When in Waikiki be sure to resrve a table at Chef Mavro,the eponymous restaurant from one of the island’s top chegs. It isn’t in Wakiki proper, but only a five-minute, $10 cab ride from the beach. Walk in and you know you’re not in Waikiki any longer. Inside, the small King Street restaurant seems more like San Francisco or New York, except with glorious torch ginger stems everywhere and Hawaii-specific art on the walls. Actually, with French owner-chef George Mavrothalassitis’ (don’t worry, everyone calls him “Mavro,” or just George) prix-fixe’-only menus, it’s more like St. Barts.
You can order the four-course ($85), six-course ($128) or 10-course ($165) menus, with or without the extra-cost wine pairings the chef strongly suggests. (With a slogan “the art of pairing food & wine” printed right on the menu, you know where George stands on this matter.) Prepare to start swooning after the first course.
Last time the Diva and Richard were there we opted for six courses, with George substituting dishes for one with a shellfish allergy that the chef always remembers. Rather than drooling all over the laptop while recounting the meal, look below for the shellfish-free menu.
George is a delightful, impish guy with a French accent still thicker than he knows after nearly 25 years in Hawaii, first at the Halekulani and then at Four Seasons Resort Maui. His bubbly enthusiasm is infectious and he visits with patrons liberally, though he’s still the one doing the cooking. He’s a gastronomic perfectionist who labors over new recipes until they satisfy him.
Here’s a sampling of his culinary talents:
- Amuse bouche: chilled kabocha curry soup, bacon coconut mousse, cocoa nibs, quail – curry Free range quail wrapped in pancetta on baked Hamakua ali’i mushroom curried vinaigrette.
- Foie gras (which you can no longer get in California)balsamic vinegar, sautéed Hudson Valley foie gras, balsamic glaze bed of savoy cabbage, mission fig poached in sweet wine, toasted portuguese sweet bread.
- Fresh catch ratatouille steamed day boat catch, ratatouille “déclinaison” zucchini ribbons, essence of basil, and jus
- Pintade – chestnut roasted Grimaud Farm guinea fowl with Hawaiian vanilla chestnut purée, Sumida Farm watercress bouquet and coulis, espelette braising jus
- Feta – long peppercorn seared Hawaii island goat dairy feta cheese, fried sage, apricot jelly, brick mille-feuilles, red onion confiture, rare hawaiian organic white honey
- Pre-dessert watermelon in champagne gelée, fresh mint
- Chocolate – burgundy truffle, island madre chocolate crisped with black walnut, truffle white chocolate, tarragon ganache, pear coulis, molokai black salt
- Mignardises Hanapepe sea salt caramel orange chocolate macaron apple li hing mui pate de fruit, raspberry marshmallow
Chef Mavro is located at 1969 S. King Street, 808-944-4714. You really must dine there next time you go to Oahu especially couples who will enjoy the romantic setting and mojo motivating meal.