Tuesday, January 22, 2013

HASR Bistro celebrates grand opening

Nadine Kam photos
Chef Rodney Uyehara was working hard in the kitchen turning out dishes like the spiced ahi nachos and shrimp spring rolls shown here (in more detail, later). He's with Anita Rhee of Mama Nita Scones, who was offering samples of the scones she bakes up mornings in the HASR Bistro kitchen, and taking orders for Valentine's Day.

HASR Bistro owner Terry Kakazu promised to enliven the downtown dining scene with her party spirit and has been delivering since the restaurant's fall opening.

With the busy holiday season out of the way, she finally made time for her own grand opening Sunday, welcoming dozens of friends and well-wishers for an evening of noshing, music and imbibing some of the best selections offered at her next door wine store, HASR Wine Co., which started her on her oenophile/foodie journey.

HASR Wine Co. and Bistro's Terry Kakazu, left, at one of the wine bars with Walter Calinawan.

She's also the owner of Terry’s Place in the Chinatown Cultural Plaza, which has come to be known as a musician’s playground, and there were a lot of musicians in the house taking turns jamming with The Groove and members of the Society of Seven.

Some of the music has gravitated over to HASR, where you can enjoy music in the courtyard from 7 to 10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday.

Executive chef Rodney Uyehara put together a casual menu of pupu, some on the bistro's menu, some not, many deserving a spot on the regular menu.

Special events coming up include a Chinese New Year Celebration from 5 to 10 p.m. Feb. 1; Mansfield Wine dinner on Feb. 13; and of course, reservations are being taken for Valentine's Day dinner from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Feb. 14.

Here's the performance schedule through February:
Jan. 25: Jeff Rassmusen
Jan. 26: Toma-Natto
Feb. 1: SUMMER
Feb. 2: Gail Mack Duo
Feb. 8: Jeff Rassmussen
Feb. 9: Toma-Natto
Feb. 15: Glenn Mediero
Feb. 16: Gail Mack Duo
Feb. 22: Glenn Medeiros
Feb. 23: Toma-Natto
The restaurant is at 31 N. Pauahi St. (where Grand Cafe used to be). Call 533-HASR (4277).

Chef Rodney's fall-off-the-bone, fork-tender Mongolian babyback ribs were the best I've tasted in a while. This needs to be a regular offering.

Wing dings with celery and blue cheese dip.

One of the spicy ahi nachos with avocado, green onions, and missing from this one I tried to make pretty for the picture, bonito flakes.

Loved the shrimp spring rolls with sweet chili mint sauce, on the lunch appetizer menu at $9 though of course, you're not going to get this portion for $9!

Inside HASR Wine Co., guests were able to sample some of the highly allocated wines that gave the business its name.

Cathy Foy Mahi was among the singers who joined SOS members for a song. She dedicated "My Funny Valentine" to Terry.

Anita Rhee introduced packaging for her scones for Valentine's Day, birthdays, bridal favors (with fresh flowers) and other occasions. Flavors range from her every day apple, caramel and almonds; orange and chocolate; strawberry and chocolate, banana macadamia nut; and more; to special flavors such as currant; lemon and cream cheese; lemon, strawberry and mint; and spiced chai. A Valentine's Day box of 8 scones is $21; 12 scones is $29. An individual scone in a clear purse container topped by a V-Day heart is $3.40 each. You can reach her at mamanitascones@gmail.com, or visit www.mamanitascones.com.

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