Archive for the ‘Local grindz’ Category

Just Mavro-lous!... Another AAA Five Diamond Award!

January 21st, 2015


Just Mavro-lous!
Congrats to Chef Mavro, aka George Mavrosalassitis, whose restaurant just picked up a 2015 Five Diamond Award from Triple A, the American Automobile Assn.
The laurels come as Chef Mavro continues his winter menus ($95 for four courses, $128 for six courses) which showcase locally sourced veggies and top-tier seafood, with Perigord black truffles options available tableside.
“The Five Diamond Award recognizes every single person on our team by rating, food, service, décor and ambiance,” said Mavro in a statement. “We take it as a challenge every day to be ready for AAA’s world-class inspections.”
For reservations, call 944-4714 or visit

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Here's the scoop on Roy's appearance on 'CBS This Morning'

August 24th, 2014

Ever wonder what goes, when a celebrity chef makes an appearance on a talk show?

Does he prepare the meal himself? Bring ingredients? Prep then cook the meal?

royNormally, yes. But since Roy Yamaguchi resides in Hawaii and had to commute to New York for the TV appearance, how could he manage to haul ingredients and seasoning to prepare a bounty of food for a guest spot on "CBS This Morning” on a recent Saturday?

Here’s the background story, from Yamaguchi himself:

The food for the segment was all prepared by the network’s food stylist.

“We supplied the recipes and they went shopping for all the ingredients,” said Yamaguchi. “I only  brought myself.”

The menu included misoyaki cod, lemongrass chicken, Szechuan green beans, garlic fried rice, cucumber, wakame (seaweed) namasu, lomi tomato, and pineapple upside down.

The fare typically can be found on a Roy’s menu, particularly in the Islands, where his chain of restaurants exist on all Islands.

The show’s co-hosts of the day were Jeff Glor and Vinita Nair, who enjoyed the meal while chatting with Yamaguchi. Goes with the territory. But there was a ton of stuff, so gets to eat it?

“Whoever was backstage,” said Yamaguchi. “First come, first serve.”

This was a rare instance when the award-winning chef didn’t do the kitchen duty himself.

As he told me: “99 per cent of the time, I usually come with the ingredients in hand, to cook a dish on TV. Most studios are equipped with a moveable or stationary kitchen. Mostly infrared stovetop.”

And a secret he shared: Yamaguchi usually brings his classic Szechuan baby back ribs “as a treat to give to the backstage staff.”



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Show Biz extra: Comedy, Ippy and Aoki eateries

January 26th, 2013

In the mood for laughs, a food benefit, and a new dining destination?
Check these out...

‘Boieng, Boieng’ bouncing
with extended performances

“Boeing, Boeing,” the comedy at Manoa Valley Theatre, is going bonkers, bonkers.
Weekend performances through Sunday (Jan. 26 and 27) — when the show was to close — are sold out.
So an extension of three extra shows were added, for 8 p.m. Feb. 1 and 2 and 4 p.m. Feb. 4. The Feb. 1 show quickly sold out, so a second single performance was added, for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31.
Seats for the remaining shows are available at the box office, 988-6131, or online at
Further extensions are not possible, the theatersaid. Also, at sold out shows, the box office will take names for a waiting listing list 90 minutes before curtain in case of cancellations.
Those purchasing extension tickets should know that admission is $2 more than the original run, with adult seats priced at $32, seniors and military at $27, season subscribers and guests $27, and youths 25 and under $17

Food Network chef Ippy
At Kings’ Shop food gala

Philip “Ippy” Aiona, a Kamuela chef, will present a food demonstration at 4 p.m. today (Jan. 26) at the Kings’ Shops at Waikoloa on the Big Island.
He is the island chef with a penchant for Pacific rim cuisine, who was a finalist on the Food Network’s “Food Network Star” competition last year; he is in the midst of launching his own Three Fat Pigs, a gastro bistro, next March at the Kings’ Shop complex.
An evening of epicurean delights of food stations, music and a silent auction will be held today. Participating restaurants are Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill, Merriman’s Market Café, Lava Lava Beach Club, Hawaii Calls Restaurant, Kamuela Provision Company, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and Waikoloa Grill’n Bar. A dessert station will feature sweets and treats prepared by patisserie students at Hawaii Community College.
Ippy’s demo is open to the public; admission is $20.
The food stations open at 5 p.m.; admission is $30, scrips for wine, beer and espresso will be held for $30, with wine from Alex Thropp (two scrips), beer from Big Island Brewhaus (one scrip) and espresso from Kona Brothers Coffee (one scrip).
Auction items include overnight packages from Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and Hilton Hawaiian Village, with Kings’ Shops merchants providing items for bidding.
Proceeds will benefit the Culinary Arts Program at Hawaii Community College.
Information: or (808) 886-8811.

