Falling Forward Into Thanksgiving Flavors
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Although Thanksgiving is about a month away, Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Bali Steak & Seafood restaurant is already promoting a special four-course holiday menu bursting with local fall flavors.
“That’s (Thanksgiving) the start of any hotel’s feature for the holidays,” says Jeffrey Vigilla, the hotel’s executive chef. “For Thanksgiving alone, we’ll be serving about 4,000 meals total.”
Bali Steak & Seafood, renowned for its fine oceanside dining experience, utilizes a combination of local ingredients, seasonal flavors and the restaurant’s signature dishes to create its Thanksgiving Prix Fixe Four-Course Menu ($75 for adults, $45 for children).
“The unique part of this menu is the signature touches that we put into each dish,” says Matt Alleshouse, the restaurant’s chef de cuisine and newest staff member.
“The menu speaks of Hawaii, but fall (flavors),” echoes Vigilla. “It’s (the menu) utilizing local harvest into fall type of cooking.”
The menu’s first course features a Roasted Local Kabocha Pumpkin Soup, served with Big Island Goat Cheese Whipped Cream. A Grilled Big Island Baby Romaine Salad with Candied Walnuts follows.
“We’re using the roasted local Kabocha squash (for the soup); it’s not your typical pumpkin,” says Vigilla. “A lot of our vegetables and products are from the islands — the baby romaine is from a farm in Waimea and they grow smaller romaine lettuce for us.”
“This (the salad) features a unique cheese from Surfing Goat Dairy on Maui,” Alleshouse adds. “It’s a creamy, not-too-rich goat cheese. The unique part about that (salad) is we’re actually grilling the romaine.”
Customers ordering the Thanksgiving menu can choose from one of four entrees, including a Kona Sea Salt Brined Roasted Tom Turkey — complete with Baked Corn Stuffing, Fall Vegetables, a Cranberry Compote and Giblet Gravy — a Slow-Roasted 12-Ounce Prime Rib, the Pan-Roasted Kona Kampachi Fillet and the Island Vegetable Risotto, a vegetarian dish.
“You’re getting a choice of a little bit of everything,” says Alleshouse. “We’re going to do a twist on the turkey dish with cornbread stuffing, so it’s not your traditional bready stuffing. The 12-ounce Prime Rib is our Bali influence. We’ll do a cauliflower and potato puree with our Kona Kampachi. (For the Island Vegetable Risotto), we’ll harvest all the fresh vegetables, roast them and fold them into the risotto itself and serve it with a white truffle foam, which will feature rich, earthy flavors.”
Vigilla mentions that the restaurant’s use of local produce, as well as high-quality products, makes it unique.
“The prime rib is seasoned with local sea salt from Kona,” he explains. “For this particular salt, the water is drawn up from the depths of 2,000 feet, sundried and hand-harvested. This (salt) is from pure ocean water and it retains a lot of the natural minerals. Our philosophy is to use sustainable resources — we want to make it work not only at Bali Steak & Seafood, but at the entire hotel.”
The Thanksgiving Prix Fixe Four-Course Menu wraps up with a Fall Bread Basket and a Dessert Tasting, including a Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Cream, a Spiced Berry Cobbler with Marscapone Ice Cream and a Ginger Cream Brulee.
“They’ll (customers) get a trio of desserts on the plate,” says Vigilla. “Our bread basket features a country cranberry bread and multigrain bread to tie everything together.”
Other eateries on the Hilton Hawaiian Village premises, such as Tropics Bar & Grill also are featuring special Thanksgiving menus. Hotel guests even have the option of ordering a Thanksgiving meal for four ($120), including several items from the Bali Steak & Seafood’s Thanksgiving menu. The Waikiki Starlight Luau also is presenting guests with a unique Thanksgiving menu.
“The Starlight Luau is Sunday through Thursday,” says Vigilla. “It’s a unique rooftop luau dining experience, a full Polynesian show. It’s a traditional Hawaiian luau menu with the addition of the turkey, pumpkin pie and things that go along with Thanksgiving.”
In addition to all the on-premises Thanksgiving festivities, Vigilla brings a team to the IHS homeless shelter every year to produce a Thanksgiving meal.
“I’ll be bringing a team down there and cooking in the shelter’s kitchen,” he says. “We’ll be bringing 500 portions, everything from soup all the way to dessert. We’ll be personally serving all the tables there to make sure they have a great experience.”
Bali Steak & Seafood
- Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
- 2005 Kalia Road
- Honolulu, HI 96815
- (808) 949-4321 Ext. 43
- Tuesday – Saturday
- 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
- Bali Steak & Seafood is located on the second floor of the Rainbow Tower. Validated parking for any restaurant on property.