Du Vin’s Raw Bar, a Seafood Haven
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Seafood aficionados need look no further than Brasserie Du Vin and its intriguing Raw Bar when searching for some of the freshest, most flavorful selections available in the Islands.
Situated across from the historic Hawaii Theatre in downtown Honolulu, 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 inviting dining 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 that surrounds them.
Available Wednesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to closing, the Raw Bar features fresh oysters offered at market price (usually starting at $3 apiece). Chef Marco Elder explains that the oysters are so fresh that the decadent treats go from the ocean on Tuesday afternoon to being packed in ice and flown to Oahu in time for Wednesday’s dinner service.
“The freshness of these oysters is phenomenal; that’s why I love working with them,” explains Elder, who previously worked at a small, fine dining restaurant in Maine before supplementing his repertoire with culinary training from The Art Institute of Colorado. “When it comes to seafood, and especially oysters, you need to enjoy a fresh product.”
Brasserie Du Vin offers a variety of fresh oysters, including (based on availability) Kumamoto oysters, which are smaller — a desirable quality, imported from Humboldt Bay, Calif., and offer a melon finish; Fanny Bay oysters from British Columbia, which are beach raised and hint at a cucumber finish; and Goose Point oysters from Willapa Bay, Wash., which are tray raised and feature a mellow, fruity finish with a strong, briny start.
“We actually have a chef behind the bar to shuck the oysters — not many places in Hawaii offer that experience,” says general manager David Comfort. “Our Raw Bar resembles what you would find in ‘wine country’ in Napa.
We also suggest three different bottles of wine that pair well with the available shellfish.”
The Raw Bar also features additional seafood favorites, such as Alaskan King Crab, Pacific lobster, mussels and more (all depending on availability and offered at market price). Alluring Oyster Shooters (market price) also are available, and feature three crafted flavor combinations, each paired with a fresh oyster. The shooters are composed of champagne and fresh caviar; rose petal mignonette steeped in vinegar coupled with honey, cracked pepper and shallots; and lilikoi ceviche that couples the sweetness of fruit with the tartness of lime.
“Luscious Caviar” takes the spotlight on the Raw Bar, and customers may indulge in American Hackleback Sturgeon (from North Carolina) or the recently-introduced California Sturgeon Caviar (market price, offered based on availability) served traditionally over ice alongside finely diced boiled egg whites, capers, créme fraiche, red and green onion and eight blinis. “The Raw Bar experience is similar to going to a sushi bar; the selections are fresh and prepared right in front of you,” Comfort explains. “The oysters aren’t shucked four hours earlier. It’s done right in front of you, on the spot, so they stay really fresh. It’s definitely a unique experience.”
While diners enjoy the popular cuisine and intriguing menu options, wine takes center stage at Brasserie Du Vin, as customers can partake in one of 230-plus selections, either by the glass or bottle. The restaurant has been recognized annually with Wine Spectator Magazine‘s Award of Excellence. Comfort says that different wines are paired with the appropriate Raw Bar offerings to create the ultimate blending of flavor and texture.
Diners are invited to join Brasserie Du Vin for another popular, interactive event dubbed Muddled: Mixology Made Easy, Tuesday, July 29, at 6 p.m. For just $30 per person (gratuity not included, reservations recommended), patrons enjoy pupus while “muddling and mingling” with expert mixologists on hand to blend various flavors of Pinnacle Vodka with fresh, seasonal ingredients. In a concept derived from the television show Chopped, attendees can suggest certain ingredient pairings for the mixologist to craft quickly while competing to win a prize at the end of the competition.
“Essentially, you get to become a mixologist for the night. You choose the ingredients and watch your creation come together,” Comfort says.
To find out about other special events and happenings, log on to BrasserieDuVin.com and sign up for the restaurant’s e-newsletter.
Brasserie Du Vin
1115 Bethel St., Honolulu
Monday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (lunch), 4-10 p.m. (dinner) 4-6 p.m. (happy hour)