Chef Hiroshi Fukui specializes in fusion cuisine – a marriage of Asian and Western flavors. The dishes are meant to be shared, hence the tapas in the restaurant’s name. Chuck Furuya, sommelier, created the wine menu and basically orchestrated our meal.
Instead of bread, you are presented with rice crisps with a small bowl of nori-wasabi aioli for dipping. The rice crisps are made by putting freshly made rice in the oven overnight with just the pilot light on. It is then deep-fried for service.
Rice crisps – these are truly addictive and delicious.
Sizzlin’ Kona Kompachi Carpaccio, Mrs. Cheng’s Tofu, finely diced tomatoes, ponzu vinaigrette, touch of truffle oil. The Kompachi are fished in the coldest waters of the Big Island. The way they find the coldest water is by putting a long tube into the ocean to find the purest and coldest water. The sizzlin’ part of the dish refers to peanut oil that is heated and then quickly poured on top. Mrs. Cheng is known for having one of the best tofu product on the island.
An excellent dish – it appears over-sauced, but the saucing was very delicate and not at all over-powering.
Contemporary sushi – cold smoked hamachi sushi, Pacific Red Fin Fish (Chuck explained that originally this fish was reserved for royalty ) and Bo Bo farms Foie Gras Sushi with teriyaki glaze and essence of shiso – an interesting take on sushi – very inventive – the foie gras sushi was perfect.
Shrimp Chawanmushi “soup” – nalo micro mitsuba, seasonal vegetables and essence of white truffle oil (Whenever a dish called for truffle oil, we asked that the kitchen did a very, very light hand with the oil as I am not a huge fan of white truffle oil – they were more than happy to oblige.)
Not pictured – Marinated Moi “en papillote” – shitake mushrooms, Hau’ula tomato concasse, truffle butter and chili pepper, water-konbu broth – very good again done with a light hand.
My notes are a disaster on this one – Jumbo shrimp
Portuguese sausage pot stickers with sweet corn, garlic chili foam, and truffled ponzu sauce – this was the only poor dish of the night. We were about the last people dining in the restaurant and they were setting up for their staff Xmas party next door at Vino, their sister Italian restaurant.
Chuck did a superb job of orchestrating this meal plus pairing wines with the food.
Il Silva – Chardonnay – Puglia
Not sure of the wine – Arnes – Piemonte
Raptor Ridge – Pinot Noir – Oregon (Willamette)
Twenty Rows (Grappler) – Zin, Sarah, Cab – Napa (Mt Veeder)
This is a fun place with very good food, not terribly expensive and an interesting wine list.