw bar, seafood paella, bone-in prime rib, roast pork, and grilled corn on the cob which my friends and I were calling magic corn after enjoying a version of it during a visit to the resort's Fish House restaurant. (This was a pared down version, so you'll just have to go to the restaurant to get the full impact of just how good it is.)

Fireworks above the palm trees.

In addition to his welcoming remarks, Jeff Stone, founder of The Resort Group behind the development of the Four Seasons property, formerly the Ihilani Resort. Looking to Maui for inspiration, he said he envisions Ko Olina as "Wailea on Oahu," as a draw for travelers, with the aim of creating another economic engine for Hawaii.

Well, they certainly started with a bang!

Biggest wok ever.

Welcoming cocktails.

A table set with bone-in prime rib and tomato and arugula salad.

Roast herbed potatoes and a view of the beachfront lawn.

More prime rib making its way to other stations across the lawn.

Paella for 500.

Grilled corn being plated for service.

I had a view of the fireworks from the adult pool deck.

PHOTO BY MELISSA CHANG

Gangsta pose at the end of the night with Sean Morris, with Four Seasons caps added to our red, white and blue outfits.


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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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