New Specials Now Available

Columns Foodie Fare

August 25, 2013

Story By: Christina O Connor | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

Located in Royal Hawaiian Center, Il Lupino Trattoria and Wine Bar seems a world away from the busy Waikiki streets right outside the restaurant doors. A tranquil and relaxing getaway, the eatery serves up traditional Italian cuisine.

Currently, the menu is going through a transitional period ― part of which will include an expansion of the specials menu. Il Lupino has a number of tasty specials available right now, including Lobster Gnocchi ($28), which features fresh lobster and handmade gnocchi bathed in a creamy tomato sauce and topped with basil.

“The sauce enriches the lobster, but it doesn’t take away from the flavor,” says executive chef James Donahue, who joined Il Lupino two months ago from Wolfgang’s Steak-house. “The lobster is seasoned well, and when you bite into it, it is really tender and juicy.”

Another current special is Scottadito di Agnello ($40), which features rack of lamb marinated in figs, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

“Because we marinate it in balsamic and olive oil, it really breaks down the meat and tenderizes it, so it allows the flavors to infuse into the meat,” Donahue adds.

While Il Lupino specializes in traditional Italian fare, it also puts its own spin on a number of items, such as Tartare di Tonno ($19), which is currently available as a special. The dish features sashimi tuna, sweet onion, avocado, chives, olives and arugula.

While some specials eventually may join the regular menu, others may not. Donahue estimates that these dishes will be available for at least the next week or two, but adds that new specials will be available regularly. Also on Donahue’s to-do list is making handmade pasta sometime in the near future.

For a dessert that is a mainstay on the menu ― and a customer favorite ― Donahue recommends Duo Cannoli ($12), which features chocolate ganache and pistachio-flavored cream wrapped up in a homemade shell.

On the Side

“I love cooking,” says Il Lupino executive chef James Donahue, “and I am dedicated to making good food.”

James Donahue comes to Il Lupino from its sister restaurant, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, where he served as the executive chef. Donahue, who loves going out to eat, began cooking as a teenager with the help of his mother and grandmother.

“I always wanted to cook for my family,” he says.

By age 20, he had been hired as the chef at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse. He then joined Il Lupino in an effort to help revamp the menu.

One of his greatest joys of cooking is making his customers happy.

“I love when people come up to me and tell me they enjoyed the food,” Donahue says.

Contact Christina O’Connor at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Il Lupino Trattoria and Wine Bar

Royal Hawaiian Center, Bldg. B, Level 1
2233 Kalakaua Ave.
922-3400
Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
(Happy hour) Thursday-Sunday, 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

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