Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Setting Stage for artwork

Nadine Kam photos
Works by James Chiew grace the dining room at Stage. The Singapore photographer now makes his home in The Netherlands.

The invitation was cryptic: "In preparation for its new production, Stage Restaurant will go dark for 3 days. New sets and props will be introduced and placed in our newly inspired Front of House ..."

I had to see what that was about. As it turns out, March 6 was the preview of changes at Stage restaurant, marking the return of executive chef Ron De Guzman and a refreshed look highlighted by larger than life fashion portraits by James Chiew, Jean Raphael, Jordi Gomez and Maximillian Wiedmann.

It's been seven years since Stage opened in the Honolulu Design Center, and after "a long run of 3,100-plus successful performances since opening in 2007," owner Thomas Sorensen spoke of traveling through Europe and walking in Cologne, Germany, and being awestruck by the monumental photos he saw, and wanted to reproduce that feeling in his furniture galleries.

He said he had always envisioned the design center "as a place to come and dream and be inspired." He said he wanted a welcoming space in which people didn't feel pressured to buy something until the time is right.

Changes to the restaurant's menus will be introduced in the coming months to compliment the dining room's new colorblocked style.
Stage Restaurant is on the second floor of the Honolulu Design Center, 1250 Kapiolani Blvd. Call 808.237.5429.

Act One: Hamachi sashimi topped with shoyu gelée, orange and wasabi tobiko, with wasabi paint and a salad of crispy radish and ponzu dressing.

From left, Honolulu Design Center owner Tomas Sorensen, Michele Henry, John Michael White and Qi Marie.

Amuse bouche of grilled cheese and truffle sandwich, with dinner roll in the background.

Act Two: Caramelized diver scallop over scallion rice cream, with cauliflower duo and caviar.

Intermezzo of wasabi-apple sorbet was a playful and delightful mix of fire and ice.

How nice that Louis Vuitton's Patrick Gey and his wife Marisa were seated just in front of this work by Jean Raphael. When properly illuminated, drivers will be able to see these works from the street at night.

"Mystery woman" with my favorite piece, also by James Chiew.

Inside the dining room.

Act Three: Pan-roasted duck breast with kabocha purée and Brussels sprouts over foie gras demi glace.

Act Four: Prime steak topped with bone marrow butter, asparagus and baby carrots, served with roasted fingerling potatoes and cabernet reduction.

Act Five: Colorado lamb served over Yukon potato purée with herb oil, herb-honey mustard and lamb jus.

Finale of guava-lilikoi pearls, Hawaiian honey ice cream, Tahitian vanilla-macerated strawberry, coconut powder and Maui pineapple emulsification.

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