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A top-notch dining experience consists of these essential factors: good food, an unforgettable ambiance, premier service and, most importantly, the best company. Therefore, we couldn’t ask for more this week when Dining with the Stars shone the spotlight on Brasserie Du Vin and professional singer, emcee, actor and recording artist Al Waterson.
“This is my first time trying the food here at Du Vin and I’d definitely come here again for a number of reasons: The food is delicious and the service is really great,” Waterson says. “I do a lot of performances across the street at Hawaii Theatre, so this place is very convenient.”
Brasserie Du Vin has made a name for itself with an exceptional French cuisine full of of refreshing local flair, not to mention the quick service perfect for the downtown business crowd that’s always on the go.
Restaurant manager Dominick Pisciotta catered to our every need and sous chef Sean Congdon gladly presented us with a grand array of exquisite French fare, which whisked us away to Southern France in no time. On the menu was an appetizer of Baked Brie ($16), magnificent entrees of Bouillabaisse ($18 lunch, $20 dinner), Grilled Portobello Sandwich ($11), Grilled Big Island Rib Eye ($24), Roasted Pork Chop ($20) and the sweetest of endings with Chocolate Souffle ($10) and Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee ($8).
“The Brie is tasty and has a bit of a bite,” says Waterson of the appetizer featuring Camembert-style Brie stuffed with cranberries and pecans, wrapped in a puff pastry and served with Manoa honey from a local beehive in Manoa Valley.
A self-proclaimed gourmet chef, Waterson is a pro when it comes to deciphering flavors. In fact, he used to run his very own food service called The Singing Chef Munch Wagon, where he made everything from scratch.
“The Bouillabaisse is great!” Waterson exclaims. “It’s a very nice combination of ingredients with local fish, clams, mussels and shrimp in a nice, rich sauce that has just the right touch of spices.” (Note: Bouillabaisse is an off-the-menu-item, but available upon request.)
“Grilled Big Island Rib Eye is very good when combined with the pepper corn sauce. The meat is tender and cooked just right. The pork chops also are juicy; it’s not easy to find a pork chop that’s cooked just right,” he adds.
We were in foodie heaven, and when you have a schedule as busy as Waterson’s it’s easy to work up an appetite. Considered to be Hawaii’s top master of ceremonies in all phases of public speaking, from corporate convention functions to beauty pageants, weddings and more, Waterson’s quick-wit is unsurpassed. In fact, come Sept. 8 and 9 at 12:30 p.m. you can catch him emceeing Celebrities and Their Pets Fashion Show at The Hawaii Woman Expo at Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.
“I emcee this event every year. It’s great,” he says. “And as an animal lover, I am very pleased and happy to know that Du Vin is pet-friendly. You don’t find many pet-friendly restaurants these days.”
Originally from the Islands, but raised in the Midwest, Waterson is a man of many talents having done a plethora of voice-over work for television and radio. He’s also appeared on 12 seasons of the original Hawaii Five-0, Magnum P.I. and North Shore. And boy, can he sing! Waterson’s rich baritone voice lends itself to many different genres of music and is showcased every Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. as he entertains at Hale Koa Hotel Warriors Lounge. Waterson’s also released a CD of love songs, titled Songs in the Key of Love.
“I really enjoy what I do. It’s always a lot of fun,” he says with a smile.
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)