Honu Seafood and Pizza is open!
It must be my birthday because restaurateurs Mark and Judy Ellman and their lovely daughters Arianna Guarnier and Michelle Ellman have given me a gift in the form of another fun and fabulous Westside restaurant: Honu Seafood and Pizza, where the views take your breath away, the menu is trendsetting and the cocktail list put us in awe. Executive chef Keoki McKee and pastry chef Elizabeth McDonald put on quite a spread at the soft opening sneak peeks on Friday and Saturday night. I don’t know what the Greeks were doing when they discovered that lamb and yogurt were a perfect pairing, but I think the Ellmans must have been there because every time they put it on the menu it’s a little different but just as delicious. McKee’s lamb riblets are a superior meat lover’s appetizer, the plump meat clinging to the bone. The juicy lamb drips down my grip as I dip them in yogurt sauce and devour. But seafood is in the name of this restaurant and it’s not for show. Clams, mussels, shrimp, oyster, crab and fish all play a prominent part in the menu.
Testing the cocktail menu on Friday was tough work. Many were intriguing, bringing fresh juices, liquors and garnishes together in harmony. One of the standouts was the smoked julep with Jim Beam “Devils Cut” Bourbon, Lagavulin Scotch, a touch of agave nectar and water in a highball with a generous branch of mint. I just met “Devil’s Cut” recently, served neat down south by Beam Brand Ambassador Armando Zapata. It gets its clever name from being the opposite of the “Angels Share,” what distillers call the 20 percent or so that evaporates from a sealed wooden cask. To make “Devil’s Cut,” they put a small amount of water back into the empty cask and shake hard to extract the Bourbon that’s been trapped in the wood. The Honu Refresh was also fantastic: Kai Ginger Lemongrass Shochu, coconut water and Thai basil that is so refreshing it could be an alcoholic sport drink. Honu officially opened this past Monday and you’re invited for lunch dinner and cocktail hour located at 1295 Front St. in Lahaina, 667-9390.
Chef Isaac Bancaco is at it again, with a new farm to table menu for Aug. 7 to 13. For just $59 you can be swooned by local opulence from Anuhea, Evonok, Otani, Waipoli Hydroponics Farm and much more. There’s Sylvester X sweet corn and miso bisque starts you off or ahi sashimi salad with blue basil from Evonok. Escobedo tomatoes are featured in the sage and ginger-honey-rubbed chicke, and Kahakuloa-farmed Filipino perch and watanabe won bok combine in another entree. Bancaco’s knack for incorporating locally farmed goods is really showing off their summer’s bounty. Reservations at 875-1234.
Most Inspired Gin Man
Congratulations are in order. Sam Treadway from Waikiki’s Edition, who did not win the USBG Pina Colada Championships, has now won the USBG Nation’s Most Inspired Bartender in Hawaii — a Bombay Sapphire and and GQ magazine competition — with his 11th Reviver. I was rooting for last years champ, Maui’s Delia Asada who made a Sapphire’s Hawaiian Elixer with Maui homemade noni juice and chili pepper water. Treadway will now head to Las Vegas to compete in the “Most Inspired Bartender” summit. Richard McLeod, senior brand manager of Bombay Sapphire gin, says, “It’s a very important milestone for Bombay Sapphire to support the USBG cultivation of undiscovered bartending talent. Many locally recognized mixologists would not normally have this invaluable opportunity to showcase their techniques on a national stage.”
Do you love rum more than Jack Sparrow? Is it your life’s mission to dress in Tommy Bahama duds and visit tropical locations to debate the finer points of mojito versus daiquiri? Does the idea of adding Rum Ambassador to your resume get you all giddy? Then this could be your ideal job, with a $50,000 purse to boot: Tommy Bahama’s is looking for a Rumologist to design a rum program for their 14 worldwide locations. Wardrobe included. Apply now! (more including an educational video at this MauiDish post)
Its just another week or so until the streets of Kona become overrun with the 3rd Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival at the Royal Kona Resort, where our local bartenders will be competing for $10,000 from Bacardi for the best Mai Tai in all the land. (Check out last year’s festival coverage via MauiDish here)
Movers and Shakers:
Charlie Siebert formally of Capische in the Hotel Wailea is now a mixologist at David Paul’s Island Grill in Lahaina. Jason “Cass” Castle, formerly of Merriman’s Kapalua, can be found behind the bar at Spago in the Four Seasons Resort. At the Fairmont Kea Lani, their signature restaurant Ko will undergo major renovations for the next six months, reinventing itself as Wailea’s newest world class destination restaurant. Look forward to sweeping curved walls, a floating shaded roof, a dynamic action bar and porcelain tile flooring. The renovations will be revealed in February 2012. In the meantime, enjoy Ko’s menu from 5:30 to 9pm nightly at the Kea Lani restaurant.
Since I did not get enough vampiric action in New Orleans, Ambrosia is picking up the slack by naming August Vampire month. On Thursday Aug. 25 the Martini Lounge will magically transform into Shreveport Louisiana’s Fangtasia, replete with music by DJ Del Sol. Shape shifters will be allowed. Dress appropriately y’all and leave your Fellowship of the Sun friends at home. In other vampire news, all Wednesday night movies (7:30pm) will be Vampire League Sanctioned, from Van Helsing to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (More at this Maui Vents Post)