Hawaii's Harvest: Fall 2014

Hawaii’s Harvest

Locally sourced dishes from the island’s top chefs

Photography by Amber Schoniwitz

The Hawaiian Islands have long been known for luaus and the Pacific Ocean’s freshest catch, but it wasn’t until a couple of decades ago that a handful of visionary chefs began shaping what is know today as Hawaii Regional Cuisine.  It started slowly; with a single farm supplying gourmet leafy greens to a single restaurant, and has grown into a statewide network of sustainable farmers, ranchers, and fishermen providing island-fresh ingredients to Hawaii kitchens.  Here’s a taste of a few creations from Waikiki’s top restaurants and their talented chefs, featuring the best of Hawaii’s unique local fare.



Sous Vide of Big Island Kulana Beef Strip Loin

Executive Chef Albert Balbas, D.K Steak House

_MG_1326 The revival of the American steak house takes a local turn at D.k Steak House in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.  Executive Chef Albert Balbas is committed to incorporating sustainable ingredients, whenever and wherever possible.  His mouthwatering Sous Vide of Big Island Kulana Beef Strip Loin is a perfect example.  This juicy, Hawaii Island strip loin steak is slow cooked to tender perfection and is presented pupu-style (sliced into bite size portions) with roasted fingerling potato ragout and herbed Naked Cow Dairy butter.  Featuring an array of farm to table appetizers, side dishes, and entrees alongside their premium, in-house dry-aged Vintage Natural steaks, D.k Steak House offers a refreshing, innovative, and locally inspired, steak house experience._MG_1653


More info:  D.k Steak House


Opah Dynamite

Executive Chef Frederick Pittman, Tropics Bar & Grill


Tropics Bar & Grill is a hotspot for locals and visitors alike, and it’s not hard to figure out why.  Nestled right up against the sands of Waikiki Beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, this place hums with live local music, tropical drinks, and a vibrant dining experience.  The beauty of the Islands has truly inspired Executive Chef Frederick Pittman’s signature dinner entree, the Opah Dynamite.  This light dish delivers a full-flavor experience as fresh caught Opah (moonfish) is topped with a spicy-citrus tobiko dynamite sauce, and complimented by an Alii mushroom and spinach jasmine couscous.  This is just one of Chef Pittman’s many inviting island specialties, and a perfect choice for an enjoyable beachside evening at Tropics Bar & Grill.

More info:  Tropics Bar & Grill


Molokai Gnocchi

Executive Chef James Aptakin, MAC 24/7


_MG_4155-RGBStunning presentation, quality, and flavor don’t usually describe an around-the-clock eatery, but then again most restaurants don’t have a Food Network award-winning chef in the kitchen.  Executive Chef James Aptakin’s menu at MAC 24/7 is a combination of both American and Island comfort-food-favorites, with a dedication to using locally sourced ingredients from across the Hawaiian Islands.  His colorful creations range from hearty entrees to elegantly styled tapas and share plates.  The Molokai Gnocchi, for example, consists of house made Molokai sweet potato pasta dumplings with local braised kale, local kabocha, and an island basil pesto sauce.  Satisfy any cravings with an unforgettable foodie experience, day or night, at MAC 24/7.

More info:  MAC 24/7


Pan Seared Shutome

Executive Chef Mariano Lalica, Oceanarium Restaurant



The Oceanarium Restaurant is the only place on Oahu where you can enjoy an abundant selection of fresh local seafood and regional cuisine, while being captivated by the Pacific Beach Hotel’s three-story tall aquarium filled with more than seventy different species of marine life… and the occasional mermaid.  Executive Chef Mariano Lalica utilizes the island’s fresh catch, local farms, and the hotel’s own rooftop herb garden to create exciting specialties like the tempting Pan Seared Shutome (broadbill swordfish) with tropical fruit salsa.  Chef Lalica prepares meticulously to offer both quality and variety, and his nightly themed buffet is a tradition for generations of local families.

