The fish labeled “fresh” on the menu at Kahala Hotel & Resort’s Plumeria Beach House is “the freshest you can get,” says executive chef Wayne Hirabayashi. But you don’t have to take his word for it; a restaurant situated within view of the ocean is no better indicator of freshness.
The best of the land and sea isn’t a luxury only offered to hotel guests, everyone is welcome to sit beachside, listen to the faint sounds of waves and classic Hawaiian music, take a lungful of ocean breeze and indulge in local dishes with a dose of Asian flair — or bowls for that matter.
Chirashi Sushi ($25) is like a “giant sushi,” says Hirabayashi about the bowl packed with chilled sushi rice and topped with a stunning array of fresh fish. Here sashimi-grade ahi, lightly cured salmon, Japanese imported hamachi and thin-sliced tako meet poached Kauai shrimp, jewel-like ikura, and tobiko roe and tamago. Garnished with shredded daikon, crunchy cucumber, chiso leaf and plenty of wasabi, the bowl makes for a light, refreshing lunch.
Not bowled over by fish? Then opt for a pan instead: pan pizza, that is. East meets west in one bite of Asian Chicken Pizza ($18). The house-made crust is topped with sliced red onions, mushrooms, thin strips of hoisin-marinated chicken breast, mozzarella and Parmesan. To add another layer of flavor, the pizza is drizzled with kabayaki (deep flavored “fortified teriyaki sauce,” which usually accompanies unagi) and aji amarillo sauce (made with Peruvian yellow chilies that bring fruitiness along with their heat), roasted peanuts, fresh red chilies and Chinese parsley. Puffy, focaccia-like dough is characteristic of the pan-style pizza, where dough is pressed down into a cast-iron pan, topped, and then baked until it fries slightly at the bottom, making it the perfect base.
Not in the mood for the panache of fusion flair? Here’s a platter that matters: Variation of Hawaiian Pupus ($24). It’s finger-food you’d find at a backyard barbecue if that yard belonged to someone who went to culinary school. The variety is complete with chewy, jerky-like pipikaula short ribs, grilled lemongrass chicken wings with the right amount of char, a pork and chicken egg roll with sticky sweet chili sauce, and an ume and grilled salmon musubi. Share it with your buddies, or eat it as an entree.
The lunch items are part of a new menu that is available starting Feb. 3. Need more reason than the flavorful fare to visit Plumeria Beach House? “It has a good view and ambiance away from the hustle and bustle of the city,” says Hirabayashi. “You’re out of Waikiki, but still close enough to town.” And its location in an up-scale hotel doesn’t mean your dining experience will be stuffy. “It’s pretty casual,” the chef says.
Plumeria Beach House at The Kahala Hotel & Resort
5000 Kahala Ave., Honolulu
Open daily, Breakfast, 6:30-11:30 a.m. Lunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Curry buffet: Wednesday, 11:45 a.m.-2 p.m.
Dinner: Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday, 5:30-10 p.m.
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