Dining On The Classics At Padovani’s Grill
Wednesday - January 19, 2011
While many of you were no doubt sitting on the benches outside Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant last week waiting for it to open its splendid doors, I popped into Padovani’s Grill at L’Uraku Tower to see which incarnation the French-by-way-of-Australia chef is currently enjoying.
Since his fine-dining days at La Mer, Ritz Carlton Mauna Lani and Manele Bay hotels, Philippe Padovani has taken his culinary talent on a travelogue of sorts.
First, there was Padovani’s Bistro and Wine Bar at the notoriously difficult dining space within The Alana Doubletree in Waikiki. That was followed by Elua, a collaboration with undisputed Italian master Donato Loperfido. There were those who gave this unlikely partnership no chance of survival, but the truth is Elua offered some wonderful food on both sides of its dual menu.
Good food, however, is simply not enough to ensure a restaurant’s success, and after two years the two chefs split up. Well, sort of. Donato turned Elua into the charming Sapor, an enoteca (wine bar) with excellent food, while Padovani headed back to the world of culinary corporate consulting and to creating possibly the best chocolates this side of Bournville.
Then Donato closed Sapor to concentrate on importing fine Italian wines (although I, for one, wish he would open up a little Italian bistro, modeled on his Manoa restaurant of years ago, and start cooking again every night.)
So now you’re up to date with how Padovani’s Grill came about. With an expensive Cruvinet in place to dispense chilled glasses of wine, Reidel crystal glasses from which to sip them, crisp, white linen tablecloths and a dining room of warm wood paneling and soft, brown leathers, Padovani’s Grill looks fresh, clean and ready for a new start. The doors opened Wednesday, and the lunch crowd should be delighted.
“We’re doing a lot of meat, seafood, local produce, salads, risotto, pasta ... and it’s all about enjoying good food in a nice setting,” says Padovani when I stopped by on opening day.
The menu at both lunch and dinner features Padovani classic dishes. You’ll find his Hudson Valley foie gras pate, his famous duck confit, fresh island fish with a choice of sauces, and the addition of several steaks.
You’ll also find hamachi sashimi with hazelnuts, Scottish smoked salmon, escargot and oysters, Maui onion soup, clam and crab chowder, salads and more than a dozen entrees that include lamb, chicken, pork and seafood. It should be a busy lunch spot for those who want - or need - to dine in some elegance, and offers an affordable, high-end menu where everything is priced under $20.
At night, expect to see grander dishes such as cote du boeuf carved at table, alongside the steaks and seafood.
“There’s a big demand for this kind of food,” says Padovani. “People are already calling to see if we’re serving duck confit.”
With about 50-60 wines, 18 of them offered by the glass via the Cruvinet, wine lovers will be sated, but not spoiled for choice.
And there’s a very nice Chef’s Table that seats eight to 10 people. I would enthusiastically suggest you go for lunch to enjoy the warm, elegant environment and some seriously good food, then make reservations for dinner after the inevitable opening week hiccups have been cured.
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