Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Arancino at the Kahala offers V-Day menu

Nadine Kam photos
Insalata ai Frutti di Mare is the antipasto course on Arancino at The Kahala’s Valentine’s Day menu. A closer look is available below.

Time is running out to make your reservations for Valentine’s Day next Saturday. Arancino at The Kahala offered a reminder with a preview of its $89 per person Valentine’s Day menu that will be available from from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 14.

The presentation starts with an amuse and bread platter before launching into the four-course prix fixe menu that hits all the romantic notes, starting with a beautiful aphrodisiac seafood platter, Insalata ai Frutti di Mare, featuring ahi, Kona kampachi, sweet uni, grilled abalone, amaebi and scallop. The plate is ornamented with touches of red and green microgreens, and such is chef Daisuke Hamamoto’s deft, artistic eye, that not a leaf is out of place. When I tried to alter his arrangement by moving one leaf for a photo, it looked dreadfully wrong, so I quickly returned the dish to its proper form.

Non-flash video

Next up is the primo course which offers a choice of Linguine con Granchio e Pomodoro (king crab and tomato), or Risotto al Vino Rosso con Anatra. Although the latter is not much to look at—even when dressed in thin strips of fried Tokyo negi and a touch of gold leaf—it offers a pleasant departure from typical risotto dishes, colored with wine in the spirit of the holiday associated with the color red. (The result is more purple.) The risotto is topped with a small serving of grilled Muscovy duck.

Decadence arrives with the secondo course of Filetto di Manzo alla Griglia, a strip of grilled organic U.S. Prime tenderloin accompanied by two pieces of sautéed foie gras, two gnocchi-like servings of truffle mashed potatoes, and a red wine reduction sauce. Cut and layered the multiple offerings to reach nirvana.

And, just when you think you’re too full to eat another bite, dessert of Torta al Cioccolato arrives as a light and airy chocolate mousse surrounded by a textured sheet of chocolate. Not everyone will notice how different it is from other desserts in town, but I appreciated its barely there delicate candy snap immensely and could not figure out how this was achieved.

Arancino VP Aya Inamura shed some light, explaining the shell is airbrush sprayed chocolate that hardens around the mousse. Bamboo charcoal in the chocolate gives the mixture its deep, mysterious black color.

Add wine pairings for the four courses for $29 per person, and for your entertainment, accordion player Wallen Ellingson will perform romantic tunes to set the mood.

Here’s a look at what’s on the table:

 Amuse of prosciutto and fig.

The Insalata ai Frutti di Mare is a beautiful melange of maguro, uni, buttery Kona kampachi and scallop sashimi festooned with microgreens.

 Linguine con Ganchio e Pomodoro (king crab and tomato) is one of two Primo course options. This dish is paired with Dobbes pinot noir.

The secondo course is a Filetto di Manzo all Griglia, grilled organic U.S. prime tenderloin accompanied by two pieces of sautéed foie gras, truffled mashed potatoes presented like gnocchi, and red wine reduction. Paired with Gianfranco Bovio barolo. Tableside truffle service by chef Hamamoto will be $20 per person.

 Dessert of Torta al Cioccolato. I don’t even know how they got such a beautiful, delicate chocolate sheath around the mousse. Sublime. Paired with Branchetto Banfi. Below, a detail of raspberries and gold flake.

Such is Hamamoto’s attention to detail that a close inspection of the plate reveals such details as gold flake and tapioca powder in addition to raspberries and flower petals.

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