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Inside Feature

Escape to a Place of Great Taste

By Kyle Galdeira Photos By Leah Friel
January 20, 2013

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Nestled in downtown Honolulu across from the historic Hawaii Theatre, Brasserie Du Vin offers a casual, rustic environment modeled after the inviting cafes and bistros found throughout the French countryside.

In addition to a full indoor bar and seating area, the restaurant features a quiet outdoor patio decorated to resemble a quaint French setting, in which diners can escape the hustle and bustle of the city just steps away.

“It’s very comfortable and quaint, and diners can get lots of small plates to share,” says manager Miki Lee. “We do everything from appetizers, soups, salads to full on entrees and desserts. We tend to be French, but not strictly. We want our food and wine to be accessible — you don’t have to speak another language to order from the menu.”

Wine also takes center stage at the eatery, as diners can enjoy one of more than 225 selections at Brasserie Du Vin either by the glass or bottle. The restaurant was recognized with Wine Spectator‘s magazine’s Award of Excellence in each of the six years it’s been open, and every Tuesday night from 6 p.m. to closing, customers enjoy 50 percent off all wine bottles except for French Champagnes.

Diners can indulge in the restaurant’s full lunch menu, which is available from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lee notes that the majority of other restaurants tend to scale down the menu or stop service during the break between the lunch and dinner rushes, but that is not the case at Brasserie Du Vin. Customers also may utilize the complimentary WiFi internet — the perfect tool when getting work done and enjoying a bite to eat.

“If you find yourself out later, and want to come in for a bite to eat after getting some work done, you can come here so you don’t have to settle for fast food,” Lee explains. “It’s comfortable, people come here and hook up to the internet to get some work done while still enjoying a nice lunch.”

Customers rave about Brasserie Du Vin’s Baked Brie ($16), a rich combination of the tasty cheese served warm, stuffed with pecans and dried cranberries, wrapped in golden puff pastry and topped with Dr. Kliks’ Manoa honey. Those searching for seafood can dig into Baked Scallops on the Half Shell ($12) as the mouth-watering morsels are bathed in a roasted red pepper aioli and topped with Kahuku corn, apple-smoked bacon and Parmesan shavings.

Caprese Salad ($12) offers another scintillating start to one’s lunch, as fresh mozzarella and vine-ripened Hauula tomatoes are topped with basil, olive tapenade and extra virgin olive oil to tie all the flavors together.

A wide flavor profile resides in Pan-Roasted Jidori Chicken Breast ($19), which is served with ratatouille and a lavender balsamic reduction that also makes a perfect dipping sauce for the freshly-made French bread. For those looking for a vegetarian lunch option, Brasserie Du Vin’s Grilled Portobello ($11) does the trick as the large, tender mushroom is stacked with caramelized onions, melted mozzarella, tomato, arugula, avocado and sauce vert on a freshly-baked croissant. Every Monday, additional vegetarian lunch and dinner specials are available.

And, after indulging in the flavorful lunch lineup, many diners choose to complete the meal by indulging in the restaurant’s Chocolate Souffle ($10, $13 a la mode). The rich, airy creation is sure to steal the attention of diners as they jostle for each light and fluffy bite.

“A lot of my inspirations include earthy, darker and richer flavor profiles,” explains chef Marco Elder, who worked his way up through a small fine-dining restaurant in Maine before supplementing his repertoire with culinary training from the Art Institute of Colorado. “I do bring a lot of Latin American flavor profiles and I use multiple French cooking techniques and meld those together.”

Elder has been a part of Brasserie Du Vin’s heart of the house staff for five years and was elevated to lead the kitchen roughly a year and a half ago. The skilled culinary artist tantalizes diners’ taste buds with a wide array of French-style soups made fresh daily, including Clam Saffron Chowder ($4 for a cup, $6 for a bowl).

“We have a great Happy hour, and it’s a great way to check us out,” Elder says. “One of our signature items, Baked Brie, is also on our Happy Hour menu, and it’s a good way to get introduced to what we do here. And, our soups are always winners here.”

Brasserie Du Vin offers happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m., during which diners can enjoy drink specials and a special food menu. To find out about other special events and happenings, log on to www.BrasserieDuVin.com and sign up for the restaurant’s e-newsletter.

Brasserie Du Vin

1115 Bethel St., Honolulu
545.1115
Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (lunch), 4 to 10 p.m. (dinner)
www.BrasserieDuVin.com