Aoki’s Doraku debuts at
Pacifica condo in Kaka’ako

Doraku, a chic Japanese-styled teahouse from Kevin Aoki and the Aoki Group, has opened at the Pacifica condominium at 1009 Kapiolani Boulevard, across the street from Blaisdell Arena.
Doraku Kaka’ako is the second restaurant in Hawaii, and the fifth established launched by the Aoki Group.
Doraku translates to “The Road to Happiness.
Kevin Aoki is the eldest of the sons of the late Rocky Aoki, founder of the Benihana chain, and the grandson of the late Yunosuke Aoki.
Three private dining areas are within the restaurant’s 6,000 square footage: the Buddha’s Den, upstairs in a second-floor loft; the corner Emperor Room; and the Yunosuke Chef’s Table.
The menu includes sushi, seafood, sake and more. Lunch service starts Feb. 1 and valet parking for dinner is available from 6 p.m.
Reservations: 591-0101.

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Vanishing restaurants: 10 more, and you add 10, too?

August 23rd, 2011

OK, OK. We all cherish what we can’t get anymore.
Since blogging about restaurants that have disappeared over time, I got a bunch of emails challenging me to add at least another 10 to the list already shared. For certain, there are scores more places that have come and gone.
Here’s the deal: I’ve come up with 10 not previously mentioned, so now you do the same. In the end, we’ll have a mounting list of places that live only in memory. Maybe we can go another round later.
Here we go ...
• The Third Floor, the stellar iconic restaurant of the Hawaiian Regent Hotel (now the Marriott Waikiki Beach). This one set the high water mark for the likes of Alan Wong and Roy’s to follow; loved everything here; and this was where I discovered the joy of naan bread.
• Matteo’s, the fine dining Italian place, on Seaside Avenue, across the now-gone Waikiki Twin Theatres #1 and #2,
• Trattoria, the late Sergio Battistetti’s restaurant originally ensconced on Nohonani St. in Waikiki, relocating to the Edgewater Hotel before its closure to make way for what now is the Embassy Suites hotel at Waikiki Beach Walk.
• Captain’s Table, the eatery at the former Hawaiian Waikiki Beach Hotel, boasted a lounge that also featured music and comedy (Frank DeLima was among the lasting troupers). The space now is Tiki’s; the hotel is the Aston Waikiki Beach.
• Suehiro, the old-style Japanese restaurant, on King St., where Gyotaku now continues a modernized Japanese menu. Pork and chicken tofu were staples; and the ahi belly was one winnah, too.
• Wisteria, another old-fashioned Japanese (and American menu) eatery, where the hungry liked the hearty sukiyaki and pork tofu fare; 7-Eleven now occupies the space, at King and Piikoi Streets.
• Tree Tops, the early restaurant (and catering operation) at Paradise Park; it was just fun to dine amid greenery and chirping birds, in Manoa Valley. This was a case of the place making the good taste better.
• Chez Michel, the French wonderment by the late Michel Martin, at Eaton Square. He also operated Michel’s in Wahiawa and later at the Colony Surf Hotel, and was the go-to guy for French nourishment.
• Shanghai Bistro, the short-lived restaurant of Li May Tang, at Discovery Bay. The eclectic food fused flavors and traditions of China, Hawaii, Japan and Europe, depending on the selection, and the chic, hip décor was a hit...while it lasted.
• Duke Kahanamoku’s, the restaurant, nightclub and celebrity spotting hangout, in the International Market Place. The place was named for the renowned Olympian athlete and operated by the late impresario Kimo Wilder McVay; the dinners actually played second fiddle to the room’s top banana, entertainer Don Ho in all his glory, and it was a spot to catch a glimpse of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Liza Minnelli and other glitterati of the era eager to sing and sway to “Tiny Bubbles” and swoon to “I’ll Remember You.
You remember these? Share your list of 10 more faves that have vanished.

The spin on restaurants: they come and they go...

August 21st, 2011

Restaurants come and go; we moan the loss of a beloved fave eating place and see a newbie come along, and quite often, the new arrival shuts down again.
Such is life.
I applaud but don’t envy restaurateurs, who are, frankly, community heroes. They take such risks (even sweat out the good economy sometimes, so imagine the worst of times), tirelessly work days and nights, and prepare such wonderful cuisine to whet our appetites and keep our tummies filled.
Like clockwork, at least once a month, someone will ask and reminisce about a recently shuttered eatery. Or try to recall a long-gone restaurant whose obit had been widely chronicled.
Why? (Too many reasons, but generally finances and a weak economy).What happened? (You’ve got the time to hear ‘em all out? Again, too many variables: a family doesn’t want to work hard and prefer to enjoy retirement, or a place loses its lease and the owners don’t want to bother renewing at a higher rate, or nobody showed up to eat far too many nights).Will it ever come back? (The Ranch House did, sorta, but died again).

