Tag Archives: honolulu

On the Block: Chefs of the Moana Surfrider

The First Lady of Waikiki elevates her culinary creativity with new local talent

Photography by Amber Schoniwitz
Executive Chef Ryan Loo (left) and Executive Sous Chef Brooke Tadena (right) of the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa
Executive Chef Ryan Loo (left) and Executive Sous Chef Brooke Tadena (right) of the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa

When Ryan Loo found out that his friend and former culinary associate, Brooke Tadena, had recently joined the Moana Surfrider, the opportunity to return to Oahu and work with a strong team was too tempting to resist. Since the two chefs first met in the kitchens of the Kahala Mandarin hotel, each has spent more than a decade leading notable food and beverage operations here and across the Pacific. Most recently, Loo held the position of Executive Chef at the W Seattle, and Tadena was the Executive Banquet Chef at the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Today, Executive Chef Loo and Executive Sous Chef Tadena take pride in designing meals that demonstrate Westin’s core value, “feeling better when you leave than when you arrived.” They utilize local ingredients and offer superfood-inspired dishes at each of the Moana Surfrider’s outlets, from in-room dining to the resort’s signature steak house and sea grill, Beachhouse at the Moana.

“Beahhouse Chopped” their signature salad, with market fresh longbeans, baby kale, Big Island hearts of plam, edamame, summer corn, smoked bacon, chicken breast, and Maui onion vinaigrette.
Crab cakes made with fresh lump crab, red pepper rouille, over a yuzu-infused guacamole, served with frisee salad and Big Island hearts of palm

Being committed to using locally-sourced products whenever possible means both incorporating these ingredients into traditional recipes, as well as creating menu items that are elegantly local-style. Chef Loo explains, “visitors come to Hawaii to taste Hawaii, and what makes Hawaii special are the different people, cultures, and cuisine.” Beachhouse’s prime steaks may be the focus of the restaurant, but look for items like “oxtail” dumplings, luau (coconut creamed) spinach, Okinawan sweet potato fries, and Pacific oysters and seafood for a touch of what makes Beachhouse unique. Chef Loo highly recommends the ‘poke’ and the ‘catch of the day,’ suggesting, “even if everyone at the table is having a steak, I encourage guests to share a local fish done in a preparation that is always changing.”

Next on their plate, Chef Loo says we can look forward to some new twists at the hotel’s piano bar, Bin1901. Currently offering a variety of eclectic wines, specialty cocktails, and small plates, the team plans to unveil a new menu with bourbon-friendly foods and suggested pairings this summer.

More Info: Beachhouse at the Moana

Waikiki Foodie: Summer 2014

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A Fresh Look at Some of Waikiki’s Unique Finds

Photography by Amber Schoniwitz

Hawaii enjoys a rich history of welcoming people and cultures from around the globe in the spirit of Aloha.  Nowhere is this more evident than in local cooking.  From family kitchens to five-star restaurants, find an eclectic mix of cuisines, flavors, and ingredients that make Hawaii a one-of-a-kind foodie destination.  Waikiki is home to the Island’s top chefs, serving up a variety of dishes and dining experiences unique to Hawaii.  We hope you enjoy everything Waikiki has to offer, and make memories in the sun and especially at the dinner table.


Truffle Burger


The Burger, Executive Chef Danny Chew

RumFire offers panoramic oceanfront views, fiery drinks, and Executive Chef Danny Chew’s “street-food-chic” creations at Sheraton Waikiki.  Chef Chew, originally from Taiwan, fuses traditional American food with Asian influences.  His street-style Korean fried chicken is done with a sweet and spicy “kochujang” vinaigrette and “namul” (Korean vegetables, in this case, watercress, bean sprouts, and sesame oil).  On the chic side, sink your teeth into The Burger’s truffle boschetto cheese melted over a charbroiled Black Angus patty, topped with Nalo Farms’ spicy greens and carmalized Maui onions.  Rediscover local comfort food at its finest at RumFire.

More Info: RumFire Waikiki

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Cacciucco Di Mare, Executive Chef Rodhel Ibay

Executive Chef Rodhel Ibay’s signature Cacciucco di Mare is a seafood lover’s dream come true.  Live Maine lobster, jumbo shrimp, Manila clams, scallops, and the fish of the day are brought together with a spicy local tomato broth.  Bold flavors and spices compliment the fresh seafood with ease, showcasing Chef Ibay’s passion for introducing local ingredients and character to old-world Italian cuisine.  Indulge in all of the unique specialties at Fresco Italian Restaurant, overlooking Duke’s Lagoon from the second floor of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Rainbow Bazaar.

