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Feasting on faux poke

By Andy Beth Miller Photos By Anthony Consillio
November 2, 2014

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Overlooking a gorgeous infinity edge pool, with the glistening waters of Waikiki just beyond, the stunning view at Kai Market truly takes your breath (but thankfully not your appetite) away.

Here, executive chef Darren Demaya creates dishes so divine, that patrons practically overflow with enthusiasm when enjoying their meals. Ingeniously ahead of the times would best describe the vegetarian options (which are numerous) at Kai Market. Inventive and creative, these meat-free menu items are so mouth-watering, you won’t even miss the moo-factor.

Featured in Kai Market’s dinner buffet ($55 adults, $58 Friday and Saturday; $25 for children ages 6-12, free for children age 5 and under, and special 25 percent discount for kamaaina) is Vegetable Garden Crudites, served with ancho chili ranch and avocado ranch dips. Raw, fresh veggies with just that signature crunch alongside delicious dips make choosing this dish a literal “snap.”

Veggie "Poke" ($10)

Veggie “Poke” ($10)

At the edge bar, try Truffle Mushroom Flat-bread ($15), pairing tomato sauce, truffle cheese and baby ‘Nalo arugula atop a perfectly crisped flatbread crust. A vegan treat, Veggie “Poke” ($10), is a special request, which consists of Big Island tomato, mushrooms and sea asparagus tossed in soy chili sauce. This animal-free option is so special, it isn’t even on the menu, so be sure to ask your server.

“This dish was created because of my passion for poke,” explains Demaya. “Poke is one of the biggest things when you think of Hawaii. And I think that people should be able to taste poke in a different form — “veggie poke.”‘

Demaya goes on to describe its preparation, “I grill portobello mushrooms, because of their meaty texture, and sautee Hamakua alii mushrooms — this texture is almost like eating abalone because of its crunch. I also add fresh tomatoes and sea asparagus that give it sweetness, crunchiness and saltiness, then season with my version of poke Soy sauce and toasted macadamia nuts.”

Kai Market

Sheraton Waikiki Hotel
2255 Kalakaua Ave.
921-4600 for reservations
Daily, 6–11 a.m. (breakfast) 5:30–9:30 p.m. (dinner)