So consider this reflection an opportunity to dust off the memories to answer some recurring queries. The latest, from two sources: Where was Le Bon? Why was it popular?
Le Bon was the singing waiters/waitresses restaurant, located on Kapiolani Blvd. mauka side, between Keeaumoku and Sheridan Streets. The food was comforting, but the workaholic servers was the reason to go; many waiters and waitresses would also appear in community theater and the restaurant provided a salary while they sought roles that didn’t compensate for their talent.
Do I miss it? Yes. Singing servers are common in New York; they work to pay the bills in-between auditions to get a real job, on Broadway. The occasional serenades by the waitstaff at Romano's Macaroni Grill are not cut from the same cloth; the focus is on opera, where at Le Bon, the fare was largely musical comedies and standards.
Or have you forgotten?

I miss many other restaurants, in all regions of town:

Kahala area:
• Spindrifter at Kahala Mall. Good steaks, seafood and a dandy business lunch destination.
• Yum Yum Tree, where ono pies were must-haves after comfort food (the one at Ward Centre, now gone, wasn’t quite the same).
• Woolworth at Kahala Mall; counter and table service came with a smile, proviing not every meal had to be “fine” or upscale).


• Hank’s Café, on 11th Ave.; one of the many short-term home for the Makaha Sons of Niihau.
• The Pottery in Kaimuki; you could get a take-home clay pot with some of the entrees, baked in an on-site oven.

Ala Moana Center:

• Prince Kuhio Restaurant, one of the original restaurants at Ala Moana Center.
• Hackfield’s at Liberty House Ala Moana.


• Coco's, one of the early 24-our eateries (where deejay J. Akuhead Pupule would hang out), where Hard Rock Cafe was a long-time tenant before moving to Beach Walk; Makino Clubhouse just moved into the gateway of Waikiki that was Kau Kau Korner.
• Skillet on Ala Moana, where breakfasts were hearty and served in ceramic skillets with handles.
• Waikiki Sands on Kalakaua Avenue, where “cheap” buffets gave locals a first opportunity to fill their plates along with their palates.
• Pier 7 at the Ilikai, another ‘round-the-clock destination for after-movie, after-nightclub, after-opera outings.
• Ship's Tavern at the Moana Surfrider, a seafood emporium; the adjoining Gangplank Lounge was the home of Jay Larrin, entertainer-composer.
• Canlis’ Restaurant, one of the early fine-dining palaces popular with locals and visitors, where waitresses wore kimonos.
• Maile Restaurant, at the Kahala Hilton, where fine dining gourmet cuisine also was served by waitresses in kimono; at the adjoining lounge, Kit Samson’s Sound Advice defined dance music.

Kapiolani area:

• Green Turtle across the now-gone KGMB; at lunch, you’d see on-air personalities during their meal break.
• Cavalier on Kapiolani Blvd. where the Pan Am building now is located.
• La Ronde, the revolving restaurant atop the Ala Moana Building, where you’d get a complete “turn” every hour.
• Victoria Station on Kapiolani Blvd (ewa of Tokudo), where steaks and chops were served from a red railroad box car “restaurant.”

Ward area:

• Trader Vic's, with its Souths Seas tropical décor, where the Honolulu Club now is located
• The Black Orchid at Restaurant Row, where celebrity was part of the game — Tom Selleck (“Magnum P.I.”) was an owner.
• Fisherman's Wharf at Kewalo Basin, one of the Spencecliff organization’s iconic (and longest-lasting, albeit under new owners in later years) waterfront restaurant.
• Compadres at Ward Center, where the margaritas flowed and the So-Cal Mexican menu was especially appearing on Taco Tuesdays. (Pablo’s Mexican Cantina had aspirations to carry on the red, green and white flag as a successor, but alas, the journey didn’t even make a year).
• Sunset Grill at Restaurant Row, where an open rotisserie added odorama to the dining experience, along with a splendid and afforded wine menu. And remember the roasted garlic?
• Marie Callendar's, at Restaurant Row; short-lived, like the Windward Mall location, possibly because entree portions here, even pies, were not as gargantuan as those Mainland counterparts.

Others Honolulu:
• Pearl City Tavern, home of the Monkey Bar. Worth the drive for townies.
• The counter at the Kress store on Fort Street.
• Ciro’s downtown, the place to be seen if dining downtown, when it still was a shopping destination before the era of the suburban mall.

Any others you care to add to the list? Be my guest...

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