More Info: Fresco Italian Restaurant

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Prosciutto al Papaya, Executive Chef James Donahue

Stroll through the Royal Hawaiian Center to experience restaurateur Wolfgang Zweiner’s Italian trattoria, Il Lupino.  Executive Chef James Donahue adds his personal touch to new and old favorites throughout the menu.  The new Prosciutto al Papaya is paper-thin, house-cut Parma prosciutto surrounded by locally grown papaya, and drizzled with candied Marcona almonds and Big Island honey.  This sweet and savory starter is a local play on the classic Italian prosciutto and melon combination, and just a taste of what you’ll find at Il Lupino.

More Info: Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar

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Kiawe Grilled Steaks, Executive Chef Erwin Manzano

The unmistakable aroma of sweet, smoky kiawe wood meets every guest as they enter through the ornate doors at Hy’s Steak House.  The centerpiece of the dining room is a custom built, glass-enclosed, brass and copper cauldron, where Executive Chef Erwin Manzano broils each entree over native Hawaiian kiawe wood flames.  Although famous for outstanding USDA Prime steaks, Chef Manzano also prepares house specialties, from chops to fresh seafood, with the kiawe fire adding its unique local flavor to each dish.  Take a bite of that juicy steak, sip your cognac, and savor the traditional gentlemen’s club atmosphere that is Hy’s Steak House.

>> Pictured: Hy’s kiawe grilled Porterhouse t-bone, Delmonico, New York strip, and filet mignon.

More Info: Hy’s Steak House

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Bagna Cauda, Executive Chef Daisuke Hamamoto

One look at Executive Chef Daisuke Hamamoto’s beautiful Bagna Cauda, and you might begin to wonder what other culinary creations await at Arancino at the Kahala.  The flowerpot arrangement is a clever disguise for a base of fresh bread beneath an assortment of fresh vegetables, which are planted into a layer of baked and ground cremini mushrooms.  The Bagna Cauda, or “hot bath” in Italian, refers to the heated bowl of anchovy, garlic, and olive oil provided for dipping.  Relax in the bistro-chic atmosphere of Arancino’s newest location, and design your very own three or four-course meal with beautiful and innovative Italian dishes like this one.

>> Pictured: Arancino’s Bagna Cauda veggies – baby rainbow carrots (Maui), baby candy cane beets (Oahu), baby zucchini (Maui), watermelon radish (Oahu), cherry tomato (Oahu), English cucumber (Maui), fingerling potato, Brussels sprout, cauliflower, purple cauliflower, Romanesco, haricot vert beans (Maui), sugar peas (Oahu), and boiler onion.

More Info: Arancino at the Kahala

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Awabi and Uni Gelee Martini, Executive Chef Hideaki Kishishita

Kaiwa, a dining experience designed to engage the senses, combines traditional cooking methods with local ingredients to create exquisite and modern Japanese cuisine.  From teppan to sushi, Executive Chef Hideaki Kishishita presents layers of flare, a taste for fusion, and attention to every detail.  His Awabi and Uni Gelee Martini features a Hawaiian seafood delight alongside a classic delicacy from Japan.  Steamed whole Big Island abalone and fresh Uni sit atop a light daishi gelee, and are complimented with red ginger, wasabi, shiso leaf, and fresh lemon.  Enjoy the best of Japan with a touch of Hawaii, in a style and sophistication that is uniquely Kaiwa.

More Info: Kaiwa

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Matsu Entree, Teppanyaki Chef Anson Ikehara

Make your summer, and your dinner, sizzle at Tanaka of Tokyo.  Teppanyaki Chef Anson Ikehara dazzles guests with knife juggling, shrimp tail acrobatics, and a fire breathing onion volcano, all while expertly preparing your selected entree to perfection.  Choose the “Matsu” and enjoy a complete meal highlighted by Premium Angus Beef sirloin, chicken, and lobster tail hot off the grill.  The food is excellent, but the show and the atmosphere make for one of the best Japanese teppan experiences in the world.  Check out any of Tanaka of Tokyo’s three locations, all in the Waikiki area, for a dining experience filled with fun, excitement, laughter, and amazing flavors.

>> Pictured: Tanaka of Tokyo’s Matsu entree includes Teppanyaki grilled Premium Angus Beef sirloin, chicken, and lobster tail with tossed green salad, grilled shrimp appetizer, teppanyaki vegetables, steamed rice, pickled vegetables, miso soup, Japanese green tea, and dessert.

More Info:Tanaka of Tokyo