Hawaii’s Mightiest Chef and Valentine’s sweets

Jo McGarry
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Friday - February 06, 2009
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Ruth’s Chris Executive Chef Kyle Yonashiro

A bite-sized look at food events in Honolulu.

Sansei Has Mightiest Chef.

Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar’s Chef Rod Dizar took his talents to the Battleship Missouri last weekend and walked away with the title of “Hawaii’s Mightiest Chef.” Dizar, who’s part of the creative culinary team at Sansei, made two of the restaurant’s signature dishes for the cookoff as civilian and military chefs sweated it out during the challenge.

The winning dishes were king crab ramen with an Asian truffle broth, and crispy tempura hand roll. Both winning dishes are available at the restaurant, located within the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House Executive Chef Kyle Yonashiro took the People’s Choice Award at the cook-off, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Battleship Missouri Memorial.

Yonashiro created seared ahi, presented prime-rib style, and grilled filet mignon with lobster hash.

Yonashiro oversees Hawaii Ruth’s Chris locations and creates chef ‘s specials at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Restaurant Row.

Hawaii’s Mightiest Chef Rod Dizar (right) with Sansei’s Richard Kobayashi

Say it with Chocolate at Panya.

Even the most emotionally challenged will have no problem convincing a valentine of their feelings if they stop by Panya Bakery and let the sweet treats do the talking.

There’s an array of baked goods, cakes and flower-themed desserts - all with a message of love. Panya also offers heart-shaped pastries with strawberries and cream puffs, strawberry shortcake and limited numbers of chocolate-dipped strawberries, including the best-dressed hand-dipped strawberries in town clad in detailed tuxedo tops and dipped in white and dark chocolate.

Panya Bakery at Ala Moana Center is known for its Japanese-influenced European cakes, breads and pastries. The restaurant also offers a wide range of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes and has a full bar offering beers wine and spirits.

To pre-order Valentine’s gifts call: 597-8880
More information at Panyabakery.com.

Tuxedo-clad, chocolate-dipped strawberries at Panya Bakery

Romantic Dining a Deux at The Colony and Ciao Mein.

Say “I love you” with creative Chinese and Italian cuisine at Hyatt’s award-winning Ciao Mein restaurant, where a five-course Valentine’s menu includes bruschetta al pomodoro and Caesar salad, jumbo ginger and green onion prawn casserole, sizzling black-pepper tenderloin with sugar snap peas, and Hamakua “Alii” Mushroom risotto, infused with black truffle.

For dessert, there’s Amaretto bread pudding served with spumoni and a choice of coffee or a selection of teas.

This special Valentine’s Day menu is $75 per person for two or more and is available from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, to Monday, Feb. 16.

Wine pairings and suggestions are available.

And at The Colony, Hyatt’s award-winning steak, seafood and sushi restaurant, there’s a four-course menu that begins with a choice of a sushi sampler (maguro, hamachi, unagi, shake and ikura) or chilled prawns, followed by Caesar salad.

Entrée is a surf-and-turf-style meal of juicy, kiawe-grilled petite filet mignon and a choice of fresh island fish sautéed in lemon-butter sauce, sautéed jumbo tiger prawns or scallops Provencal.

One of the offerings for Valentine’s weekend at The Colony

All entrees are served with asparagus, baked potato and garnish.

The Colony Valentine’s dinner is $79 per person for two or more and is available from 6 to 10 p.m. Feb. 13-16.

Self-parking is complimentary at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa with a restaurant validation.
Call 923-1234 for reservations or inquiries.

Dinner in Piemonte.

There are only a couple of days left to try the flavors of Piemonte, courtesy of Chef Alfredo Lee at Sergio’s Italian Restaurant.

Lee, who was born in Tuscany, has experience working in almost all of the culinary regions of Italy, and by importing specialty ingredients, he’s able to offer something other than the usual American Italian fare often seen in Hawaii.

From Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to balsamic vinegar and prosciutto from Parma, he strives to take guests on a culinary adventure.

“At Sergio’s, we want to be able to show people the differences in Italian food - to show how each region has something special,” says Lee.

Cafe Sistina chef/owner Sergio Mitrotti

The February regional menu at Sergio’s features dishes from Piemonte including Cannelloni Alla Mantanara (pasta filled with prosciutto, mortadella, veal, spinach, Parmesan and sage and baked with tarragon), Coniglio all’Astigiana (braised rabbit with pancetta, onions, herbs and Dolcetto d’Alba wine, served with mashed potatoes) and Filetto di Branziano all’Uva (striped sea bass filet sautéed with thyme, green grape sauce and spumante vinegar).

Sergio’s Italian Restaurant.
449 Kapahulu Ave.

Italian Amore at Café Sistina.

If you’re looking for romantic ambience at a reasonable price, then Café Sistina is the perfect place.

With wall panels painted by chef/owner Sergio Mitrotti in the style of Michelangelo, it’s hard not to be swept up in the romance of Italy as you dine on dishes that originated in the kitchen of Sergio’s grandmother and mother.

This year’s Valentine’s menu includes polenta funghi (polenta with a porcini gorgonzola cheese sauce), Caesar salad, asparagus ravioli or carbonara di salmone with fresh, thin fettuccine. There’s lobster ravioli in a saffron-seafood sauce, or braised veal chunks with baby onions (braised veal with pancetta and caramelized baby onions over gnocchi or risotto). Both menus come with dessert and a glass of prosecco (Italian sparkling wine).

Complete menus are priced at $48 and $58.

Café Sistina
1314 S. King St.


Mary Ann Bowman, Longhi’s Restaurant manager

Language of Love at Longhi’s.

Longhi’s Restaurant at Ala Moana Center has a view of the ocean, an elegantly casual atmosphere and a romantic menu for Valentine’s Day.

The $65 set menu includes an appetizer course of white shrimp cocktail followed by one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, Napoleon Longhi (roasted eggplant, vine-ripened tomatoes, roasted red peppers, chevre and fresh basil with house vinaigrette served over Nalo greens).

A choice of entrees includes fresh island fish, Shrimp and Scallops Longhi, chicken marsala or filet mignon with béarnaise.

Dessert is fresh berries and island fruit with Tahitian vanilla gelato finished with house-made brandy-chocolate ganache and caramelized macadamia nuts.

The menu will be served from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14.

Longhi’s Restaurant
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.


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