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5 replies to this topic

#1 alanamoana

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 07:47 AM

Hi everyone. I'm here in New York City and had the pleasure of meeting Chuck Furuya, D.K. Kodama and Hiroshi Fukui while they were in town for the "City Meals on Wheels" charity event.

They talked about their new venture on Maui, "Vino" and also the soon to be "Sansei Steakhouse".

What do locals think of their restaurant group/empire?!

When I was home last summer, I went to Maui for a couple of days and happened to end up at Sansei (can't remember which location) and they had a great kama'aina special...50% off between 5:30 and 6:00pm. We were wondering why there was such a long line out front!

Was pretty good too, but a little too much fried stuff.

So, I'm just checking in on the local scene.


#2 oneidaone

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Posted 18 June 2004 - 11:52 AM

No surprise those guys were in NY supporting a charity event, they are tireless participants in so
many events here in Hawaii, their spirit of aloha is truly admirable.

Hiroshi has a fabulous restaurant L'Uraku at 1318 Kapiolani Blvd. The interior is colorful and
sets the tone for his thoughtful cuisine. Now is the time to savor one of their blended cucumber
and vodka drinks to offset the high humidity and heat we are having. My personal favorite is
the Lobster Tomalley, enhancing the lobsters' own natural juices are mirin and shoyu lightly
veiling the lobster in potato starch and quickly deep frying, it is wonderful. If you are ever going
and want to have that go early or see if you can 'reserve' a lobster as they only get about 6 a day
since they are fresh Kona Cold lobster and need proper storage. He also does some wonderful things
with Moi and although I've never been his Kaiseki dinners are always a sell-out every few months.

I ate my way through the Vino menu at 2 separate dinners earlier this year. The wine list is just
mind blowing in scope and depth - and value. One of the specials we enjoyed was Pan Roasted Sea
Bass with Gnocchi, smoked oyster mushrooms, proscuitto, sugar snap peas in white truffle
maitre'd butter and morel demi glace. We also enjoyed some delicious starters as well. We were
surprised with a complimentary bottle of Prosecco that I have found in wine shopes and have
enjoyed many times since then. I don't eat desserts but when the rest of the table enjoyed their
Tiramisu, panna cotta, fresh berries with marsala zabaglione I ordered the fontina potato gratin
and reveled in the flavors and creamy texture. Next month during the Kapalua Wine and Food
Festival Vino is hosting what is probably going to be the premier winemaker/chef dinner on
July 10 and from what I hear is pretty much sold out by now.I will report on that when I return! Vino is the only Hawaii restaurant
to be listed in Conde' Nast's restaurants of distinction for this year, quite an honor - well deserved.

Sansei is a fun place to go especially with a group so you can order lots of things to try. My
favorite there is the calamari salad. I don't think the menu is heavy on fried items, certainly
there is a share of tempura offerings but most of the innovative sushi creations are the freshest
seafood with the just picked local produce added. I think that is commendable as well, all those
guys are committed to using the most freshest local produce, meats, and fish that they can find.
D.K. put out a really beautiful cookbook last year that you might want to check out. Next month
they are opening a Vino wine bar within Sansei that should be really fun to explore those Italian
wines that Chuck Furuya has made available - lucky all of us here!!!!!! Bon Appetit and A hui ho......
"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"
Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004

#3 skchai

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 02:44 AM

Great to hear from you Alana. Hope things are going well with Gray Kunz and folks in NY.

Want to concur with Oneidaone, who no doubt knows a lot more about these restaurants than I do.

Compared to other upscale,innovative local restaurants, Sansei (at least the Honolulu location) seems to serve a relatively larger kama`aina clientele. Their tempura items are very popular (local people do like their fried stuff, as KarenS can tell you), but as Oneida points out they're certainly by no means the dominant thing on the menu. Pretty typically locals will show up pretty late at night and hang out at the restaurant bar, ordering pupus and drinks from the very long appetizer menu.

L'Uraku is a lot of fun with its upside-down umbrella-filled, and the food is excellent and reasonably priced for the quality. It definitely takes a Japanese attitude towards its Hawai`i cuisine, with sophisticated use of ingredients like miso, wasabi, ume, etc.

Sun-Ki Chai

Former Hawaii Forum Host

#4 KarenS

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 09:05 PM

I'd like to add that they are all very nice people. Before DK opened his restaurant(s), he was doing sushi two nights a week in the back of Haliimaile General Store (I was working there then). Beautiful sushi, and fun and friendly guys.

#5 kaukaulesa

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 07:14 PM

And next month DK and Chuck Furuya are adding a "Little Vino" section to Sansei at Restaurant Row!

#6 oneidaone

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Posted 29 June 2004 - 09:08 PM

How exciting it is!!!!! I am looking forward to the opening party on July 12th!!! Should be fun and
a great end to a long weekend at the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival!!!!!!! a hui ho......
"You can't miss with a ham 'n' egger......"
Ervin D. Williams 9/1/1921 - 6/8/2004