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Chew On This

Get Stuffed and Spoiled on Good Eats

By Rachel Breit Photos By Rachel Breit
June 9, 2013

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Despite its location in bustling Chinatown and a cryptic name, HASR Bistro provides a charming oasis of food and wine. Its name comes from the acronym: Highly Allocated, Spoiled Rotten, which refers to the rare wines its wine-obsessed co-owner, Terry Kakazu, is able to secure. Kakazu is particularly interested in Napa Valley wines and receives wines directly from wineries.

She relates to the passion of boutique winemakers, for whom creating wine is more than a business.

“That’s what we do here, we create food with passion,” Kakazu explains. “Chef Rodney is really passionate about what he does. He is the master of slow cooking, braising and sauces.”

Executive Chef Rodney Uyehara co-owns the eatery with Kakazu.

“The beauty of everything is that you can buy wine from my wine store next door and there is no corkage fee,” says Kakazu. So pick out a bottle, sit back with a nice glass and enjoy a full meal. Also get your fill of live music from some of Hawaii’s premier musicians six days a week.

Start with Soaker Clams ($21) appetizer. The tender clams are bathed in a garlic butter broth with pancetta or bacon, tomatoes and baby arugula. The broth is perfect for dunking the garlic Parmesan bread that comes with the dish. In fact, you can order an additional side of bread to soak up every last drop.

For dinner, the hearty Crabby Salmon ($25) features a fillet of Atlantic salmon stuffed with a creamy mix of Dungeness crab, mayonnaise, capers and seasonings. And while you don’t often think of paring red wine and fish, a Madeira demi-glace, made with a slightly sweet red Port-like wine, gives the dish its “backbone of flavor.” A drizzle of citrus buerre blanc balances the demi-glace and adds a touch of tang. The fish rests on a flavorful bed of lentils stewed with fresh herbs, basil, tomatoes and eggplant. The dish is garnished with herbs grown right in the eatery’s window. For special occasions, such as Mother’s Day, the chef will substitute the crab with lobster.

“Everyone has said it’s the best they’ve had,” says Kakazu.

Also for dinner, Roasted Stuffed Organic Chicken ($26) filled with kurobuta sausage blurts with juiciness and flavor. It’s served with the same rich demiglace and buere blanc as the Crabby Salmon, herbed pilaf and broccolini purchased right down the street in Chinatown.

HASR Bistro

31 N. Pauahi St., Honolulu
533-4277
Lunch, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday
Afternoon menu, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday
Dinner, 5:30 to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday
Bar remains open until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

HASRBistro.com