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Ono, You Know

Fancying Foie Gras

By Alana Folen Photos By Anthony Consillio
February 23, 2014

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One of the best things about my job is the fact that I’m constantly exposed to a flood of good eats. From traditional American classics, such as burgers and hearty chili, to authentic Brazilian acai and an assortment of ethnic fare, I’m privileged to say I’ve had the opportunity to try it all. I’m pretty much game for anything when it comes to food. However, there are those times when I must reach beyond my comfort zone and just bite into something I’m not so sure about — foie gras, for instance.

Ask anyone, and I’m sure the majority will agree that foie gras — extra-rich duck or goose liver — is deemed a delicacy, and is the perfect representation of fine dining.

For years, the idea of stomaching duck or goose liver honestly never appealed to me. But, hey, what the foie gras?! This week, I thought I’d give this revered French indulgence a try. Here at the following Ono, You Know establishments, I splurged on exquisite foie gras masterpieces that met my fancy and refined my palate dramatically.

Hoku’s

To witness a shooting star is a memorable moment, and this invigorating experience is one that is quite parallel to dining at Hoku’s at The Kahala Hotel & Resort. Trust me on this, an exquisite evening of fine-dining coupled with superlative flavors will be etched in your mind forever.

Asian, Hawaiian and European influences take the spotlight at Hoku’s, where chef de cuisine Jeremy Shigekane whips up impressive renditions of universal favorites, and makes it his own with a splash of aloha.

Fancying foie gras? Yes? Then Hoku’s Seared Foie Gras will leave you breathless, as all it takes is one simple bite, and as the luxurious flavors and texture dance on the tip of your tongue, you won’t know what hit you. This praise-worthy appetizer is priced at $22, and presents patrons with a smoothness and overall incredible taste worth writing home about. The foie gras is placed atop a slice of Hawaiian sweet bread, the delicacy perfectly blended with lemongrass and macerated grapes in a port reduction.

“When combined, the flavor is comparable to li hing mui,” says Shigekane of the dish. “I also add a hint of tarragon for freshness.”

And just like that, a star is born. Hoku’s Seared Foie Gras is a dinner prelude that will lead the way to a magnificent finale.

Hoku’s
The Kahala Hotel & Resort
5000 Kahala Ave.
739-8888

53 By The Sea

Sought out by food enthusiasts throughout the world, 53 By The Sea is charming in its elaborate architecture, premier service and all-star cuisine. Located on Ahui Street, it’s as if you’ve achieved royal status once you enter through the restaurant’s grand double doors. Welcome, your highness and majesty, into the lap of luxury.

53 By The Sea's Seared Foie Gras ($23). Photo courtesy of 53 By The Sea

53 By The Sea’s Seared Foie Gras ($23). Photo courtesy of 53 By The Sea

Executive chef Thomas Ho is very influential in composing a symphony of harmoniously lavish New American fare that’s centered around diverse types of cuisine. Within each dish, patrons will be wowed by culinary stylings, creative concepts and use of top-notch ingredients. 53 By The Sea is open daily for lunch and dinner, and while each dish is captivating in taste and presentation, when indulging in a fine-dining experience, Seared Foie Gras is a necessity. Priced at $23, Ho features an exquisite pan-seared foie gras appetizer paired with toasted Hawaiian sweet bread, Hawaiian salt roasted pear compote and finished off with a ginger gastrique.

“I enjoy how the ginger gastrique adds sweetness but cuts through the richness of the foie gras. Fruit also pairs wonderfully with foie gras because of its natural sugars. Add a pinch of salt, and the Bartlett pear makes the dish even better,” Ho says, referring to this gem on the menu. “Classically, terrines and pates come to mind, but over the years, seared foie gras has gained popularity.”

Finally, all that’s left is to toast to more cherished moments with a glass of Champagne or Sauternes in hand. Salut!

53 By The Sea
53 Ahui St.
536-5353

3660 on the Rise

Take your foodie excursions to new heights at 3660 on the Rise, where culinary craftsmanship is married to a myriad of international flair. Proprietor Gale Ogawa and executive chef/co-owner Russell Siu opened the restaurant in 1992, and chef de cuisine Lydell Leong has helped pave the way to success for this award-winning establishment best known for its Euro-Island fare. Savvy in the kitchen, Leong paints a spectacle of edible masterpieces that have your taste buds saying, “Hit me with an encore.”

One of Leong’s many specialties includes A Sampling of Rougie Foie Gras ($22). This starter features two preparation styles in one dish: the first in which the foie gras torchon is served cold, beautified with fresh strawberry gelee and a strawberry balsamic reduction. The other features pan-seared foie gras accented with caramelized vanilla-scented pineapple.

“Foie gras is considered an ‘old world food’ that is coveted for its richness and delicate flavor,” Leong explains. “It pairs well with certain wines, and is a focal point in many wine dinners. Foie gras is also associated with special occasions.”

Leong had me sold, and I had to treat myself to the pan-seared foie gras, which was like buttah, baby, and literally melted in my mouth. Oddly enough, the taste resembled a flaky confection, as the richness of the tender foie gras was complemented by delightful bursts of sweet pineapple. You never would have guessed that just moments prior I hesitantly cringed at the thought of duck liver. So, when push comes to shove, always allow your palate to appreciate new and exotic flavors. Whether you love or dislike what you taste, you’ll never know until you try.

3660 on the Rise
3660 Waialae Ave.
737-1177