A Restaurant News Update

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - April 20, 2005
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Chef David Millen is busy creating some new additions to the Side Street Inn menu this month

I hate to say “I told you so,” but remember a few months ago when I wrote about the opening of E&O Trading Company at Ward Centre, and questioned whether or not we really needed a “themed” Asian-fusion restaurant?

Hawaii is the home of Asianfusion cuisine, there are more incredible dishes in a single neighborhood in Honolulu than in many major metropolises. We invented Pacific Rim Cuisine, Hawaii Regional Cuisine and more recently Eurasion Tapas.

E&O, which opened a couple of months ago at Ward, seems to me to be a little like opening a French-themed restaurant in the middle of Paris.

Yes, the décor is nice and the menu looks good — but the food needs to be kicked up several notches, and someone in the kitchen needs to get familiar with the flavors of Hawaii before anyone’s going to be gushing about this latest opening.

Not so at Town, where folks are absolutely raving about the food and the ambience. I’m due for a trip there this week, so watch this space on the newest eatery in town … I bumped into Don Maruyama last week. He’s the new corporate chef for D.K. Kodama’s growing empire that includes Vino on Maui, Vino at Restaurant Row, Hiroshi’s Eurasion Tapas, Sansei Seafood and Sushi Restaurant and the wonderful D.K.’s Steakhouse.

He’s excited at the changes that are taking place in the various kitchens and had just come back from a week on Maui when we chatted. “There’s great energy over there and the chefs are doing a fabulous job,” he said. Certainly I can attest to a new energy in the kitchen at Vino, and the food at Hiroshi’s is first rate.

New, too, and tres cutting edge, are the foam martinis that debuted at the Japanese fusion eatery on Wednesday.

Fukui ( the chef) and Furuya (he of the wine knowledge) have concocted a gorgeous brood of foam topped martinis — lime lemongrass, pina colada, fresh raspberry and pineapple are just some of the light and fluffy foams that top vodka martinis, Razztinis and other irresistible creations. Just the thing to melt the stress of the day away. They’re available on Wednesdays only …

There’s always something happening at Side Street Inn, where Colin Nishida and his eclectic staff continue to try to satisfy the demand for space at the incredibly popular bar/restaurant. Nishida has plans in the works to open a second Side Street in the next couple of months in the old Player,’s location on King Street, which will be pretty much equidistant between Side Street and his second restaurant, ,b>Fort Street Bar and Grill. Seems to me that Side Street is the restaurant world’s equivalent of Starbucks. You could have one on every corner and still have people asking for more … one thing they can’t do, though, is clone Albert Tsuru, the congenial gem of a manager. And behind the scenes this month, creating some outstanding dishes to add to the always interesting menu, is the well-traveled and much respected chef David Millen, back in the islands with a permanent teaching post as chef instructor at Leeward Community College and strutting his stuff in the back kitchen at Side Street. David has worked with all of the top chefs in Hawaii and managed to stay sane enough to tell the tales. Check out some of his exceptional dishes …

That about does it for restaurant news — except to say I feel a bit like our mayor this week. I made the first of several visits to the newly opened A Taste of New York Deli and Market off 12th Avenue the other day and was left openmouthed at the sight of their homemade cheesecake. Admittedly, it’s a thing of beauty. It looks a little like giant baked Brie and would certainly go down well at any culinary gathering, but at $65 a pie (and a mere $9.95 a slice), Mufi’s mantra kept running through my mind. “Do we need it? Can we afford it …?”

Happy eating.

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