Before I start these next series of posts on our trip to Oahu, I think I should give you some context as to my personal preferences in cuisine and dining. I do not like huge plates of food. Even at Michelin 3 star restaurants in France, my husband and I usually opt for the one for two strategy. Thomas Keller at FL, David Kinch at Manresa, Michael at Providence and Hiro at Urasawa fits this definition and so I am a big fan of their food. I am also of the school that less is more – I don’t like a pile of unnecessary ingredients that tend to obscure the main ingredient. I love well-sourced prime ingredients and want that ingredient to shine. If I order a tasting menu, I want a well-thought out symphony not just a pile of dishes. Obviously well-executed food is always a given, but my above comments are more subjective and do tend to influence my take on a restaurant.
3660 On the Rise is a chef driven restaurant and as such it is not the “corporate” dining experience of the mini-empires of many of Oahu’s restaurants. Russell W.J. Siu is the executive chef and is a master at saucing. He also follows in the tradition of the chefs I mentioned above with his usage of seasonal ingredients from Hawaii’s oceans and farms. There is passion on the plate, not just going through the motions of giving huge amounts of food that feel mass-produced.
Ron, our waiter, was extraordinary and helped us devise a tasting menu of 4 distinctive dishes.
Ahi Katsu – sushi grade tuna wrapped in nori and deep fried medium rare, with a wasabi ginger beurre blanc sauce, strands of cucumber and a rice ball coated with sesame seeds – absolutely perfect and the sauce was outstanding. This reminded me a little of Chinois’ signature dish of tuna wrapped in nori with uni sauce.
Seared Misoyaki glazed hamachi over thinly sliced braised daikon, topped with dashi scented Ikura (salmon eggs) and a saucing of yuzu scallion vinaigrette – again this dish was all about finesse – perfect ingredients handled with restraint and a sauce that was a perfect accent, not a distraction.
Soy Sake glazed fillet of butterfish with gingered Choi Sum (Chinese flowering cabbage), long beans and Bok Choi – I had to be persuaded to order this dish as so many times I have had overdone, tough butterfish. This was melt in your mouth fish that actually deserved its name butterfish. The accompaniments were excellent and the sauce of soy and sake with a depth from what I can deduce as some sort of reduction sublime.
Braised Kurobuta pork belly, sauteed Hamakua Shimeji mushrooms (harvested from the big island), grilled flat bread – another absolute winner with perfect pork belly, incredible mushrooms and again a rich saucing that my notes fail to detail.
I don’t remember the exact white wine, but it was a village bourgogne that was excellent and very inexpensive at $45.00. The red was a Calera Pinot Noir 2005 that was good, but actually not as exceptional as the white.
This is a restaurant that absolutely deserves much more attention and should be on everyone’s list as a super food destination. It is not on the “tourist” must list, but maybe that should be seen as a plus rather than a minus. This is a restaurant for someone who truly cares about food done with great execution, finesse, and subtle but unique flavors.