Archive for November, 2009

Chai doubles diners pleasure to mark two anniversaries

November 23rd, 2009

Nadine Kam photos

Chai Chaowasaree celebrates two anniversaries with his sisters Nikki, left, and Joy, right, and AAA regional manager Richard Velazquez.

I was wondering how Chai Chaowasaree was going to fit hundreds of well wishers into his Chai’s Island Bistro for the dual celebration of the restaurant’s 10th anniversary and Singha Thai Cuisine’s 20th anniversary Nov. 20.

No worries as the party, billed “An Evening Under the Stars,” took place at the waterfront with food provided, not only by Chai, but by an A-List team of chefs. It was like a Chinese banquet in which, just as you’re feeling you can’t take another bite, the courses keep coming, and coming.

Opening appetizers were presented in individual portions, but later, there were huge plates bearing fillets of salmon and stacks of lamb chops. I sampled everything brought to the table, but now realize I only had 10 of 16 dishes presented that evening. I guess we looked like we were slowing down and couldn’t handle more food so the servers stopped coming.

I got there an hour late so missed a performance by Jerry Santos, but arrived in time to catch a set by Sista Robi and the Brothers Cazimero, who sang the “Happy Birthday Song” to mark the occasion, while Melveen Leed provided running commentary on the food we were eating. Chai has always done a wonderful job promoting island music, as well as cuisine.

Congratulations, Chai!

Here’s what was on the table:


Hot, crisp Asian rock shrimp dynamite with Nalo greens, from chef Rod Dizor of Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar brought the meal to a good start. Having arrived late, I’m sorry to have missed the Beach House at the Moana’s diver scallop sandwich, by Rodney Uyehara.


Chef Mavro’s Kevin Chong presented this yummy Dayboat Catch Ceviche with a crisp manchego croquette with creamy center.


Chai’s offering, by chef Mark Lopez, was a luxurious dish of sauteed garlic and pepper abalone with zucchini linguine.


Vino’s chef Keith Endo presented grilled tako on Barolo red wine risotto and Nalo baby arugula salad with Sicilian olive oil.


Sharing my plate were Le Bistro’s red wine shortribs with polenta and 3660 On the Rise’s pan-seared wild salmon topped with pickled Maui onion and yuzu butter sauce.

lamb chops

Chai’s Island Bistro’s Steven Hamada presented Mongolian-style lamb chops with merlot demiglace, mashed potatoes and stir-fried sugar snap peas. Dishes I tried before photographing were Singha Thai Cuisine’s lemongrass and curry-crusted chicken breast with Thai peanut sauce and cucumber salad, by Joy Saetung, and dk Steak House’s filet of beef tenderloing and Crab Oscar with bearnaise sauce, by Jason Miyasaki.

jj desserts

Desserts from JJ French Pastry’s JJ Luangkhot: tiramisu, cheesecake and chocolate mousse cake.

Other ones that got away:

>> Michel’s at the Colony Surf’s salad of cornbread-crusted Big Island goat cheese on Hirabara greens, Muscovy duck prosciutto bits, beets, poached red wine pair and orange-cranberry vinaigrette.

>> OLA’s seared lemongrass shrimp lollipop with luau cream.

>> Poke Stop’s hot peanut oil-splashed ahi sashimi with chiso inamona pesto, calamansi juice and ginger scallion blackbean chili oil.

>> Hiroshi Fukui’s steamed kurobuta belly with torched Brie and ginger, shiso and adobo glaze.

>> Tangö Contemporary Cafe’s duck confit on rissoto cake with foie gras demi glace and Asian slaw with citrus dressing.

In my haste to find my table, missed along the way was the buffet station featuring Alaskan king crab legs with roasted garlic aioli, Thai curry puffs with tomato-mango salsa, vegetarian spring rolls with pineapple plum sauce, oysters with spicy garlic mignonette, and jumbo shrimp and crab-claw cocktails.


Among the guests were Robert Valetta, executive producer of a new reality/scripted series to be set in Hawaii beginning early 2010, with actress Hannah Cornett.


Cora Spearman and Chris Chang also were among the guests.

Posted in Events | 2 Comments »

On the table during Restaurant Week

November 20th, 2009

Sunday is the last day to enjoy the special menus created for Restaurant Week. Here’s what was on the table at d.k. Steakhouse and Wolfgang’s Restaurant:

wolfgang steak

Nadine Kam photo
At Wolfgang’s Steak House at Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki, filet mignon is one of three entree choices.

Had lunch Thursday at Wolfgang’s Steak House, where for $30 at lunch time, guests have the options of a Caesar salad, mixed green salad and soup du jour, which was Manhattan chowder. The chowder was more like a minestrone with a few pieces of canned clams, so either of the salads would have been a better option. To their credit, they offered to replace the soup because I obviously wasn’t enjoying it, but I said “never mind.”

The entree choices are a petite filet migon — delicious! — or fillet of wild salmon or lamb chops, served with sides of creamed spinach and mashed potatoes.

Dessert features a choice of ice cream, key lime pie or cheesecake, the latter your best option because it’s one of the restaurant’s specialties. I wish I had a photo, but it’s not easy to keep one’s wits when faced with dessert!

Over at d.k.’s, here’s what was on the menu:

Photos by Noel Sen
Eggplant roulade, above, and Braised Beef Mortadella Tortellini, below, are the appetizer choices in a $30 dinner menu.



The entree choices are the 12-ounce Maui Cattle Co. rib eye steak shown, King crab Florentine mahimahi or roasted Tuscan-style chicken. Dessert choices are a chocolate bomb or vanilla panna cotta.

Inexpensive options elsewhere includea 1/3-pound Hawaiian pineapple burger with an order of small fries and a medium drink for $9.05 ($11.45 value ) at Kua Aina, or Reuben sandwich with pastrami, regular drink and one scoop of ice cream for $9.95 (regular price $13.85), at Farrell’s Pearlridge.

You can check out all the menus at

Posted in Events | 2 Comments »