Thursday, July 26, 2012
Hawaii Eats: Alan Wong
Alan Wong is the godfather of Hawaiian cuisine. Around twenty years ago, he and a handful of other chefs created a new haute cuisine, blending classical technique with the global intersection of foods and the fresh produce that can be found in the islands. It had been ten years since I visited his flagship restaurant located in a nondescript office building on King Street, and I wondered if it was still great or had faded. I needn't have worried.
Alan Wong offers an a la carte menu as well as two tasting menus: one made up of classic dishes from the restaurant and a pricier chef's tasting menu. Since I hadn't been in a decade or so, I chose the classics, and I was not disappointed.
I won't run through all of the dishes but there are a few that were really memorable. A "soup and sandwich" included a mini kalua pig and foie gras sandwich served with a tomato soup. I expected to love the sandwich, but while it was good, I really found myself loving the soup, which had two parts, a tangy red soup and a rich, cream colored soup, served in a yin yang design.
The seafood lasagna featured lobster and scallops in a cream sauce wrapped in a single lasagna noodle. It looked very rich but the distinct flavors of the perfectly cooked shellfish cut through the richness.
Lastly, the "mini coconut" dessert consisted of a haupia sorbet in a chocolate shell, cut to look like a coconut. It was both amusingly presented and delicious. Haupia is a traditional Hawaiian coconut gelatin-type dessert. I'm generally a big fan of coconut sorbet and this one was as smooth and rich with coconut flavor as I could have wanted and it was well complemented by the dark chocolate shell, like a sophisticated Mounds bar.
Alan Wong, he's still got it.
1857 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96826