The Beautiful Beachhouse
Wednesday - December 19, 2007
When was the last time you walked into a restaurant and were stopped in your tracks by its beauty? It happened to me on Tuesday as I entered Beachhouse at the Westin Moana Surfrider.
I was chatting with my husband, Bobby, as we walked across the hotel’s lanai and past the 106-year-old banyan tree, into what can only be described as one of the most romantic rooms in Honolulu. The sunset cast an orange glow across the room, and the reflection of Christmas lights against the restored Victorian windowpanes in the room made me gasp. Beachhouse is beautiful, and its timely opening during the holiday season has given it an almost magical air.
“We like to think it looks like Calvin Klein’s beach house,” says interim general manager Josh Moulton of the restored Victorian dining room and the kind of architectural detail that’s rarely seen in Hawaii. For those who appreciate the aesthetics of fine dining, look for antique silverware, butter dishes and platters that have been at the hotel since the early 1900s. “We found them all in the basement,” says Josh.
Food and beverage director Keith Mallini can barely hide his enthusiasm for the restaurant. “It’s going very well,” he says. “There’s a buzz already, and so far the reaction from guests is just fabulous.”
An open kitchen lets diners watch the silent ballet of chefs in toques at work - and yes, I do mean silent. The kitchen appears to be open to the dining room, but it’s beautifully framed by three soundproof windows, allowing guests to watch what’s going on without the attendant clatter of pots and usual kitchen cacophony.
At the helm is Rodney Uyehara, who looks entirely at home in his brand new kitchen. Rodney has a love affair of sorts with fine dining restaurants. Growing up in Hawaii, he remembers fondly the reputation of restaurants like Bagwells and The Third Floor, and he most recently headed the kitchen at The Bistro, where his fine dining skills and easy personality garnered a loyal following. Rodney is a great chef, and while Beachhouse showcases classic steaks and sides, you’ll find Rodney’s local signature on almost everything.
“I like to think that we’ve combined two elements and put together a menu that reflects a high-end steak house with Hawaiian ingredients,” he says.
Appetizers include lomi salmon, paniolo steak tartar and an impressive raw bar of lobster, crab, oysters, abalone and sashimi. Most of the steaks are Angus beef raised by Amish farmers in Pennsylvania.
“We’re really excited to have found this beef,” says Rodney. “We looked long and hard until we found the right product.”
And while there’s no doubt that a great steak is a good reason to visit Beachhouse, Uyehara’s menu has a lot to offer. Moist roasted chicken, Kurobuta pork chops and fresh island fish are all specialties of the house - and I’m so happy to see that his excellent French onion soup and lamb chops have made it onto the menu. “We’ve already had guests come in and ask for the soup,” he says with a smile.
Beachhouse may have only been open for a week, but it’s poised to become one of the most-talked-about restaurants in Waikiki. They just don’t make dining rooms like this anymore.
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