More info:  Oceanarium Restaurant


Kampachi Crudo

Executive Chef Jason Ichiki, Roy’s Waikiki


Chef-owner Roy Yamaguchi is one of the forefathers of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, and his distinctive style of cooking has paved the way for many of today’s local chefs.  Continuing in this tradition of excellence is Roy’s Waikiki Executive Chef Jason Ichiki.  Along with Roy’s classic signature dishes, Chef Ichiki designs a seasonal menu based upon the freshest ingredients at hand.  One of Chef Ichiki’s most recent creations is the Kampachi Crudo.  Thinly sliced, sashimi grade Kona Kampachi (almaco jack) is flavored with a yuzu kosho emulsion, white soy sauce, and a touch of garlic aioli.  Adding a zesty crunch to each mouth-watering bite are sliced jalapeños, Nalo Farms watermelon radish, Kahuku sea asparagus, and Nursery Farms micro-greens.  Chef Ichiki updates his seasonal menu regularly, so be sure to discover all of his newest inspirations exclusively at Roy’s Waikiki.

More info:  Roy’s Waikiki


Localicious Salad

Executive Chef Paul Rivera, Hula Grill


Catch a stunning Waikiki sunset from Hula Grill and taste Executive Chef Paul Rivera’s newest combinations of flavors and traditions.  Hula Grill’s team makes it a top priority to visit, volunteer, donate, and support Hawaii’s small farmers and their gourmet produce.  This effort shines in Chef Rivera’s Localicious Salad.  Fresh Nalo greens, sweet Ewa onion, Kahuku sea asparagus, hoio fern, Big Island heart of palm and Ho Farms tomatoes are tossed together in a sweet citrus lime miso vinaigrette.  The salad and its exotic ingredients are a very popular conversation starter, and just one of the many Hawaii regional delights to be found at Hula Grill Waikiki.

More info:  Hula Grill


Chinese Salt & Pepper Kahuku Prawns

Executive Chef Darren Demaya, Kai Market

_G6A4014-RGBThe Sheraton Waikiki’s signature restaurant, Kai Market, sources over seventy percent of their ingredients from local producers.  Executive Chef Darren Demaya believes that this is the best way for his guests to truly experience a taste of the islands.  On Fridays and Saturdays Chef Demaya hosts “Seafood Nights,” a celebration of the island’s fresh seafood favorites.  Local highlights from the buffet selections include the Hawaiian style seafood paella, steamed snow crab legs with Big Island meyer lemon infused drawn butter, premium sashimi, steamed island market fresh fish, and the always-popular Chinese Salt and Pepper Kahuku Prawns.  These extra large, head-on prawns are raised on Oahu’s north shore and are an island delicacy not to be missed.  Make your reservation to feast on all of Chef Demaya’s island inspired cuisine at Kai Market.


More info:  Kai Market


Grilled Hawaiian Swordfish

Executive Chef Ronnie Nasuti, Tiki’s Grill & Bar


_MG_1254-RGBTiki’s Grill & Bar is always fun, exciting, and delicious.  Daily happy hours and nightly live music may rule the open-air lanai bar, but in the kitchen award-winning Executive Chef Ronnie Nasuti steals the show.  Continually searching for new and exciting local ingredients, Chef Nasuti’s off-the-menu specials allow him to introduce the freshest seasonal flavors to his guests.  His colorful Grilled Hawaiian Swordfish is a “special of the moment,” and a locavore dream.  The Hawaiian waters grilled swordfish is served with Kahuku corn succotash, Hauula haricot vert, kabocha puree, and is surrounded by a purple Molokai potato yuzu essence.  Whether it’s on or off the menu, Chef Nasuti’s award winning cuisine and the lively atmosphere at Tiki’s Grill & Bar make for a fun and memorable meal.

More info:  Tiki’s Grill & Bar


Olive Oil Confit of Big Island Abalone & Shinsato Farms Pork

Chef de Cuisine “Shaymus” Alwin, Azure

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Expect nothing less than the highest quality local catch and exquisitely intricate presentations at Azure Restaurant.  Located in an elegant beachfront setting at the Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Chef “Shaymus” Alwin has a knack for reinventing contemporary dishes with intricate flare.  One of Chef Alwin’s newest menu additions is his Olive Oil confit of Big Island Abalone and Shinsato Farms Pork.  As part of the new Papa Aina (Hawaiian dining table) offerings at Azure, the dish features Kona Gold abalone, tonkatsu-style Shinsato Farms pork, Hirabata Farms greens, and Big Island heart of palm.  Pair with a glass from Azure’s extensive wine list, and savor an island experience that is beyond compare.

More info:  Azure Restaurant