Basking in French Delights at Brasserie Du Vin
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Located across from Hawaii Theatre in Chinatown, Brasserie Du Vin — which translates to “Brasserie of Wine” — provides its customers with the perfect getaway to another world, complete with authentic French cuisine in a relaxing ambiance. “The vision is to provide French comfort food versus elegant, fine dining food,” explains executive chef Marco Elder. “Brasseries are the equivalent to pubs in southern France … the place people can go mid-afternoon to wind down from the day with friends and co-workers. At Brasserie Du Vin, we have a nice wine selection and a good atmosphere for people to enjoy. I think the atmosphere here is unique for Hawaii — not a lot of restaurants have this rustic, south of France kind of feel to them.”
When it comes to the eatery’s signature dishes, Elder is quick to note the Baked Brie ($16), Moules Frites ($15 regular, $21 large) and Caprese Salad ($12).
“Baked Brie is a warm, Camembert-style Brie that is stuffed with cranberries and pecans, wrapped in a puff pastry, baked until it’s golden-brown and served with Manoa honey that we get from a local beehive in Manoa Valley,” explains Elder. “For our Caprese Salad, we use local, vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.”
From the selection of entrees, customer favorites include Roasted Pork Chop ($20), Du Vin Bouillabaisse ($18 lunch, $20 dinner) and Grilled Big Island Rib Eye ($24).
“One of the things that makes our Pork Chop unique is that we do a 24-hour brine that infuses more flavor into it,” Elder says. “The pork chop sits in this liquid that contains salts, sugars and some aromatics for 24 hours, which makes the pork chop tender and flavorful. Du Vin Bouillabaisse is a seafood stew; it contains pieces of fish, clams, shrimp and mussels in a lobster saffron broth. Another dish we offer is Seasonal Vegetarian Risotto ($13 lunch, $16 dinner), which gives vegetarians an option.”
As a chef, Elder explains that one process he enjoys at Brasserie Du Vin is cross-utilizing some of the products.
“For example, when I’m trimming down the rib eye, I take the trimmings and grind them up in house,” he shares. “I make our hamburgers with that. So our hamburgers are made with rib eye meat, not just chuck meat, which is what most restaurants would use.”
Elder emphasizes that Brasserie Du Vin is not only a great place for lunch and dinner, but for parties as well.
“We have a back room, which is a great location for parties,” he says. “We can accommodate up to 30 people in the room. We usually require reservations for a party that big, and a lot of times, we will direct customers toward a special event menu that we do provide.”
Currently, Brasserie Du Vin is featuring Trois Fromage et Deux Vin ($20) — three cheeses and two glasses of wine — in honor of Tour de France. This Tour de France special started about two weeks ago and will continue until the Tour de France ends around July 28, according to Elder.
“The cheeses are all from France and they are all located on the route the Tour de France runs on,” he says. “The first cheese is Camembert, a rich, creamy cheese; that’s followed by Comte — it’s from the Alps region, so it’s a harder cheese, similar to Gruyere except with a more caramelized nuttiness to it — and the last one is Roquefort, a traditional cheese from southern France. We might extend this special through the summer because people have been enjoying the cheese selections.”
Brasserie Du Vin
1115 Bethel St., Honolulu
Monday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Dinner: 4 p.m. to closing
Happy Hour: Daily, 4-6 p.m. (except Sundays)